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Friday 19th August 2016

So Burnley wasn’t too bad, we moored the night under the wharf canopy, near The Wharf pub, room for about 4-5 boats, it was very quiet & we had no issues what so ever.

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Today we walked into town about 5 mins away to collect some stock & raid the charity shops.  Our travelling new companions had decided they wanted to visit an event at one of the museums with live demonstrations of cloth making but still wanted to head for Blackburn later that day,  we set off about 1pm as we needed to fill up with water at the CRT depot in Rose Grove,  Burnley, who ironically have a card pump out machine but don’t sell the cards!  We had a look at the piles of detritus taken out of the canal during the recent dredging prior to the Blackburn & Burnley canal festivals & the  Leeds & Liverpool Canal 200th anniversary  celebrations flotilla.

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nothing more than a few plastic bags & some weed on the prop, so after this lot being hauled out, fingers crossed we can get through Blackburn unscathed.

Leeds & Liverpool Short Boat Kennet was moored at the CRT Burnley depot, ready to head off for Leeds in a couple of weeks to lead the flotilla.

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It was quite pleasant coming out of Burnley but you can still see many signs of the previous weaving & textile industry all around you.

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We then came to the Gannow Tunnel, a doddle after Foulridge, only 559yds long but beware of a very tight turn when you exit, its easy if there are no oncoming boats, but plenty of widebeams on this canal & that could be a bit tricky.

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It starts to get greener again as you leave Burnley behind.

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We headed for Hapton for the night, the cottage by the towpath had a trig point in the garden.

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It was a lovely evening & we sat out & enjoyed a few drinks with our new friends Jeremy & Rachel,

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6 Miles     0 Locks     4 Swing Bridges      2.5hrs

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday 17th August 2016

Up early & wandered down to the locks with the rubbish, couple of 55′ boats going down, very leaky locks & not much space behind when gates open to leave. a bit apprehensive as on the trip so far we have only ascended the locks all the way to the summit of the Leeds & Liverpool & it seems an age since we descended. Unlike some folk, I don’t mind going up but I hate going down in these short locks. We have a tarpaulin skirt around the deck now, protection for the animals but helped my worries about water gushing onto the deck.  We have had so many previous trials with this boat it is taking me a long while to get my confidence with her, but it’s coming.

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Just setting off towards Barrowford Top Lock when another boater asks to share the 7 locks with us. Jeremy & Rachel on nb Phoebe Joan, what a lovely couple & they now have two mugs with their boat sign writing on.

 

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They waited for us at Reedley Marina as we planned to stop there but there are no moorings outside the marina & we were told next suitable stop would be Bridge 130b outside The Wharf pub in Burnley after the embankment

ReedleymarinaNot in the plan for today but off we went.

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We noticed that we have lost our picturesque scenery & the surrounding areas were a lot more industrialised & a lot of old wharf buildings & rubbish, we hadn’t seen any rubbish really since we started our trip.

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We dipped in & out of old mills buildings, industry & green areas again.

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Just before the embankment I thought I might be back in Yorkshire again by the name on this new widebeam!

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We cruised along the mile long Burnley embankment, not very scenic but the views over Burnley were quite interesting, shops & town centre one side & the old cobbled streets lined with row of houses.

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Looking back along the embankment 60ft above the town.

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The end of the embankment.

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We came across this oddity on the way into Burnley. I have no idea what it is or why it is there!

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We moored up behind nb Phoebe Joan on Burnley wharf & have all decided a visit to town & a bit of shopping tomorrow.

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9 Miles       7 Locks      0 Swing Bridges      0 Tunnels     5 Hours

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Saturday 13th August 2016

According to the weather forecast the wind is supposed to have dropped & no rain is forecast………well, it’s still blowing a hooley & it’s pouring with rain. I’m putting it down to the fact that we are at the summit of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal & on the Yorkshire Lancashire border.

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Even the cows are still laying down, looking very content though.

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When we walked down to have a look at the moorings by the tunnel yesterday we spotted some good firewood from a tree fallen on the opposite side of the canal, it must of fell right across as big logs were in the undergrowth down by the dry stone wall along the towpath side…….todays job! A lot of the logs were far too big for our tools but we added some to the winter stock pile. Why is it when you are new to this, you know you are not breaking any laws & not on private land but you feel guilty? I could never be a real criminal!

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This metal plaque on the towpath of the Leeds Liverpool Canal explains how wooden rollers protected bridges from the tow ropes used by horses when towing the canal boats.

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The sun eventually came out after lunch, we had gained a few logs & moved down to moor at The Wharf just before the Foulridge Tunnel.

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Café Cargo is well worth a visit & if you are a trader gets very busy. It is quite wide on the wharf as is at a winding hole, so plenty of room.

We decided to trade tomorrow, Sunday as the weather is supposed to be much improved.

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So this afternoon we took a short walk to the village.

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The plague below explains about the water trough situated outside the village hall that faces the village green.

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It has a pretty village green, just up the steps is a Butchers, Café & Chinese T/A & Florist.

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It turned out to be a beautiful evening after the rainy, windy start.

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Sunday 14th August 2016

We awoke to a lovely warm, still, sunny morning, ideal for some trading.

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We set up the shop, not expecting too much but were pleasantly surprised. we had a rush on “Touch Wood” Key Rings & sold quite a few mugs, one Witchy mug going to Japan to back up the story of the Pendle witches! another going to Spain to remind a lady of home Lancashire. As we were on the border we hedged our bets on stock, whilst Caley the dog supervised all day.

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Tomorrow will be a challenge as I hate being underground, I get very panic stricken & we have to go through the Foulridge Tunnel, but tonight a glass of wine will do after a successful & enjoyable day.

1 Mile    0 Locks     0 Swing Bridges      30 minutes

 

 

 

 

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Friday 13th April 2012 (Easter Week)

Trent & Mersey, Rode Heath to Middlewich

The next morning @coalboat posted a tweet of us still sleeping whilst he was setting off! Nice one Brian.

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Brian McGuigan@Coalboat

@nbcornish That’s D’riculous on this frosty morn at Rode Heath. Have a good trip. http://yfrog.com/g03eazuj

What a nice way to start the day, the weather was warmer & brighter, the sun was shining.

We had taken it really easy yesterday as we had been contacted by the suppliers with regard to our drive plate problems & it seems that the particular gear boxes fitted a couple of years ago are faulty but an ongoing court case over the matter last year prevented them from telling us this when our first one failed. only on the second failure we have been told of this & have been offered a full replacement without charge. That is the good news, the bad is that we still have to get back to Aqueduct Marina with the existing one that takes its toll on the drive plate, I tried to use the gears a little as possible yesterday & decided on the same plan of action today as we had 20 locks to do. This is good practice however for handling your boat.

So, we left Rode Heath back along the Trent & Mersey, coming round to Thurlwood lock.

On to Lock 58 & watching the traffic rushing past on the M6.

A bit further on near lock 60 a horse from the stables was grazing near the lock gate.

At lock 63 I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful colour of the towels on the washing line, wonder how many washes before they fade to pale pink!

Isn’t it strange the things you notice when the sun is shining! we carried on & I was being extra careful with the amount of gear usage, The wind was minimal so it was easy to go very slow & just glide between the locks, so far so good. At lock 64 near Malkin’s Bank Golf Club BW are doing some work on one of the pair of locks.

Just before bridge 160 there was substantial ground works going on behind the boatyard, it looked like it may be the start of an extension to an existing industrial estate, but the heavy machines reminded me of  dinosaurs with the buckets waving around like giant heads & the engines roaring, yeah, I know some imagination!

We made a lunch stop at Wheelock & emptied the rubbish & wine bottles! lunch was Smoked haddock Chowder & hot baguette, lovely!

Just before bridge 65 there is a Dutch Barge style narrowboat moored, she is beautiful.

A bit further on towards Middlewich & all seemed well with the drive plate however reverse gear was getting harder to engage & disengage it literally took two hands, hmm worrying ,

however this heron looking liked he belonged to the ministry of silly walks took my mind off things for a while!

We passed the salt working getting closer to Middlewich, The lamentation of swans that we saw on the way out were still there we counted 30 in total.

We were approaching Kings lock  nice & slowly as we saw a boat coming up in the lock & as with everybody else today thought they would just come out leaving the gate open a we were only about 100yds away, again saving us gear usage, but no, they shut the gate & left the paddles up. when we past them it was obvious they didn’t have much care for others or themselves! One of the young children was poking at a manky dead duck with her fingers by the lock, then ate chips from chipper, parents unphased!

At this point I knew we would need to use reverse as this junction is very tight if you are turning onto the Middlewich Branch & into Wardle lock, as i was trying to carry on doing things slowly Lochaber decided that a blast of reverse was need to get round & under the bridge into the lock…..big mistake, she came out of reverse but no way was she going to engage reverse again!

So a sad end in the ongoing drive plate saga to a rather pleasant day. Tomorrow we will have to make it back to Aqueduct marina with NO REVERSE GEAR!  Somebody has a lot of stress & two spoilt holidays to answer for!

Today 11 miles, 20 locks, 6hrs & NO reverse gear now!

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Tuesday 10th April 2012 (Easter week)

Macclesfield Canal, Hardings Wood Junction to Bridge 59

We awoke around 8am & wondered what today would bring with regard to our drive plate issue & if we would get on the move.

Tony from Red Bull Services came around the corner to the moorings around 10am & helped us pull That’s D’riculous backwards into his workshop, not because she wouldn’t start but so that the engine stayed cold & that any reversing didn’t silt up the slipway, we waited with bated breath as he removed the gear box, that was ok, then the dreaded drive plate, yes there it was not totally shattered as with the first one but damaged enough to be making alot of noise & it would have disintegrated within about 10hrs travelling. That would make the travelling hours 142, the first drive plate disintegrated at 74hrs so I can see a pattern appearing.

Tony went off the get another drive plate from  Middlewich.

While we were waiting we wandered into Butt lane the nearest town, only 10 mins walk but up quite a steep hill. The usual collection of small Supermarket, PO, Hardware shop, Newsagent, Bookies & Chipper.

We notice that the town has a Petanque club, haven’t played that for ages, used to have the full set of balls!

Lochaber spotted a plague on one of the houses up the hill stating that Reginald Mitchell the designer of the Spitfire aeroplane was born there.

On the way back down the hill we couldn’t walk past the chipper without grabbing a bag each for the stroll back to see how Tony was getting on with the repairs. The full version of the ongoing drive plate sage can be found on the page “Hooked, now we start living the dream”

New drive plate installed, should get us through the rest of the week & back to the marina, gear ratio slightly adjusted, the sun is shinning, lets go!

We made our way along the same piece of canal that we had walked yesterday & passed the swing bridge on our way to Bosley Locks.

This is Ramsdell Hall, the sgin below tells the story of the restored railings around the Hall & on both sides of the canal.

To the right all the way we could see Mow Cop.

The weather was much better today, even warm when the clouds allowed the sun to peep through, we made our way towards Congleton. The stone distance markers along the towpath were a delight to see on the way

It is just so lovely & peaceful up here, we were quite disappointed that due to the mechanical problems we won’t be able to venture further than Bosley Lochs.

We found a remote mooring spot with a good view & settled down ro a big dish of Chilli that had been in the slow cooker whilst we had been travelling.

Today 9.5 miles, 4 hours, 1 Stop Lock

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We had decided that we would spend Christmas aboard, even if we could not get out of Aqueduct Marina we would still at least be on our nb. Christmas 2010 we spent on our old nb Tin Lizzie & I came down with a very severe bout of swine flu so I don’t have very good memories of that Christmas holiday time, however I had made up my mind that 2011 was going to be much better.

We had eaten at The Verdin Arms just outside Middlewich during the summer & really enjoyed the food & the hospitality. The Christmas menu looked very inviting so we book in October & mouths were watering from then on.

Verdin arms menu

As you can see it wasn’t a big menu claiming to be anything fantastic but fantastic it was! The Feta cheese, chorizo & apple starter was really unusual & delicious. Two bottles of Rose bubbly were sunk & a great lunch was had by all, as you can see from the photos of “the other alf” & daughter. I was taking the photos trying to get familiar with the new camera I treated myself to!

Back to the marina, light the woodburner another glass, telly & feet up!

 

Boxing Day 2011

We awoke to a glorious Boxing Day morning so nothing for it but to start that engine up & go for a run up to Nantwich. So mild for time of year especially compared to last year, but it did start getting a bit chilly after a couple of hours at the helm so it was hot toddy time! Now that’s a whole lot warmer, time for another before we moor up? absolutely!

Another 3 glorious days were enjoyed before the New Year storms set in & we had to go back to Scotland.

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Please let me give you some history to bring things up to date.  January 2012

We have spent the past year & a half falling in love with the canals & its people, most of that time has been learning how to handle a narrowboat properly & courteously, making the most of limited space & learning the etiquette of the canal world. During the next 12 months we are preparing to pack up our rented home, we have already sold our house & move on board fulltime. Since joining the boating community on Twitter we feel closer & more a part of the life style will be embarking on, therefore we think it is time to start our own boaters blog!

Our first nb was a 30yr old 42ft Cruiser style Minden boat called Tin Lizzie. We purchased her in August 2010, explored quite a bit of the Trent & Mersey & we loved her! Now we were hooked!

Moored just south of Rugeley on T & M by Lochaber & Cornish

We both bought & sold Tin Lizzie via New & Used Boat Sales based at Mercia Marina. They were very helpful when we first looked at Tin Lizzie & although we were doubtful of an older boat as a first investment we were assured by Doug, who is not a salesman as such more of a mine of information & recognised face within the boating community (who does all the practical & important things at New & Used), that she was a good solid nb from a sought after builder, Minden & that when we came to resell her we would not have a problem. Every time we visited Mercia Marina Doug was always around with friendly help & advice for the novices! He taught us a lot & we won’t forget that easily. I hope when we become liveaboard & start moving around more that we can go back & say hello.

As you can see she is alot more traditional inside than the new investment, traditional seems a lot cosier somehow.

 

 

          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doug was right when we decided to put Tin Lizzie back on the market in May 2011 they hadn’t even got the photo in the ad before we had a buyer!! I hope we pass her & her new owners sometime as I would love to see how she is fairing, although we now have a new build the older nb’s have far more character & soundness about them, although the tech side is not so good.

We explored a fair bit of the Trent & Mersey with Tin Lizzie & I have put some of our favorite photos on this page.

Below are a couple of pictures of Mercia Marina which I believe is one of the biggest in the country now. It is also the base for the Shakespeare Hire Fleet.

 

 

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