Thursday, 29 December 2011

New steps in build
Thursday 29th December,
Yesterday we both were picked up by Damon and while he and I went to the toy shop (B&Q) Cath did Granny duty. I managed to get most of what I wanted, most importantly a workbench, as without something to clamp the work cutting and routing are all but impossible. We got home a bit late so decided to have a takeaway. The nearest is Mumtaz so we gave it go, WOW, not only reasonable prices, a fast service, but probably the best take out we've ever had.
Busy day today then, I started out assembling the workbench, which took longer than I thought it should, but doesn't it always. Then on to the main job. Despite using the vacuum cleaner attached to the tools I still managed to cover everything in sawdust. This was expected and while the vac attachment on the circular saw works very well, the one on the router is totally useless. I've packed in for the day now and will continue tomorrow.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Monday 26th December
A lovely quiet Christmas, the first we've spent alone on the boat since we started with her.
Today (Boxing Day) Liz and Daniel came for a visit so we took a short walk and then went to Pizza Express for lunch. We were joined during the meal by Carol, wearing a very fetching horned knitted hat.
This afternoon we've just flopped onto chairs while I play with my Christmas present, a bluetooth headset so I can listen to music on the computer while Cath reads or listens to something else.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Thursday 22nd December
The day started with a sight of a red squirrel, a rare treat these days. Today is our last full day here so we thought it would be a good idea to do a bit of shopping because we'll be travelling tomorrow, and Saturday will be one hell of a scrum at the shops. After the supermarket I thought I might have a look at the local B&Q with the idea of getting a workbench for the boat, but the local one was very small and didn't have the model I wanted.
We then decided to go to the seaside, so ended up at Newbiggin by the Sea. Nice little place with a new visitor's centre dedicated to the history of the local lifeboat. It may be a cliché, but when you see the hardships and heroism of the local fishmen (and women who played no small part) it gives you pause for thought.



Tuesday, 20 December 2011






Tuesday 20th December
It's our 36th anniversary today. The day started excitingly with yours truly trying to burn down the hotel, the croissants were cold so I put one into the toaster, but that was too hot and the thing caught fire. No panic really, just embarrassing.
Later we drove over to Alnwick and strolled around the gardens before having lunch at The Tree House restaurant. This is a wonderful place, which looks just like a huge tree house and serves great food.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Monday 19th December
I finally made a start on replacing the front stairs. Having ripped out the old single step I find I can now reposition the water pump slightly, which may make it a bit quieter.
With the old step out of the way I've now worked out the form that the new steps will take, but will go no further until I get a new workmate bench to do the cutting on.
This morning we're getting ready to go away for a few days to celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary. 4 days up in Alnwick, with a lunch booked at "The Tree House".

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Thursday 15th December
Despite the best efforts of the weather man predicting really foul weather, this week hasn't been too bad.
I managed to get the items needed for the work inside the boat and I've started making draw retainers. As I mentioned before, when the boat heels over badly either due to the wind, or hitting an underwater bank, the heavy pan draws can fly open. I've now designed a lock for them and am in the middle of making said items.
The other thing I bought was some solid oak floor boards to make some better steps up from the saloon to the well deck. They don't quite match the maple which was used for the rest of the woodwork in the boat, but I couldn't get any of that.
Yesterday we went to the cinema to see Hugo. It's a great film and we can recommend it for all.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Saturday 10th December
Thursday night was another round of rockin' and rollin' but all the lines held despite the best efforts of the wind.
We decided to go uptown yesterday (Friday) just to get out for some fresh air. It was bracingly cold and a bit showery but good to have a wander around.
Last night was quiet and peaceful, and it should stay that way for a while.
We hope to see Damon on Sunday for lunch and we'll con him into taking us for run to the local B&Q so that I can get some materials to carry on internal DIY while the weather precludes external painting. I'm going to put in an extra step up from our saloon onto the well deck as it's a bit of steep climb with only one step at present. The other job is to try and work out a way of stopping the pan draws from crashing open  when the boat heels over. I think I've got it but only trial will tell.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Wow! What a wild night that was! The wind is gusting to 40+ MPH and because the mooring piers here are short we aren't tied as tightly as we would like. The boat is rocking around so much that some of heavy pan draws in the kitchen are getting thrown open. We are safe though, just feeling as if we are out on the ocean.

Sunday, 4 December 2011


Sunday 4th December
Since my last post I've started to suffer my usual winter reaction to the cold. Cath is doing her best to try and make sure I don't get my chest cold but I'm still coughing badly. I may have to go and see the quack this coming week.
During the last week I've once again pumped out the bottom of our fuel tank to try to keep the damaging effects of the new additives in the present supplies. For those out there who aren't familiar with the problems this new fuel causes us it seems that the bio addition to diesel causes the fuel to dissolve any of the accumulated gunk that was in the fuel tank, and hence allow it into the fuel system blocking filters, damaging the injection pump and injectors. Engine stops! Expensive repairs! On top of that, it can also damage old rubber hoses and seals, and if you don't have the more modern neoprene ones there's trouble ahead.
The pumping does get a fair bit of c**p from the bottom of the tank, and after letting it settle in another container there is a fair bit that can be recovered.
We've just had a great weekend with Damon and Daniel doing our grand parent babysitting bit. As you can see from pic above we managed to make him tired enough to go to bed without any problems.
The Met Office is promising us snow this coming week, I'll believe it when I see it.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Friday 25th November
We're still travelling around Leeds using the buses to get the lie of the land. We took a trip out to the White Rose Centre for a browse around. Interesting place, but a bit far out to do the weekly big shop. 
After that I discovered that there is a fairly large Morrison's right in the middle of Leeds, opposite The Light, in The Merrion Centre, so apart from the size or weight constraint we can get most things there.
We went to the market again today, love the place, and we managed to find some things to get for Christmas presents.
This morning I got around to starting to treat some of the rust patches which have appeared over the past season. Unfortunately the rain didn't hold off, so I may well have to re-treat that area.
Just as we were making our way back from the market the wind really got up and we got a bit wet in the shower. It's now blowing quite hard and the rain showers are quite vicious so we're not going anywhere for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Tuesday 22nd. November
The quiet life in Clarence Dock continues. Work on the boat isn't progressing at a pace, too lazy I guess.
We had a fine time babysitting Daniel on Saturday night. At the same time I finally finished re-hanging the driveway gate at Damon's and made a start on an oil change on his car. You may well ask how you only start an oil change. Well, the first problem encountered was the failure of my new electric oil change pump. This thing has been a disappointment, I've only used it once on our boat engine, and now it's failed totally. Luckily I took along my manual pump as well so we got the oil out of the sump. Next stage, change the filter. No go. My filter wrench won't go small enough to grip the little filter on this model, and there's no room to get a strap wrench in there. So we left the filter in place and we'll try to get the right size socket to fit the filter later.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Wednesday 16th November
Spent some more time today exploring. We're looking for a good sized out of town supermarket because the in town ones are usually small and expensive.
Today I took the bus looking for the Asda at Holt Park. Nice bus ride, it's been a long time since I sat on the top deck of a bus at the front just looking at the scenery. Not a bad size of supermarket there, so it's one we may use for bigger shopping excursions.
The next one to try is at White Rose Centre where we are told there is a large Sainsury's.
Finally fixed the problem with our heating unit. The air inlet filter for the compressor was clogged up. As soon as I removed it the flame intensified and the water started to get hotter almost immediately. It seems that the maker changed things slightly around the time ours was made. They changed from a third party compressor to their own make one, and changed the inlet filter at the same time. The spare filter which I bought with the unit turned out to be for the old model, so I had to modify the fitting to make it work. All is well again now, and we're toasting nicely!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Monday 14th November
Life is settling down to the routine of a fixed mooring. Bits and bobs of maintenance, shopping trips into town and visits to local attractions.
Last weekend we were visited by Paul and Jacqui. They came, as always, loaded down with food and drink. A great time was had, including a night out at Mumtaz, the Indian restaurant on our doorstep. It's great place, the food was excellent and the atmosphere wonderful. The only slight niggle came when we wanted to pay. Something didn't go right with the system, we don't know what, but we ended up waiting more than 20 minutes to pay our bill. They were very apologetic and gave us some lovely sweetmeats to take home.
On Saturday Martyn from Travelsat turned up to deliver a quad LNB for our satellite system. I've recently bought a Sky+ box on ebay so needed the extra input. Once we had installed the extra lead and connected it all up a quick phone call to Sky to pair our card with the new box and activate the record function and it was all working properly. We've now dumped our failing old DVD recorder which leaves an ideal place to store my computer when not in use.
Once again we seem to be having trouble with our heating system. It appears to work OK, fires up and runs, but the radiators aren't getting as hot as they used to. I've cleaned out the burner, which was very clogged up, but it still isn't right.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Thursday 3rd, November
A busy day today. First I had to disconnect and remove the control panel for the central heating system, then lift off the back doors and remove the wooden doors surrounds. All this gave sufficient room for the washing machines to pass out of and into the boat.
The delivery team arrived just before noon and the two machines changed places without too much trouble.
Once the delivery men had departed, taking the old machine with them, I started connecting the new one to all services. Soon it was time to put the first load in it and see how it performed.
All went well, as expected it is quieter and faster than the old one so all we can hope for is that is more reliable as well.
We've also made a start on applying the double glazing film to the saloon windows and two of them are finished. Hopefully it will stop, or at least lessen that bugbear of narrowboats, condensation.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Wednesday 2nd November
Yesterday we went up to Damon's where I started to re-hang his driveway gate. Only started, because the hinges we bought are not man enough for the job so I'll go back some time and have another stab at it.
We're setted in to our mooring now, but haven't seen any neighbours to speak to yet, except for one, whose story brings food for thought. He's been thrown off several mooring around here, can't pay fees, but BW say they want him where they can see him. He told me that as soon as Housing Benefit pay up for the mooring he'll be off again!
This morning we'll go into town to try and sign in at a local surgery. We are expecting a certain amount of unwillingness from them as when we went to enquire about it, the desk clerk tried several things to put us off but finally gave us forms to fill in. The lack of mailing address here is one of the points brought up, not having any documents like driving licence or bank statement with this address on is another.
I've found a new washer/dryer to replace our sick one and will go and buy it today. I hope this one will be more reliable than the last.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

After spending the night below Leeds lock, this morning we have moved up into Clarence Dock and taken up our allotted  mooring for the winter. Hopefully the winter won't be as harsh as last years and we may be able to get out and about in any fine spells of weather.
There's a small Tesco very close so any supplies we need in a hurry should be ok. There is also a bus stop quite close, so if we're feeling lazy we don't even have to walk into town. I hope to get some pics of our surroundings for anyone interested.

Friday, 28 October 2011

A fine autumn morning at Stanley Ferry
Friday 29th October
We awoke to a fine autumn morning. The sun was shining and there was mist on the water.
Setting off we were hailed by one of the boats moored up near us asking if we were going towards Leeds. We were, so they joined us to share the locks.
It was great just puttering along in bright sunshine. Sharing locks also makes life easier, saves the finger ache on the buttons. I know! We're getting lazy!


Monday, 24 October 2011

Monday 24th October
Had great weekend looking after Daniel, first time we've been left along with the little tyke, you forget how much energy they have.
Damon delivered us back to the boat on Sunday night and this morning we set off intending to get to Stanley Ferry.
All went well except that when picking Cath up from a lock landing I hit the side a bit harder than I should have and unbeknown to us something in the cupboard fell down and knocked the generator switch to off. This meant the battery wasn't being charged and worse than that, we had the heater working to dry some clothes and it took so much power that it drained the main battery. We now have to run the engine for a lot longer than planned to get the power level back up.
We're at Stanley Ferry now and will probably stay here tomorrow as well.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Saturday extra!!!
After a long time fighting with Orange over an issue with my mobile broadband not working with Google Maps, the issue has at last been resolved.
This is the 4th or 5th time I have spent time (a long time) on the phone to their 'experts' trying all sorts of solutions, none of which worked and I was getting to the point of telling them where to put their dongle. Today I got someone who went away and researched to problem, came back 3 hours later with the answer. It turns out that the dongle uses a programme called "accelerator" which can be turned on or off, For most things it needs to be on, but for Google maps you must turn it off or maps is blocked. Heavens knows why, it just is.
Daniel, looking very cool
Saturday 22/10/11
Liz picked us up as planned around noon Friday. As I said the other day she is going to a LARP meeting in Leicester, but true to form things didn't go to plan. First she was caught up in a traffic jam due to an accident on the M1, then getting us all back to Leeds a wrong turn made the trip a bit longer than planned. She finally got away about 4ish, only to have to turn around and come home again because her car was overheating. She arrived back about 8.00 and when Damon got home from work she took his car and set off again. One of those days you want to forget.
We've settled in for a weekend of grand parenting and so far have survived.

Friday, 21 October 2011

DON'T ARGUE WITH THINGS THAT BIG
Friday 21st October
On Wednesday morning I jumped out of bed (well crawled) early in order to get to the doctor's surgery early, hoping to be among the first to be seen. It worked, I was in fact first in the queue and was out again by just after 8.30.  This left plenty of time for our trip down river, heading to Castleford. We were joined by Ermantrude, a narrowboat crewed by a singlton heading back to his mooring at Melbourne on the River Derwent, he had asked if we minded his joining us to make life easier for him in the locks.
The day was bright and cold as we chugged our way through the countryside. It took us about 3 1/2 hours to get to Castleford and we moored up about 2.00 o'clock.
Thursday we set off again, intending to return to Leeds where Liz could pick us up for our weekend playing grand parents. Damon is working and Liz has a L.A.R.P event so our being close worked out quite well.
Things didn't go quite to plan. Just as we got to the lock the keeper changed the light to red. There was a tanker coming and of course that takes precedence.
All went well as he slipped into the lock and out the other side, but then there was another large one coming down stream and the lock gates decided to jam. The lock keeper did a lot of running around and phoning. Finally she got a large hammer and hit the hinge bracket retaining pins a few times and the gate decided to work. This boat was a sand barge, and while the lock cycled I had an interesting conversation with the skipper. He's the 11th generation of his family to skipper boats in his family's business, which is the oldest family owned barge company in England.
After he had locked through, the keeper disappeared in her van to chase after the barge and operate the next lock for it, leaving us to wait for her return. Finally she came back and opened up the lock for us. All this had cost us about 2 hours, so we decided not to go all the way to Leeds and only go as far as Woodlesford, where Liz could pick us up.
This morning we did a bit of laundry while the batteries were charging. We will probably be away 3 days so I wanted to leave them topped up.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Tuesday 18th October
Yesterday we moved up through Leeds Lock and into Clarence Dock. Damon kindly came and picked us up to do some provisioning at Morrison's.
I spent the afternoon on the computer waiting for BW to open the winter mooring web site. They finally did go live at about 3.15, but when I tried to book a place the site directed me to a dead end. There should have had an executable button at the end of the confirm details page, but it was missing. A call to BW and yes there was a problem and they were working on it.
To be fair to them they worked late on to fix it and I finally got a call at about 6.30 to say try it now. It worked! and we now have our winter mooring fixed up here in Clarence Dock, right next to The Armouries Museum.
This morning I went into town to find a surgery to renew my repeat prescription, a process which sometimes goes well and sometimes we find as many obstacles as they can place to make it difficult. This was one such place and I had to be quite obstinate to get them to admit that I could register as a temporary patient. The next obstacle is "we don't have any appointments available for 4 days". Luckily I've been told about this one. All surgeries are paid by the government to leave space in the morning for walk in patients and they admitted that if I turn up in the morning I will get an appointment to see a doctor.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Sunday 16th October
A pleasant run today, 13 lock/miles along the Aire & Caulder, all the way into Leeds. We've moored up just below Leeds Lock and will probably move up into Clarence Dock. Tomorrow is supposed to be THE day. BW is supposed to open the winter mooring list and we're hoping to get a place here in Leeds, preferably Clarence Dock so it's fingers crossed.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Saturday 15th October
We had a fine meal last night in The Golden Lion in Ferrybridge, right in the shadow of Ferrybridge A power station.
This morning, under wide and handsome clear skies we set off through Ferrybridge Lock and cruised along The Aire. The banks here are fairly high and wooded giving a tranquil scene. It surprised us that this late in the year there isn't much sign of autumn colours yet.
Arriving at Castleford we found the visitor moorings full, so after using the facilities we moved off and found a place on the opposite bank. I then took a walk into town for a bit of shopping. While there Cath phoned to say that we had moored in someone's long term spot and they wanted it back by 3.00 o'clock. By the time I returned other boats had turned up and we only just managed to squeeze in further down.
If all goes to plan we'll be in Leeds tomorrow afternoon.

Friday, 14 October 2011



Selby Abbey
Friday 14th October
We took a couple of days pottering around Selby. It's a lovely place, with an enormous abbey which looks beautiful. How did a town this size get a building this big ?
Yesterday (Thurs) we left Selby and travelled as far as West Haddlesey where the lock takes you up onto the River Aire. As expected the recent rain had caused the river to rise into the red warning markers so we moored up for the night. I took a walk into the village, but there was nothing there but a few houses. No phone signal, hence no internet either.
This morning the river was down into the amber, and looked much tamer so we cycled the lock and headed up the river. The weather was overcast and cold, but at least it wasn't raining.
Two locks later we rejoined the Aire and Caulder navigation and have travelled as far as Ferrybridge lock where we intend to spend the night. The moorings here are quite good, they are meant to be secure, but someone has pinched the lock. it doesn't look unsafe here though. I took a wander into town this afternoon and investigated one of the local pubs which looks ok, so we intend to eat out tonight.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Monday 10th October
Despite the weather forecast, wet and windy, we decided to move today. We haven't shopped since Doncaster and the larder was getting low.
Dropping through Bank Dole lock took us onto the River Aire. The lock mooring on the river side was very awkwardly placed, making me have to turn around in the stream to pick Cath up and then turn again to head off downstream.
Here the river runs through high flood banks, twisting and turning in a way reminiscent of the upper Thames.
The flat countryside and high banks allow only the dominant features of Kellingley Colliery and Eggborough power station to be seen from the river.
Beal Lock was a lot easier to negotiate as the mooring was well placed, but all the locks had very heavy gates.
West Haddlesey, at the end of the river section presents a flood lock, which the book says is normally open and that caution is needed approaching it as the wind and currant can carry you into the lock wall. We found the gates closed, which gave us a bit of a problem trying to moor up facing downstream. Many boatmen will sympathize with our predicament.
Once through the lock we were on The Selby Canal and it was an easy cruise up to Selby itself. The only interruption was from a stranded boater we came across who had lost his steering control, so we gave him a tow back to his home mooring close by.
We've tied up in Selby basin and hope for better weather tomorrow.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Sunday 9th October
What a windy day! This has been the windiest day I can recall us moving in. Setting off this morning it took a really good shove to get us off the side against the wind. We shared the lock with another boat and they operated the lock for us. We moored on the other side to use the facilities before carrying on.
As we cruised along we were very glad that this waterway is wide. The wind was taking us quite badly, and the waves on the water actually caused us to pitch and roll a bit. When we were caught up by a commercial tug boat it came past us at quite a lick causing even more waves.
Arriving at Bank Dole lock, which drops us down onto the River Aire proper, we took a look at the river and although the water level isn't high we decided not to continue today and have moored up here for the night.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Saturday 8th October,
This morning we set off in light drizzle to do the final 2 lift bridges of the New Junction Canal, but not before starting to watch the England - France rugby match on the tele. We gave up after a while as our team's performance looked pretty dire (this was confirmed by the final score later). At the junction we turned left onto the Aire & Caulder again. The precipitation continued as we plodded along this wide, mostly straight, and boring bit of our canal system. We finally got fed up with the rain and have moored up at Whitley Lock.
The forecast for tomorrow is none too clever either so a decision about moving will be left until then.

Friday, 7 October 2011







Friday 7th October
After an early morning provisioning raid on Tesco we finally shook the dust of Doncaster from our heels. Donny was a good place, plenty to see and do, good shopping and mooring, and, as an added bonus for us, because of our heating failure, we could get power as well. Just to be a bit picky, it could do with an elsan disposal point to make it near perfect.
We bowled along today, in a brisk cool wind with partly cloudy skies. The wind had quite a chilling effect when the sun was hidden, and blew the boat about a bit while mooring for locks or bridges.
We've stopped for the night just after Sykehouse Lock. I transferred some fuel from our barrel stock and reckon we've used about 100 lts in the 3 weeks since filling up at Stanley Ferry. However, on reflection, about a week of that was spent moored up and plugged in, so 2 weeks of running would be more accurate.
The pics I've added are of an aqueduct over the River Don, near the defunct Thorpe Marsh power station, which has huge guillotine gates at either end.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Thursday 6th October
The heating is working again! The trouble was the master overheat stat. This just cuts off the fuel valve, but doesn't give any alarm code and allows the heater to cycle all the way through its start up and then just fail to light because there is no fuel.
Anyway we're back up and running and will finally leave Doncaster tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Tuesday 4th October
We had to move today to empty our loo cassetts as there are no facilities here at Doncaster. It gave us a chance to buy an electric card from the BW people at Long Sandell lock. We've now returned to Doncaster while we make our mind up about the non working Hurricane heater.
We're having trouble with the supplier over this. Diagnosis over the phone is difficult, and their guarantee only seems to cover parts. This means we either take the unit to them, not really an option as it's very awkward and heavy to remove, or pay them an exorbitant fee to come and service it. At least £300. The man who makes the decisions at Calcutt, isn't available and no one knows when he'll come back.
We're back on a mooring at Doncaster and snugly plugged in, so all we do now is wait for more info from Calcutt Boats.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Monday 3rd October
It seems we are doomed to have bad luck with our heaters. The new (ish) Hurricane heater failed yesterday. I've spent several hours trying to diagnose the problem and now reckon that the fuel pressure regulator is the trouble. I've spoken to the supplier and hopefully they will get someone out in the next day or two to sort it out.
After spending another couple of hours diving in the engine compartment trying to fix the heater, Cath and I had a good day out in Doncaster. The museum is quite well done, but the art gallery leaves a lot to be desired.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Saturday 1st October.
Just a few miles and 2 locks today. But not before having to recover one of our life rings from the river. Some charmer must have grabbed it off the roof and just chucked it. Luckily the river is very low and not flowing so the ring hardly went anywhere.
Last night we ate out a very good riverside pub called The Boat. We both enjoyed our meals immensely.
The weather has continued to be gloriously hot, doesn't suit Cath, but I love it.
Once again we're in Doncaster, and we may spend a day or two here again, but nothing is settled.

On another note I see that BW have postponed the date that winter moorings become available for purchase. They originally told us around the 4th of Oct but now it's back to the 17th.
There is a lovely viaduct over the Don which we cruised under. Sad to say that it's disused.



Thursday, 29 September 2011

 Trams in busy central Sheffield
 Visitor mooring in Sheffield

"The straddle" a warehouse built over the canal basin
Over the last couple of days in Sheffield we made good use of the tram system. First taking a trip out to Meadowhall where we met up with Gail and Derek again, this time accompanied by my Aunt Bobbie and Gail's sister Joy who we haven't seen for years. Yesterday I made 2 runs by tram to Hillsborough where there is a Morrisons store, we had to replace the wine those little toads swiped.
This morning we got an early start, leaving the mooring before 8 o'clock in order to reach the top of the lock flight by 9 o'clock. We made it with plenty of time to spare.
Dave, the friendly lock keeper in charge of the flight, had already started to unlock and set up some of the locks ready for us and we were soon on our way.
Cath had been concerned about going down these locks because of our length, but Dave was quite happy with our dimensions and as long as Cath kept it well forward of the cill (sic) we would be ok.
All went like clockwork, we flew down the flight, taking only 3 hours for the 13 locks and 2.5 miles. At Holmes Lock we said farewell to Dave and continued along through Ikles and Rotherham locks finally mooring up above Eastwood lock for the night.
On the way out of Rotherham I spotted a B&Q canalside and after tieing up I took a walk back to it to get some hardware for some of this winter's jobs

Monday, 26 September 2011

Tuesday26th September
We had wonderful day here in Sheffield right up until about 4.00 pm.
In lovely sunshine we wandered into town for a look around. Cath's memories of her home town served well, even though a great deal has changed here. We lunch just outside the Crucible Theatre before going back to the boat. We expected to meet Gail and Derek this evening and go out to eat, but about 2.00 they turned up unexpectedly and we were having a lovely catch up session with them when Cath sensed the boat move and said she thought someone was on board.

I went to back to see a bit of a mess and 3 kids legging it off down the towpath and noticed some wine was missing. I followed, but no chance I could catch them. I stopped a cyclist coming the other way and asked if he'd seen anyone running along with bottles of wine and he said that he'd seen 3 asian lads. I went further and asked some fishermen and they told the same story, so I went back to the boat to see what they'd done. They'd had our 2 way radios and several bottles of wine away.
The utter gaul! while we were on board! It just means that even when we're here we must lock the back doors.
Derek and Gail left us about 5.00 and we arranged to meet up with them and her mother at Meadowhall tomorrow.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Sunday 25th September
Sheffield at last. The day started with a phone call from the Tinsley Flight lock keeper checking we were ready to move to Holmes lock where he would meet us for the ascent.
Arriving at the lock we moored up to wait for the keeper and the other boat to arrive.
About 11 o'clock 'Dun Reet' arrived and we started through the lock. Jorden's lock next, close by is the largest weir on the Don. We then reach the bottom lock of Tinsley Flight and the ascent starts in earnest. The keeper has prepared most of the locks for us in advance, and while some of the gates are very heavy the climb goes quite smoothly.
When we reached the basin it took us a bit of time to find a mooring, but all is well now, we've even got electricity. Derek and Gail are planning to visit us tomorrow night so we look forward to that.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Saturday 24th September
We had a pleasant short journey today. Only going from Swinton to Eastwood Lock, just outside Rotherham. BW recommend this as the safe mooring for Rotherham although it is quite a way outside.
The river we travelled this morning was quite pleasant. To say this is a fairly industrial area, the river is quiet and rural. While some of it is artificial cut, a fair bit of it is still the old river course and winds gently through tree lined banks
We've booked our ascent of The Tinsley Flight for tomorrow afternoon. This is one of the few lock flights where you must have a BW keeper in attendance. Whether it's an armed guard to get us through a rough area, or just to make sure we handle everything right I don't know, but the book doesn't recommend mooring from where we are now until reaching Sheffield Basin. So the locals must be dangerous!!

I've now tried out the new oil change pump and it's great. No more struggling with a hot hand pump, just plug in and turn it on. Now if only I could could get an auto filter changer..........

Friday, 23 September 2011

 Doncaster Minster by night
Humber Princess eases into Mexborough Top Lock
Friday 23rd September
Yesterday I decided that I wanted the oil change pump which I had ordered from ebay and had delivered to our son in Leeds. Having a free bus pass I thought I might as well use it to get to Leeds and pick it up. It's all very well having free bus travel, but it does seem to take a long time. It was over 2 hours and one change to get to Leeds and then a further half hour on the bus in Leeds to get to Bramley. After an enjoyable after noon with Damon I grabbed the stuff I had come for and he ran me to the railway station as I had decided to get a train back to Doncaster, it would be easier.
They seem to have a strange way of doing things on the rails. There were two ways to get back. The fast train, and the slow train. The fast one was twice the price, so I picked the slow one. I was issued with two tickets, one as far as South Emsall and the other from there to Doncaster. It was a through journey with no changes, so why two tickets? It took about 40 minutes, so of course better than the bus. If the fast train was stopping at Doncaster anyway, why was it more expensive? I'll bet someone was paid a lot of money to work that solution out.
After a couple of lovely lazy days at Doncaster we decided to move on again. This morning we set off heading for Swinton. The journey ground to a halt almost straight away. Doncaster Lock refused to work so we had to call BW to sort it out. After about 45 minutes the man turned up and quickly sorted the problem and we were on our way. At Mexborough Top Lock we encountered one of the huge tankers that ply these waters and so had to wait while they cleared the lock before continuing. When we arrived at Waddington Lock BW had just started to carry out some work on the top gates so once again we had to wait while they did their thing.
Finally we were through, and have moored up at a quite spot just up stream from the lock for the night.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Tuesday 20th September
After a couple of days travelling some of the most boring bits of canal we've arrived in Doncaster.
The journey here was through almost entirely featureless, straight navigation. First was the Aire & Caulder (Knottingley and Goole Canal) to Southfield Junction, then south on The New Junction Canal joining onto The River Don Navigation as far as Doncaster.
The views were almost entirely featureless and flat, the only thing worthy of note was watching wind surfers on Southfield Reservoir.
However, the night was a little more exciting. About midnight the boat started to rock and bump the side quite heavily so I got up to see what was going on. I reckoned that it must to a BIG boat passing. Looking down the canal I saw two huge, powerful lights, with navigation lights on either side, approaching us. As I watched, when the the lights were about 600 yds. away they went out, and nothing else happened, he must have moored, so I went back to bed. About 4 o'clock the rocking started in earnest, so once again I got up to see this enormous 600 tonner creeping up to the lift bridge, he stopped, just close enough for a crew member to jump onto the bridge in order to operate it. Quite a feat of driving to do that without nudging the bridge with your 600 tons.
The New Junction Canal is 'blessed' with several lift or swing bridges and one lock to stop us getting too bored.
I've already taken a walk into Doncaster and it looks interesting so we'll spend a day of two here.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

 The sprawling site of Ferrybridge Power Station
Motoring past the power station
Sunday 18th September
Setting off this morning we travelled down the short pound from the flood lock to Bulholme Lock where we rejoin the river. Unusually the lock keeper was in attendance and we didn't have to do a thing.
Back on the river the scene from the water was an initially uninspiring sight of old slag heaps, admittedly landscaping has been done. This soon improved, and we passed close to Fairburn Ings Nature Reserve and the view got better all the time. Passing Ferrybridge Power Station you get a good view of the place, and some idea of its size.
At Ferrybridge Flood Lock the river goes off to the left and we once again are back onto a canalised section. In fact that is the last we will see of the river as the rest of The Aire & Caulder is completely canal.
Just after the flood lock the waterway splits, one way rejoins the river and heads for Selby, but we turned right towards Goole.
Soon we pass an unusual sight for England these days, a coal mine. Kellingley Colliery, I suspect, supplies coal to the 2 local power stations Ferrybridge and Eggborough.
At Eggborough we have moored up for the night, right next to the local railway station.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

 Lock gates being made at Stanley Ferry
 Twin aqueducts over The River Caulder at Stanley Ferry
Lyra moored at Stanley Ferry
Saturday 17th September
Yesterday I took a walk around the mooring here at Stanley Ferry. The BW yard here makes lock gates that are used all over the country. They kindly allowed me to get in and take some pics, one of which is shown above.
I once again I took the bus into Wakefield to do some retail therapy. I was down to only one pair of jeans that didn't have holes in, so I treated myself to a new pair. I also found a DVD copy of the final instalment of  'The Girl' trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest. We've been waiting for it drop in price and at last it has.
Despite the dire predictions of those comedians at the Met Office, who had said it would rain nearly all day, there was hardly a drop all day long. 
Today was going to be similar, but it dawned quite fine so we set off heading once again for Castleford. The rain held off for most of the trip, but as is par for the cours,e the last few minuets when you're mooring up it tipped down.
We've changed our minds again about plans for the next few weeks. The on and off idea of going to Sheffield before mooring up for the winter is once more on again. The trip should take about 7 to 10 days depending on the weather. Most of the trip will be on large canal/river navigations. The last bit of the journey into Sheffield will be through smaller locks, with a maximum length of 60ft, so we'll be a bit tight.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Friday 16th September
We are once again fully topped up with fuel. Thanks to local boaters, who told me of a garage selling gas oil at a reasonable price.
Damon brought the car down yesterday and we did two runs down to the place. At 79.9ppl it's the cheapest fuel we've bought since Wheaton Aston. He then took us out for a bit of provisioning, so the boat is now full of all we need for a while.
The weather yesterday was perfect, but today it's back to normal, grey skies and the promise of rain so we'll stay here and annoy the neighbours while we charge the batteries and do washing.
The forecast for the weekend doesn't appear to be any better but with their record at the met office we'll just wait and see.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Wednesday 14th September
It's Wednesday, and we finally managed to get going again. The wind had at last decided to abate somewhat, so we cast off, turned around and headed for the Wakefield area.
By the way, we have at last seen the big boats that ply these waters. Last night two huge sand barges came past us into the Castleford flood lock. This morning an oil tanker went through. This is a strange looking lock, it's shaped with a large mooring area within it, and the gates are not in a straight line with each other so that these huge barges must actually turn a corner within the lock in order to go through.
The trip to Stanley Ferry, where we have moored up, was marred by frequent showers, but nothing actually torrential. We got here by 12.30 and decided to go the pub for lunch. The Stanley Ferry pub has improved a lot since we were last here 4 years ago and is a pleasant place for a meal.
This afternoon I caught a bus into Wakefield just to have a look at the place. Quite pleasant, large pedestrian areas and what looks like good shopping.

Tomorrow Damon is bringing the car here and I hope we'll be able to go and get some fuel at a garage selling gas oil in Normanton.

Monday, 12 September 2011

 The River Aire at Leeds
 Clarence Dock at night
Going under the M1 near Leeds
Monday 12th September
Our time in Leeds was very good. We did a bit of shopping courtesy of Damon and car, had a meal at Pizza Hut (haven't had one of these for ages) with Daniel, mum and dad as well.
I took myself off to the Leeds Industrial Museum. It's an interesting place, but could be so much more, it needs a lot of investment from the council or the community.
We paid for an extra night in Clarence Dock and on Saturday we cast off and headed down the Aire & Caulder as far as Woodlesford.
The navigation passes through an area of industry, some if it derelict, but mostly modern units. Soon the scenery changes and becomes rural. The river here is commercial, but the chance of passing heavy traffic is almost zero. As we travel further though we come across an oil terminal, the locks get bigger and although this time we don't see one, the last time we were here one of these monsters did come through.
Sunday we continued down the river as far as Castleford. I took a walk into town and was just thinking there was nothing here I turned a corner and found it. Being Sunday a lot of it was shut but it was worth the trip.
Today (Monday), we woke up to find that the weather forecasts had been correct for a change, the wind was howling around so we decided to sit tight for the day.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Thursday 8th September
We attempted to set off for Leeds on Tuesday, but the wind was so bad it made manoeuvring all but impossible, so we settled down for the day.
Wednesday was a bit better so we set off. The wind wasn't too bad but the showers were fairly frequent and heavy at times. By the time we reached Clarence Dock we were well knackered. The end to the saga was, as we went into the dock and I tried to get alongside, the wind whipping around the buildings suddenly caught us and I had to give up and turn the boat around to get another run at it.
This morning I went across to the BW offices and bought an electricity card, so we're now plugged in and that I don't have to run the engine for washing etc.
Tonight we're joining with Damon, Liz and Daniel to go out for a meal.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Dobson's Locks
Monday 5 September
The weather was reported as being a mixed bag with showers, some heavy. Despite that we set off, accompanied by another boat we descended Dobsons Locks and through the following swing bridge. Cath stopped to pick me up after the bridge, complaining about a rattling noise from the engine. Sure enough, there was a very scary noise from the engine compartment so we tied up and I dived into the oily bits for a look-see. Huge sigh of relief when I found the cause was only a pan, which I had under the engine to catch any stray oil drips when doing oil changes. Because the locks here leak so much the water pours onto the back deck and hence into the engine compartment. This caused the pan to start to float and it then moved to point where it touched the front pulley, causing a worrying noise. Just after this we stopped to see if fuel was available at the marina we were passing. After mooring up I went to the office to find that they were shut on Mondays. Ah well.
We carried on and it soon started to rain. And rain, and rain. After about an hour of this we decided to stop and hunker down. We had gotten as far as Rodley, which the BW man said was the best place to stop anyway before the final run into Leeds. They don't recommend stopping from here into Leeds because of vandals and ruffians. What a world, there's never a copper when you need one.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

The imposing sight of Titus Salt's mill
Sunday 4th September
The food at The Fisherman last night was very good, no 3663 menu here, it was made on the premises and it showed.
6 locks and 6 miles today, a staircase of 2, a single, and a staircase of 3. These were liberally strewn with lots of swing bridges just to make sure you don't get lazy. We were accompanied by a hire boat for most of it so life wasn't too bad at all.
Our route took us through Saltaire, a place well worth exploring, but we've seen it a couple of times before so this time we didn't stop.
We're moored up above Dobson's Locks for the night

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Saturday 3rd September
It's a good thing we didn't want an early start this morning. We had intended to set off after 9.00 but when we moved from our overnight  mooring to the facilities area the lock keeper came along and told us that vandals had once again drained one of the pounds and it would be around midday before anyone could move. There are times when you wish there were a few more red-necks around with their brand of rough justice. Just one more rant to my tally.
We waited while the traffic built up and took morning snacks in the adjacent cafe. Some of the boats decided they had better things to do and turned around rather than wait.
Midday came and the lock keeper duly started letting boats down. Although we had been first in the queue there were a couple of hire boats waiting, and they are always on a time budget so we let them go first, we're in no hurry.
After completing both the 5 and 3 rise locks we moored up in Bingley, alongside the Damart factory just to do a bit of shopping. Several people had told us not to moor in Bingley tonight because there was a music festival and it was LOUD, so after that we moved on a short distance to a pub with a good looking menu and we'll eat out tonight.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Looking up Bingley 5 Rise

Friday 2nd September
Another easy day today, but as we prepared to set off this morning one of our mooring pins broke when I tried to pull it out. Luckily we had moored up only about 5 minutes from Puffer Parts, a good chandlery, with a mooring, right on the canal edge. With a new pin on board we then set off.
The first swing bridge was a struggle, but after that there were 3 electric powered bridges, so life got easy. The canal guide reckons that this is the last of the beautiful views. After the Bingley locks the canal is obviously a lot lower in the landscape and the surroundings become more built up and industrial.
We weren't sure if we were going to use the locks today and when we arrived the hand played itself. Some brainless louts had drained the pound below the 3 rise and nothing was moving while BW refilled it.
It's now 4.00pm and traffic has started again so we'll go down tomorrow.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Nice canalside properties at Silsden
Wednesday, Thursday, 31 August 1st September
The year seems to be rushing on at a great pace. Here it is September already, at least the sun is still shining on us today.
Yesterday in Skipton we enjoyed some good weather and had another look around the place, Cath stocked up her medicines at the local quack and I managed to get a new knob end for our tiller after it had been broken off in a fight with a lock wall. I spent about an hour fitting it to the tiller and then got the first coat of varnish on it. I'll get another two on it today if I get myself off my backside.
Our trip today took us along more of this long lockless section of canal. That doesn't mean it's all cruising and no work though. there are lots of swing bridges to operate, although we did have the company of a day boat, crewed by a large group of novices. It was fun watching their antics as they managed the steep learning curve. At least they did share the bridge duties. There were also several work crews out with scoop mounted JCBs doing a great job of dredging. At one of the swing bridges some pratt had parked his car in such a way that the bridge could not be opened and we had to wait for him to return to his vehicle. He was lucky not to get his car damaged by the handle of the bridge in our attempt to swing it.
We've moored out in the country for tonight, lovely views as usual. Tomorrow is Bingley 5 rise and 3 rise staircase locks.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Monday, Tuesday 29, 30th August
The beautiful River Aire at Gargrave
Ducks for company at East Marton
After spending a lovely relaxing day on Sunday we continued our journey towards Leeds. This side of the tunnel the traffic has increased dramatically and we see moving boats frequently, which is good to see.
We travelled as far as Gargrave today, a pleasant village at the head of Airedale. This gives a clue to the fact that the River Aire runs through the village, close to the canal. The river and canal now follow each other to Leeds where the canal drops onto the river to become The Aire and Caulder Navigation.
It soon becomes apparent why there are more boats on this side of the tunnel. The scenery is stunning. the canal winds its way around the hills and every turn reveals a new vista.

At Gargrave we paired up with another boat for the trip to Skipton. There were 3 locks and 5 swing bridges on our route today (Tuesday) and having a partner makes life much easier. Helping at locks, and then at bridges the first boat opens the bridge letting the second go through and then they are first at the next, and so on. The rain held off while we were moving and we managed a good mooring here in Skipton, but it's raining now. Tomorrow doesn't look too bad on the forecast and we intend to spend it here in this tourist trap in the heart of the dales.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, 25,26,27 August
After ploughing on to the bottom of Barrowford Locks we moored up to await the arrival of our guests. They had set off in good time, but as usual the best laid plans and all that. The bank holiday traffic started early and to compound matters the turbo on their car seems to have given up the ghost, and although the car kept going  it made progress slower.
They duly arrived just in time for dinner and we managed to get the car right alongside the boat to make luggage transfer easy. Paul had brought me a modification for the tension adjustment on our Travel Power generator belt that he had made for me. I'll fit the next time the belt needs adjustment.
Friday morning we were up and at 'em, and while Paul started taking the car to the next destination we started up the locks. Before we had reached the top Paul had cycled back to meet us and was already off hunting for geocaches. There is still one, at the bottom of the locks which defies all efforts to find it.
With the climb up the locks we had reached the summit level and soon entered Foulridge Tunnel, a mile long tube, controlled with traffic lights to allow only one way travel. Emerging from the Foulridge end we moored up next to the Cafe Cargo, where we had lunch. A nice place.
Unfortunately the service block here is now permanently disabled, we were told because of an error in re-laying the drains.
Friday night we all piled in to the car and set off to Haworth meet an old friend from our days working at Cauldron Foods. Jamie and his wife Liz made up a party of 6 at a very good restaurant in this small town, more famous for its association with the Bronte sisters. It was good to see him again and it was our first time meeting his wife Liz.
After the great night out we got a slow start this morning (Saturday) and started the long descent into Leeds with the 3 Greenberfield Locks. We then carried on for about 3 miles to East Marton where we will stay tonight and probably all day tomorrow.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Tuesday, Wednesday, 23,24 August
After a lovely quiet night at the out of town mooring (see last entry) we set  off  for Burnley. The weather was lovely as we once again found ourselves enjoying the wonderful views of hills and valleys from our position on the canal.
Here the Leeds & Liverpool winds its way, following the contours of the land in this long, lock-less section. This gives the boater the opportunity to see for miles over the countryside.
Burnley is another of the typical mill towns around here. A lot has been done to try to overcome the effects of the loss of much of its industry, but the low house prices and closed shops still tell of a community with high unemployment.
Despite mooring fairly near to a pub we were not disturbed at all overnight and this morning we set off for Nelson where there is a Morrisons close to the canal, with its own secure mooring. After a short expedition to get essentials for tonight I took a walk into the town. It looks like they are doing a great job of trying to make the place clean and modern. There is much being done and it looks good, but once again the house prices look like a steal if you live anywhere that there are good employment prospects.
We'll stay here tonight and move off late tomorrow to meet Paul and Jacqui at the bottom of Barrowford Locks.

Monday, 22 August 2011

At the bottom of Johnsons Hillock Locks
Sunday, Monday 21,22 August
After early bright sunshine Sunday settled to dull with the occasional show of the bright orb.
Cath set off for a bit of a walk while I started preparing the boat for the day's move. Everything done (or so I thought) I set off in pursuit. After picking her up we continued as far as Botany Bay. Not Australia, of course but an old mill converted to a shopping mall. As we approached I noticed that there was only 1 mooring hook on the hatch cover. Sudden memory flash of intending to pick up the back hook and then not doing it. Ah well, we're only about a mile away, so out comes the bike and I cycle back for it. That'll teach me to be more careful, or will it.
We soon reached Johnson's Hillock Locks, 7 locks raising the canal 65 ft. This is a well kept flight and at the top is a pub, appropriately call 'The Top Lock'. They have a sign outside declaring they have an ice cream parlour and I can resist anything except temptation and ice cream! After using the facilities we move across onto the pub mooring and I dived into a large cone.
After lunch we continued along as far as Riley Green where we've moored up for the night.
Monday started very promising, bright sunshine as we set of towards Blackburn. The canal is strangely lonely with no sign of other moving boats.
As we approached Blackburn it quickly became obvious we were near an industrial town. The amount of rubbish, mostly discarded drinks bottles increased exponentially.
At Burnley Locks we met the first moving boats of the day, a pair heading down to Chorley. They just beat us to the facilities point so we didn't bather to stop as we weren't desperate for them. Continuing on up the flight, 6 locks 54 ft., which takes the canal to over 400 ft high.
Later on we were passing a moored boat when they asked of we had any jump leads. I have so we stopped to try to assist. Unfortunately we didn't succeed because the trouble was with their starter motor, and we couldn't tow them as we were going the wrong way.
We continued on as far as a place called Rishton where there is mooring marked on the map. That was a bit of an over statement. There is only one place, but we've managed to get 2 boats on it with our back end sticking out because of the shallowness of the waters's edge.
Addendum
After being in Rishton for a few hours and been bothered by some local youths pulling on the ropes and jumping on the boat, and then noticing older lads eyeing us up we both decided to move out of town.
A mile or so up the canal we've found a lovely spot with glorious views, so here we'll stay.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

After a great night's sleep (courtesy of all the work yesterday) we set off about nine this morning and in lovely sunshine chugged along the lock free section as far as Chorley.
The canal winds through some beautiful scenery, with views of distant hills and rolling pastures.
At Chorley we moored up and I went into town to raid Morrison's for some provisions. As usual they're doing a great deal on some wines, so I couldn't refuse.
Not long after returning to the boat the sun disappeared and once again the rain started up. Hope it clears up by tomorrow morning.

Friday, 19 August 2011


Paired up for the "Wigan 21"
Last night, while we waited for BW to fill the Wigan pound Malcolm, from nb Bart came around looking to pair up for the flight. I had nearly given up hope of a pair as all the boats I had spoken to were heading the other way at the junction.
This morning we set off with 2 locks to do before the junction and then the "Wigan 21". A 214 ft climb up to the Chorley pound. Having a pair, as usual made the task much less daunting and we made steady progress, only hindered by having to follow another pair who were a bit slower than us, also some of the pounds were very low and both our boats grounded in one of them.
At the top of the flight we moored up for the night and I decided to go looking for a shop because we had run out of wine. I ended up walking all the way back into town! My legs feel shorter!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

High and dry after vandals drain the pound
We set off this morning with the hope of reaching Wigan. We flew along the wide, deep Bridgewater Canal, passing through Leigh where the name changes to Leigh Branch of the Leeds & Liverpool.
Here the canal becomes isolated and passes through sparse, open countryside. there are several 'flashes' here, formed by mining subsidence. In fact the canal had to be built up quite at bit due to this shifting of the ground. You could say it was a victim of its own success because the prime object of the canal was to move the coal which then caused the subsidence.
When we arrived at the first lock, quite close to Wigan, we found several boats waiting. It was all stop! Some charmless nerk(s) had open the sluices and drained the pound where the branch joins the main canal. it looks as if we'll be here at least until morning now while BW try to refill it. We're at least better off than the chap in the boat above. This picture was taken after refilling had started. At 4 o'clock this morning he nearly tipped right over because of his rounded bottom.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Daniel visits us at Piccadilly Village, Manchester

Passing through The Rochdale 9

Nearly finished The Rochdale 9
Monday 15th August
On Saturday evening we decided not to try and get to Castlefields on Sunday but to meet Damon, Liz and Daniel here at Piccadilly Village. This proved to be a good decision as the locks would have taken us a long time and a lot of effort.
They duly arrived, after a slight scare on the motorway when the car started to overheat. They then took us in the car to a Harvester for lunch and afterwards we took a little trip on the boat just to give Daniel a taste of the water life.
When we returned to the village we decided to moor up in the basin, which is all part of the Piccadilly complex, where one of the residents asked if we would like to join them for an afternoon street party. What a great place this is.
This morning we set off to tackle the 9 locks down into Castlefields. When we got to the top lock we found it chained up. A quick call to BW and they told us that it was stopped for maintenance for a couple of hours but someone would come and open it in a few hours.
It only took them about an hour for a BW man to turn up and unlock so we were off. This must be the hardest 9 locks on the system. Several of the pounds are flooded by the water pouring over the gates, so wet feet are the order of the day. The flooding also makes the gates very difficult to open. Because space is limited, some of the locks have an ingenious, if crude, chain mechanism to pull the gates open where there isn't  enough room for  full size beams. We finally made ot to the bottom and are now safely tied up in Castlefields where we will stop at least until Wednesday. I'm looking forward to visiting the Science and Industry Museum where there is an exhibition of custom Harley Davidson bikes.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Saturday 13th August
We've just finished a very hard day. The day began at 6 o'clock this morning and after a quick breakfast we set off. First call was the service block to dump cans and fill with water. Then it was into the thick of it, 18 locks down to the Rochdale Canal.
It was an eventful trip! Several of the paddle gear mechanisms were not working making those locks very slow. Several times we stopped so that I could dive into the weed hatch to remove plastic bags and/or rope from the propeller, while stepping across the boat I stood on one of our plastic folding stools and it collapsed into several pieces sending me sprawling, and last but not least on another occasion I slipped and put a foot in the water.
The last time we were at this junction we had a very disturbed night courtesy of some yobs, but now the area has been re-developed and there are safe 24 hour visitor moorings.
Once we had tied up I went to have a look at the next task. The notorious Rochdale 9. We ascended this flight 4 years ago and it was hard then, but now we are going down which is harder. The water constantly flows over the top gates making opening them extremely difficult or even impossible. Going up you can use the boat to push the gates against the flow but going down you can't.

Damon, Liz and Daniel are visiting us tomorrow and we would like to be down in Castlefield by the time they get here but seeing the state of the locks today I'm not sure we'll make it. Looks like another early start tomorrow.