Boatwif Blog

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  “Luvely day…”

Shropshire Union Canal: Nantwich – Autherley Junction It’s hard to know when the Shropshire Union Canal is actually in Shropshire. It is in Market Drayton (15¼ miles south of the Barbridge Junction where Cleddau had joined the SU Canal) but back at Nantwich the canal is in Cheshire and so is Audlem. Right now, in rainy Gnosall (south of Market Drayton), the canal is in Staffordshire and a local road sign has Stafford as only 7 miles away. ….. Cleddau...

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Tunnels and junctions, flashes and breach sites

It was Monday morning and overcast as Cleddau and crew cruised the last few flat miles of the Bridgewater Canal. There was a local landmark, the Norton water tower in Runcorn,   there was the entrance to the Runcorn Arm (a three mile canal stretch that used to give boat access to the Manchester Ship Canal) – and there was another motorway bridge (M56). Within 3 miles the canal was narrowing, passing a warehouse now used as apartment living,  ...

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Bowling along on the flat and level

After descending the Rochdale Nine (the southern end of the Rochdale Canal) Cleddau joined the Bridgewater Canal. This waterway stretches 28 miles between Castlefields at Manchester and Preston Brook (in Cheshire) where it joins the Trent and Mersey Canal.   2 miles west of Manchester at Waters Meeting (lovely name) an unassuming arm leads off northwards for a further 10.8 miles to Leigh where the Bridgewater joins the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. The Bridgewater is unusual – it’s noted for...

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The Great Descent

A summer cruise, where to – and how? Ever since news broke of the collapsed culvert and de-watered canal at Macclesfield there’s been pondering about alternative cruising plans. Delay all cruising until the canal is reopened? Head down the Lower Peak Forest Canal and turn right for lock-heavy Huddersfield? Or head down the Lower Peak Forest and turn left for Manchester and the Bridgewater Canal…? The third option won – so grit the teeth, grab the windlass and prepare for...

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‘…It’s a boy…’

Time to reflect on some recent ‘firsts’. Even while still in lockdown in March there were small pleasures to be had – these were the first lambs in the field just west of Wootton Church… When the Prime Minister announced that outdoor gatherings for up to six people were permitted from 29th March plans quickly swung into action.  A first ‘garden party’ since last summer, in sunshine, sleet or snow was prepared for – and to see friendly faces in...

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For the record…

On the 16th March this year the Captain made an online order for a new pair of walking boots. This was a big purchase – and a well-deserved one at that, since the soles of his existing boots were parting company from the uppers… Twelve long months ago, on 6th March, 2020, the Captain had installed an app on his phone, one of those that records steps and distance walked. Through March 2020 as the global news worsened the prospect...

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January, slow January…

A Boatwif feels reluctant to compose a boat blog when there is a total absence of boating activity. 145 road miles and a three hour drive separates the Cleddau crew’s home base from Cleddau’s home mooring. Periodically a phone pic arrives from Techno Son-in-Law, this  one  on an icy morning mid-January, evidence that Cleddau is still afloat. Starved of even a sighting of a boat, a walk was programmed earlier this month past the farm pond where last spring a...

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Novembers, past and present…

It was Friday November 13th, when Boatwif asked the Captain if he knew the date. “November 12th? No, November 13th…” “Yes, November 13th – and can you remember what you were doing 50 years ago today?” 50 years is a long time ago. There was an extended silence and then after some prompting the memory arrived! An Air Commodore had awarded a lowly Flying Officer his hard earned Wings. ….. Time and decades have passed. It’s a bit easier to...

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Hello Pumpernickel

As a school child October meant being back in school, with summer holidays a fading memory and the daily homework load increasing… As a student each October entailed new accommodation, cooler days, light dwindling by late afternoon, evenings spent on assignments… As a parent by October routines had become established: children’s uniform ready for the morning, dinner money in envelopes, reading logs checked, spellings tested… As a teacher by October the new timetable had been established, pupils’ names learned, the...

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 The last stretch ‘home’

Ramsdell Hall Railings, Macclesfield Canal to Victoria Pit Moorings, Higher Poynton It’s happened before in September, a Cleddau crew member waking up at Ramsdell Hall railings on a birthday.  This time it was the Captain’s b’day. There were a few birthday cards on board and a mail drop at Macclesfield a day or so later.   See this too: Techno Son-in-Law had a surfeit of biodegradable party streamers, this being the result of a synchronised shoot out…! After a short...

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