Boatwif Blog

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A saunter around a city

A two night mooring at Tower Wharf in Chester gave time for a little bit of local exploration. Not far away is a plaque that will be of interest to canal historians. The efforts of Chester-born LTC Rolt are widely recognised in saving the inland waterways from post-war dereliction. The area around Tower Wharf has been redeveloped: smart apartment blocks and student accommodation overlooks the water.  Telford’s Warehouse is a thriving pub – and on hot summer evenings voices and...

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So how did the Romans manage without Gore-Tex?

Middlewich to Chester: 26 miles, 21 locks A Day Off had been declared in Middlewich, but how would the daylight hours be spent?  It was hot on arrival and Cleddau grabbed a conveniently shady mooring space beneath trees, between the play park and Big Lock. Middlewich is a useful stop: there’s a fish and chippery above King’s Lock, a very helpful DIY store, a Tesco Express – and a bit further away a Lidl and (a few more yards further...

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In threes…

Lymm (Bridgewater Canal) to Middlewich (Trent & Mersey Canal): 27 miles, 3 tunnels, 2 locks.  Three days it took from Lymm to Middlewich (two very different towns in Cheshire, some 27 watery miles apart). On leaving Lymm it was a Sunday, a day when walker, jogger and trip boat numbers are usually high, especially in fine weather.  There were still another 16 or so miles along the Bridgewater Canal to cruise. It was a day of colour – when canal...

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 Liking it in Lymm…

Pennington Flash – Lymm: 24 miles, 0 locks Since Pennington Flash     Cleddau and crew have bumbled along the Bridgewater Canal, passing comment on previously unnoticed items, such as a towing horse at Worsley,  and a totem pole in Sale.     There were boat names that intrigued   and one that amused. Despite the familiarity some landmarks were subjected again to a quick camera shot: here again is the pithead gear at Astley Green Colliery (disused now but there’s...

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Three days on a southbound heading

Rufford to Pennington Flash: 19¼ miles, 15 locks, 3 swing bridges, 1 lift bridge The time at Rufford was over. No more delicious meals in the marina brasserie. No more time to wander through the churchyard   or around the marina grounds. No more unlocking and re-locking the padlock that keeps each mooring jetty secure. No more trundling of goods in a wheelbarrow from car boot to the boat. St Mary’s has been a superb marina in a delightful location...

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Improvements, major and minor

Cleddau has had a month-long sojourn at St Mary’s Marina in Rufford. During a flying visit to check on the boat mid-June an earlier curiosity was sated.  En route along the canal to Tarleton on 16th May an inviting-looking place was passed.   This was Rufford Old Hall. It’s the ancestral home of fourteen generations of the Hesketh family. Since 1936 the Hall has been in the hands of the National Trust.   It’s a stunningly beautiful building, much extended and...

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The Brook, the Estuary and the River

Lancaster Canal to Rufford: 15 miles, 10 locks By Wednesday midday Tentatrice and Cleddau were moored in the basin above the Ribble Link triple staircase locks, in readiness for Thursday’s 0930 locking down. What did the locks look like from a more normal perspective? The ascent (on 19th May)  had been carried out backwards on the lock keepers’ instructions. This was to make the lock entry and exit more manageable in the tight spaces at the bottom and top of...

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Given more time…

Lancaster southbound to Preston: 28 miles Saturday started with a surprise: Cleddau’s boating companions out of Liverpool, Shaun and Colin from Silver Fox, materialised in Lancaster. Although still moored outside of the city they had walked in on a preliminary recce. Tales were swapped of respective Ribble Crossing exploits; here is the latest Foxes Afloat vlog, watch it to see them boating on an incoming tide on the River Douglas, on the wide waters of the Ribble Estuary and along...

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Shore Leave …

There’s something quite wonderful about floating about on a boat – few folk would disagree with that.  Not that there can be too much of a good thing, but sometimes a little variety is welcome. From the first ever narrowboat trip decades ago (The Avon Ring: Stratford – Birmingham – Worcester – Tewkesbury – Stratford) the strongest memories remain of the shore leave at the end. Romeo and Juliet in the Swan at Stratford, a first ever Shakespeare for the...

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Being ‘Anoraks’

Hest Bank to Tewitfield: 8 miles, 1 swing bridge The last 8 miles to the Lancaster Canal’s terminus was done in two stages. First from Hest Bank to Carnforth (3¾ miles, I swing bridge) and then, three days later,  the final 4¼ miles from Carnforth to Tewitfield. There have been times in the past when a moorings strategy has been devised. Would it be difficult, Impossible even, to find places to moor when there was a bank holiday weekend ahead...