Category: Boat Update

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Playing your cards right

There’s been a dash back home, just for three days and four nights, enough time for haircuts, grass cuts and hedge cuts. There was time to check the mail, connect briefly with some friends, skim through the free newspapers – and intercept the postman just before departure… “Someone’s birthday?” asked a towpath walker at Nantwich on Wednesday, glimpsing some cards suspended on string by the windows.  “The old lady on the front,” said the Captain from the stern, “it was...

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Broken bits and boats in queues

Cruising along the Shropshire Union: 10½ miles, 25 locks No, Cleddau isn’t broken, nor any of the crew. But somehow broken things seemed to dominate activities these last few days. There was broken sleep to start with: at midnight on the Cheshire One’s first night her alarm clock sprang into life, waking all on board – and there followed some to-ings and fro-ings between front and rear cabin until a couple of hours later sleep returned… Moored at Market Drayton...

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The big, the bizarre and the beautiful

Calf Heath to Goldstone Wharf Within a couple of hours of leaving the Calf’s Heath mooring on Saturday the Shropshire Union Canal had been reached. Signpost for CHESTER,       that must be it… pass through the small stop lock (a 6 inch drop) at Autherley Junction and the Shropshire Union stretches ahead for 66½ miles to Ellesmere Port and the Manchester Ship Canal. After the curves and narrows of the Staffs and Worcs Canal boaters soon realise that cruising along the...

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Hurrah for Staffordshire

Though Staffordshire doesn’t always get a good press its canals deserve a rousing cheer. It’s not been new territory, these past four days. The Cleddau route, Fradley Junction (nearest major town Lichfield) to Calf Heath (nearest major town Wolverhampton) has involved  28 miles and 18 locks on two different canals. Fradley is always busy with boats and walkers, holidaymakers and gongoozlers.      Conversation with other boaters at the Fradley locks is usually easy: which way are you going, further along the...

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Memories along the T and M

Is your mind startled by a location trigger? Back in Cleddau-land in far West Wales there’s always a smile brought about by coming across Auntie M’s bridge-hole at Lydstep or Auntie G’s corner near Stackpole. Travelling along the Trent and Mersey Canal stirs memories too: it was beyond the eastern end of this canal at Sawley Marina that twenty years ago Cleddau was purchased (see previous post). Burton-upon-Trent – it’s the home town of a colleague who now lives in...

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Transitions

River, city, canal, suburbia, river, marina, completion of another phase, river, canal…  The story of the last three days is one of changes both in setting and in situation. Wednesday: on a sunny morning, thick-headed from the night-time squawks of insomniac geese, the Cleddau and Tentatrice crews left the National Water Sports moorings and headed the couple of miles towards Nottingham. Waterfront properties take on a different look hereabouts, an ostentatious residence,           upmarket apartments,        the home of Nottingham Forest football...

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White water

Congratulations to the sharp-eyed readers who picked up on the afterthought (the Llareggub boat name*)  in the last post: first in was Cliff from his South Wales hilltop with “fancy encountering a Dylan boat fan on your voyage”.  Just 14 minutes later Godmanchester Friend emailed “Happy to see you have ‘Buggerall’ for company!!!” It was farewell to Newark-on-Trent on Monday morning.      Gone was the rain but tail end Hurricane Bertha’s winds were still about.  Onward upstream past the castle and...

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Lincoln – Torksey – Newark

Thursday was Moving On Day: time to leave Brayford Pool’s marina electricity, the waterside eateries     and student halls      to head out along the Roman Fossdyke Navigation. There was the Pyewipe Inn,      its name vaguely familiar, its riverside moorings looking very inviting. Just as elsewhere a bridge can provide perfect cover for a boat restoration job.     Then came a new marina, boatyard facilities beside smart waterside housing.     When Cleddau passed here before in 1997 there were no such grand facilities. A...

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Passage of time: Lincoln

Three stints of Lincolnshire living (amounting to about eight years in total) make Lincoln a hometown from the past. On Saturdays decades ago there’d be family shopping for fruit and veg at the market, maybe a hot dog by the Cornhill (now the location for a Big Screen)      and the occasional browse inside the packed toy shop, transformed now into a Waterstone’s book shop. Walk across the plaza in front of the Central Market opposite Waterside these summer days –...

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Boston and beyond

“When in Boston…” When in Boston climb up the Stump and look out to sea. After last Tuesday’s thrilling narrow boat crossing of the Wash it seemed appropriate to get some perspective on the journey. (Follow the blue line from the right hand bottom corner bottom of the chart (King’s Lynn) to trace the route taken.) Wide views across Boston and the surrounding landscape are possible if you climb the 209 steps up the Stump, the tower of St Botolph’s...