Boatwif Blog

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The GU Southbound – and an emergency evacuation

Monday 2nd June          It was a peaceful mooring on Sunday evening just west of Norton Junction – sunlit until dusk, with only a country lane in the distance, few passers-by and open fields opposite. Bliss…          Between Braunston and Norton Junction the Grand Union Canal runs roughly east/west. Then at the junction there’s a choice – bear left (roughly north east) for Leicester, or right (south) for Brentford (where the canal reaches the Thames). Take the right and you’re soon heading...

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Phase 1 achieved

          There was all the time in the world, wasn’t there, to get to Braunston on Saturday late afternoon, just about 3 miles and 0 locks to complete  Phase 1 of The Plan.           It was a fine dry morning and boats seemed to be on the move. Little fingers of concern began to grip the stomach – would all these boats be looking for mooring in Braunston too? Would the prime mooring spots already be taken by boaters moored up...

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Convoys, countryside, a comms catastrophe

         Every now and again, as if for the first ever time, the Captain makes an observation along the lines of “it’s only when you’re travelling this slowly along the canals do you realise how much infra structure this country has…” He said it on Thursday, while gazing at the multitude of pylons and power lines near Hawkesbury Junction and not far from the M69 motorway bridge. Railway lines and trains are constant companions to this canal and near Ansty...

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Postscript to Atherstone

         Minds were set that a morning wander into Atherstone was to happen on Wednesday. Why let mud and puddles interfere with a plan? How many shops can you legitimately present yourself in when your entry brings a deluge to the floor…? The Captain, as if embarrassed by the large amount of water he was depositing on the floor of a pharmacy, backed out and took cover in a hardware store. Imagine if you can the sound as rain pounded...

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Leaks and how to deal with them

Moored Tuesday at Atherstone.          Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed a mismatch between location and map – Techno Son-in-Law is currently in mid-Wales, enduring “a rubbish internet signal” so his MapMan services are currently unavailable…               It was strangely quiet on Monday morning at Fradley Junction: granted, before 10am it was too early for either gongoozlers at the locks or drinkers at The Swan. The shop beside the pub was open though – and there’s been a transformation in recent years. The...

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Cleddau cruise resumed

      Friday saw a swifter than usual M6 transit up to Staffs from Beds and well before midday Cleddau was being checked out on her Aston Marina mooring. Somehow she looked cramped – the effect of a neighbouring boat moored in what had previously been an empty berth.      There are lessons to be learned from mooring (and particularly for departing from) a large marina:1. Plan to leave very early – or very late, not around 10am, which is a popular moving...

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Dropping down from Stoke to Stone

      Thanks to Techno Son-in-Law for posting the previous blog post.  Boatwif’s laptop has taken a serious (terminal?) dislike to Blogger software……….            The newly installed Beta 43 engine was meant to bring peace of mind and anxiety-free cruising. Breakdowns and mechanical problems were to be mere nightmares from the past… Hence, a rhythmic loud ticking noise noticed while southbound on the Macc did not exactly inspire confidence that all was well below the engine boards.      The route south passes Longport...

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D for Departure

Friday was D-Day, D for Departure Day. The 2014 Cleddau Cruise was at last under way. Months have been spent in planning and executing the engine and rear cabin refit; weeks have been spent in reorganising the interior and doing pre-cruise checks; days have been spent in preparing the route plan, Higher Poynton on the Macc to Bedford on the River Great Ouse. Now departure moment had come. Cleddau was backed out of her home mooring, winded (turned round) and...

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Remember when…

      Sightings again of the Cleddau Bridge… though on this occasion many were from the River Cleddau’s northern shore. Accommodation was in Neyland, which once (as New Milford) was destined to be a major port for transatlantic passenger liners. Down on the hard is an impressive statue (not of Kenneth Branagh of Olympic Opening fame) but of Isambard Kingdom Brunel ,   who in 1856 brought the Great Western Railway from Haverfordwest right up to the deep waters of the Milford...

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Mission accomplished

       “Hello Houston, we have a problem…” What endless skill, knowledge and patience the staff at Houston must have had back in 1970 when the Apollo 13 moon flight developed a major technical fault*.       After some snag-fixing back at Stoke Boats (details later) Cleddau has been on the move again, from Longport Wharf back up the Macc to Higher Poynton. She was crewed by Techno Son-in-Law, solo until Congleton, where Cheshire Mum and Cheshire One jumped aboard.       A hundred miles...

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