Boatwif Blog

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Keep calm – and carry on

5,500 miles is a long way to go to deliver a message– but, mission achieved. “Anything you want me to tell them?” Boatwif had asked the Cheshire One. She, mind on her imminent birthday and her responsibility to deliver the meaning of precarious to her classmates (Vocabulary Enrichment Day), had kept it brief. Preceding departure to Southern California there had been the familiar scramble of assembling summer weight clothes and preferred import items.  Several of the above are from the...

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Marple – an aqueduct undressed

Chance has allowed a couple of North Cheshire Away Days. The Cheshire One had spent part of half term down in Bedfordshire.  Mid-week a Virgin train whizzed her and Boatwif back to Macclesfield from Milton Keynes. The Captain drove up later and tackled the top Must Do Cleddau job, a boat wash. A germ of an idea had formed in Boatwif’s mind: perhaps just a gentle little cruise, just to Marple, only about 90 minutes further north, then a walk...

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The familiar and the surprising…

Cleddau has cruised “home” northbound along the Macclesfield Canal, a very familiar route. High above Scholar Green (love that name!) is the ragged shape of the Mow Cop folly;    while across the fields from Ramsdell Hall      is Little Moreton Hall. Who would be weary of seeing again this charming crooked structure?   Tied up beside the Ramsdell Hall Railings     on Thursday temptation grew. It was a dry day, the winds had dropped, and tantalisingly Little Moreton Hall was...

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Homebound cruise resumed…

After an emergency closure of the navigation on the Middlewich Arm Cleddau had returned southwards to Nantwich to await further news… Canal and River Trust was due to publish an update about the stoppage on Monday morning. When late on Saturday night a check on the website revealed that the closed area would reopen at 10am on SUNDAY morning it was time to formulate a new plan. The boat needed to be turned round to face north again, (a slow...

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Delays… diversions… disasters…

Back to the Macc… It’s a simple route really: take a left out of Overwater Marina,      go about 5 miles northbound to Barbridge Junction,     take a right across the Middlewich Arm to Middlewich, then a right uphill, up the Trent and Mersey to Hardings Wood Junction, then a left back onto the Macclesfield Canal… Was the Cleddau crew really ready to go straight back to the Macc – well, not quite. There was a pause overnight...

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An evening cruise – and a Dahling afternoon…

No, Cleddau has not slipped her moorings at sunset and sailed off into the gloom – but the John Bunyan did! While home-based for a few days in Beds, a friend had extended a kind invitation to join her on a birthday cruise. Since 1995 the Bedford and Milton Keynes Waterway Trust  has been promoting the development of a canal link between the Buckinghamshire town of Milton Keynes and the county town of Bedford. Close the Gap (not the same as...

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Ferry duty

The thing about the unexpected is that there is no warning of when it may occur… Take Sunday for example. A prompt start from above Willey Moor Lock     was successful for all of one minute – and then a high pitched bleeping sound sang out from the rear end of the boat. Engine off. Warning gauges inspected. Engine boards up. Loss of water coolant diagnosed (the cause of the slightly blue tinged water in the bilge at the...

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Quick Peeks

There was nothing quick about the start on Wednesday morning… Cleddau and Tentatrice had spent the previous evening and night about two hundred yards above New Marton top lock. From untying the mooring ropes it took nearly an hour to enter the top lock. The reason? Cleddau was number four in a boat queue, Tentatrice number five …     and as the minutes ticked by so the queue grew! Once through the two locks a meander of a few...

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Tight squeezes on the Llangollen

The last five miles from Trevor to Llangollen are spectacularly beautiful.   The canal runs on a contour along the side of the Vale of Llangollen, the River Dee running in parallel below along the valley bottom. For boaters crawling towards (or from) Llangollen the trip can be a nerve-wracking business. There are three stretches of Narrows, where there is room for one boat width only.     For the second time in recent weeks the hand-held radios were deployed...

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Pronunciation

And so to Llangollen… In all the time Cleddau and crew were heading north west to Liverpool and back earlier this year no boaters showed any curiosity about how to say “Cleddau” or why the boat is so called… Heading west on the Llangollen Canal however, folk can pronounce the word (think: CLETH-EYE) and some even recognise the reference. “Ah, Pembrokeshire!” said a walker one day. “Is that the eastern or the western Cleddau?” Then, at Ellesmere (Ellesmere in Shropshire...