Boatwif Blog

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Cleddau cruise resumed

      Friday saw a swifter than usual M6 transit up to Staffs from Beds and well before midday Cleddau was being checked out on her Aston Marina mooring. Somehow she looked cramped – the effect of a neighbouring boat moored in what had previously been an empty berth.      There are lessons to be learned from mooring (and particularly for departing from) a large marina:1. Plan to leave very early – or very late, not around 10am, which is a popular moving...

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Dropping down from Stoke to Stone

      Thanks to Techno Son-in-Law for posting the previous blog post.  Boatwif’s laptop has taken a serious (terminal?) dislike to Blogger software……….            The newly installed Beta 43 engine was meant to bring peace of mind and anxiety-free cruising. Breakdowns and mechanical problems were to be mere nightmares from the past… Hence, a rhythmic loud ticking noise noticed while southbound on the Macc did not exactly inspire confidence that all was well below the engine boards.      The route south passes Longport...

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D for Departure

Friday was D-Day, D for Departure Day. The 2014 Cleddau Cruise was at last under way. Months have been spent in planning and executing the engine and rear cabin refit; weeks have been spent in reorganising the interior and doing pre-cruise checks; days have been spent in preparing the route plan, Higher Poynton on the Macc to Bedford on the River Great Ouse. Now departure moment had come. Cleddau was backed out of her home mooring, winded (turned round) and...

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Remember when…

      Sightings again of the Cleddau Bridge… though on this occasion many were from the River Cleddau’s northern shore. Accommodation was in Neyland, which once (as New Milford) was destined to be a major port for transatlantic passenger liners. Down on the hard is an impressive statue (not of Kenneth Branagh of Olympic Opening fame) but of Isambard Kingdom Brunel ,   who in 1856 brought the Great Western Railway from Haverfordwest right up to the deep waters of the Milford...

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Mission accomplished

       “Hello Houston, we have a problem…” What endless skill, knowledge and patience the staff at Houston must have had back in 1970 when the Apollo 13 moon flight developed a major technical fault*.       After some snag-fixing back at Stoke Boats (details later) Cleddau has been on the move again, from Longport Wharf back up the Macc to Higher Poynton. She was crewed by Techno Son-in-Law, solo until Congleton, where Cheshire Mum and Cheshire One jumped aboard.       A hundred miles...

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Southbound back to Stoke

       “You must keep folk informed,” announced the Captain on Sunday evening. “Shouldn’t you be blogging?”        So:  Cleddau’s been on the move again, back down Bosley, (yes, remember the Bosley 12 locks, a downhill drop of 118 feet), down through rural east Cheshire towards Staffordshire.         After the unexpected pleasure of  The Boar’s Head meal on Wednesday not being accompanied by piped musak but by live instrumentalists, Thursday and Friday became serious work days. There was Boat Stuff still to...

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Musical interlude

      Between cruising northbound up the Macc to return Cleddau to her Higher Poynton moorings and then turning back south to Stoke-on-Trent there was an interlude, well – two actually.  First, between boating exploits, the Cheshire One took up a holiday residency in her Bedfordshire bed – and then, before the southbound trip could begin, there was Music…            Boaters to Higher Poynton soon discover The Boar’s Head. The Braidbar Owners group frequent it often; the Festina Lente crew were...

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Initial ‘Sea Trials’ completed

      It’s taken nearly a week to bring Cleddau “home”.       From Longport Wharf it’s been a slower than usual journey (27.64 miles, the Harecastle Tunnel, 13 locks), slower to allow time for adjusting the trim (see the useful lump of railway line moved from front deck locker to engine compartment)  and assessing the on-board electrical and plumbing systems.       After six months away from the Macclesfield Canal there is a satisfaction at spotting the familiar (the lovely Ramsdell Hall...

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Cleddau back on the Cut

    Friday 4th April: six months after arriving at Longport Wharf in Stoke-on-Trent Cleddau was deemed fit to leave.    How excited were the Cleddau crew – up the M1, across the M6, take the M6 Toll, re-join the M6, now the A500; oh, the road route has become well known.     The boat lay, like last week, under the slip at Longport; she had been cleaned inside and her external bodywork relieved of the dense layers of shed dust.     ...

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So who was Jeremy Bentham?

A view of the Cleddau Bridge – Cars are transported high above the waters of Milford Haven now.  Decades ago the Hobbs Point jetty was where foot passengers and cars lined up to catch the Cleddau Queen and later the Cleddau King ferries across to “the other side”. A long shot down the Haven – just to the left is the embarkation point for the Irish ferry to Rosslare; on the right there’s a glimpse of the tanker jetties, a reminder that...