Boatwif Blog

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South west for winter: Day 4

Day 4: A numbers sort of day… Red Bull Services to Hassall Green, 4¼ miles, 13 locks Lock 44 lay directly ahead this morning.     It has a partner lock beside it. Between Kidsgrove (Lock 41) and Wheelock (Lock 66) many of the locks are paired side by side and during busy periods it is not uncommon to find both locks in a pair in use, one boat ascending, one descending. Today though, on a Monday in term time, boating...

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South west for winter: Day 3

Day 3: A gentle sort of day Biddulph Aqueduct to Red Bull Services Visitor Moorings, 6½ miles, 4 locks Not every morning needs to start with an engine being teased into life, ready for onward motion… Jaq, equipped with a Nicholson Guide, pen and coffee, arrived from nb Valerie, seeking local knowledge.     The combined efforts of three brains, three maps (her Nicholson’s, a much-thumbed Geo Cheshire Ring chart and the digital Waterway Routes) aided a bridge by bridge discussion...

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South west for winter: Day 2

Day 2: Downhill, on a dampish sort of day Bosley to Biddulph Aqueduct, 3¼ miles, 12 locks Rain-streaked windows at 8am is not the inspiring sight you want to see as you contemplate working a flight of locks. Via 12 locks the Bosley Flight on the Macclesfield Canal   lifts the canal 118 feet in just over a mile.  (View from the Top Lock). Working the locks requires muscle power and leg work from lock wielders, patience and accuracy from...

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South west for winter…

Cleddau is on an Autumn cruise. It’s a one-way trip: she’s off to spend the winter at Aqueduct Marina (near Nantwich) where she will be sand blasted (ouch!) and repainted. She’s going early while the weather is reasonable and before winter lock closures affect the Macclesfield Canal. As the crows (or the many Canada geese) fly, the route is a north east to south west diagonal across Cheshire – except that via canal there’s a lot of south, a fair...

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A cruise to a party…

Those who know him well recognise that the Captain is a Planner: give him a project to develop or routes for a long-distance cruise to coordinate and he is a happy chap… 2017 has seen various plans conceived and executed: the cruise of 433 miles and 235 locks from mid-March to late June, the Nearly 70 family gathering and celebratory party in South Pembrokeshire in July, as well as several shorter distance Cleddau exploits    – but in mid-September one...

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Made it!

Given that such a great deal of planning had gone into July’s Nearly party in Pembrokeshire and that another birthday celebration lies ahead later in the month, what to do, where to be and how to mark the actual decade-changing day had not featured on the planning schedule. First though, on September the first, boat and crew needed to head north back to the Macclesfield Canal. Harecastle Tunnel – a sixth (and final) transit this year.    While lead boat...

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Pottery pottering

Cleddau’s trip along the western end of the Caldon Canal had been to allow a trip to the Emma Bridgewater Pottery.      It’s there in Hanley, side on to the canal. Visitors from the canal first need to negotiate Stoke-on-Trent’s fast traffic as it speeds along the dead straight Lichfield Street.. This year The Cheshire One has developed a fondness for pottery painting: this was to be her fourth experience after visits to The Kiln in Bedford, to a...

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Double Trouble

Bosley Lock 12  – MIlton – Etruria: 24½ miles, 9 locks, 1 tunnel  After three nights moored below Bosley Locks it was time to move off on Bank Holiday Monday.       Extra crew in the person of The Cheshire One was due to be picked up at Scholar Green later in the day. It was a lovely morning; there was the painted cow     and there was the looming hulk of the Cloud over to the left.    ...

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Having numerous locks on us…

Knowing where the flags were stored on Cleddau wasn’t the problem, although suspending them above the boat wasn’t entirely easy…    However, by  late afternoon on Friday August 25th Cleddau was ‘dressed overall’,     ready to signify to walkers, boaters and cyclists that something was going on. The Something was HALOUS, the annual event organised by Macclesfield Canal Society during which all twelve locks of the Bosley flight are manned by volunteer lock operators.   On Saturday morning volunteers assembled for...

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Tales of the Unexpected

When it’s just a question of turning a boat round to retrace your route you don’t expect there to be much different to see or to reflect upon – but you might be wrong… On the outbound trip to Aqueduct Marina (near Nantwich, south Cheshire) a brilliant mooring spot had been sighted, a length of mooring with wide-reaching views overlooking the pretty village of Church Minshull. ‘Moor there on Friday once we’ve finished at the marina,’ was the thought. Keen...