Monday, 27 April 2015

Ashton Canal,Lumb Lane bridge & Droylsden Marina.

Hi all,
We left Romiley last Tuesday morning after a quiet night on the Visitor Moorings and made our steady way to the end of the Peak Forest and onto of the Ashton Canal.Since our blog last week things have been a mixture of both relief and surprise for us.The relief was Lumb Lane Bridge 21 at the Eastern end of the Ashton Canal,a mile and a half West of Dukinfield Junction.Ever since we set off up the Macclesfield Canal back in December I have had this particular bridge on my mind.If you look at the Nicholson Guide number 5,North West and Pennines,it advises that Lumb Lane Bridge is very low.Well,I can confirm that it is low but not as low as I had expected,we squeezed through with about 5 inches to spare.It seems that the height of 6 feet,that I had heard mentioned,does in fact apply to the towpath and not the wet bit that we use.I watched a man walking on the tow path and he ducked as he went under the bridge so I cheekily asked him how tall he was and he replied 6 feet 3.The last time I checked our height we were a little over 6 feet high
Just floating under Lumb Lane Bridge,as you can see it's a bit on the low side but we got through ok,you can see the towpath is a bit higher than the canal, it's not the lowest bridge we've been under,that was on the Droitwich Junction Canal.There are a couple more low bridges on the Ashton as you get closer to Manchester and I didn't think they were a lot of different from Lumb Lane.One is new Viaduct Street Bridge 7 and the other is Cambrian Street Bridge 6,you do have to keep your head down through them both.
Now we have the first of the surprises,Droylsden Marina.We knew it was there on the Ashton Canal and we hadn't intended stopping but in the end we were glad that we did,and it all came about as a result of a mix up.Having checked out Lumb Lane Bridge and got through,the intention was to get to Fairfield Junction where the marina is and where there's a Water Point,top up with water,wind and go back to Portland Basin and moor just a little way down the Peak Forest Canal where we've moored in the past,it's not that far.It's never been recommended to moor on the Ashton Canal,historically there have been problems with children. Anyway,when we got to Fairfield Junction I missed the water Point,it wasn't where I expected it to be,and we sailed into the marina.The first person we spoke to as we looked rather vacantly around for the mysterious water point was very friendly and pointed to where we could moor,asking questions over 50 yards of water with the engine running was a bit pointless,so we moored.From then on everyone we spoke to was most helpful and friendly,they showed us the Visitor Moorings and the facilities,there's a Tesco just across the road,and so as a result,we decided to stay,saving us the trip back to Portland Basin.We had three very pleasant nights there and the days were all wall to wall sunshine.Thank you Jane and Tom,we will be back.
While at the marina we had a bit of a wander around the surrounding area and came across a couple of interesting bits,the first was a building below Fairfield Top Lock.Just above the Lock is the Water Point I didn't see by the way.
Fairfield Top Lock,this and the next lock were doubled in 1830 but now the left hand lock acts as a Byewash.Droylsden Marina is top centre,between the houses,on what was once the four and a half mile,eight lock, Hollinwood Branch Canal,sadly,this canal was allowed to become derelict after the 1930's.Look closely and you can see that the water point is on the grey wall to the left of the end of the disused lock after the tree,a little black box.
The Packet Boat House below Fairfield Top Lock.It was built in 1833 and the Ashton Canal Co. kept their Packet Boat moored in it.The Packet boat carried Mail,Passengers and freight on regular services between Ashton,Marple,Stockport and Manchester and the journey to Manchester from Ashton took two and a half hours which isn't bad when you consider that it took Lisa and I nearly five hours.There are 18 locks and they were all against us,I bet the Packet Boat had sufficient crew to work the locks ahead.
Just a few minutes walk along the towpath from the marina is the Fairfield Moravian Settlement which opened in 1785.just at the entrance to the settlement is the statue of a Moravian lady and child with a few books which we believe represents the fact that the Moravians believed strongly in education.The Post Box isn't all it seems though,it looks like a Victorian Penfold Piller Box but it is,in fact,a replica

Inside the Church on the settlement.As we were walking past the church,Phillip,the Minister came out and invited us in to have a look around,unfortunately,I didn't get his surname.
Lisa working the locks at Clayon on the Ashton,you can see Manchester City's Etihad Stadium in the distance.
There's me,see I do try and do my share of working the locks
The Towpath Bridge over the former Stockport Branch Canal.This canal was five miles long and lock free,it opened in 1797 and was officially abandoned in 1962.
OK,a bit of a question for you.This is a pic' of the side of an old warehouse/mill on the side of the Ashton Canal near Ancoats.The middle picture is,I think,Pete Postlethwaite,but who's the one on the left?I'm sure I know his face but can't put a name to it.
There we are,all moored up before it rained.We had glorious sunshine all the way down the 18 locks when we needed it and that's what matters.This is Piccadilly Village just before the end of the canal,the moorings are secure,you need a code to get through the locked gates,so it was a nice safe place to moor.Another surprise was the canal itself,I have to say that the whole of the experience of cruising the canal was good even though the locks were slow.It's nicely looked after for an urban canal and I felt that,had we had too,we could have moored overnight in a number of places,something that only a few years ago,would have been unthinkable.
Approaching Ducie Street Bridge just before the junction with the Rochdale Canal,this was on Sunday morning as we made our way to New Islington Marina for a few days.The marina is just a couple of locks up the Rochdale.
Lock 82 on the Rochdale,through this one and the marina is on the right.Royal Mill is the first big building on the left past the bridge.This was the New Old Mill when it was built in 1912 and renamed Royal Mill in 1942.Just beyond it and even bigger is Old Mill,built in 1798.There have been Cotton Mills on this site since at least the end of 18th Century in what was known as Murrays Mills,a complex of 6 cotten mills built for Adam and George Murray,two brothers from Scotland.It was the largest complex of it's kind in the world at the beginning of the 19th Century
Well,that's it again for this week.we are safely moored in New Islington Marina from where we are going to do a bit more exploring of the fascinating City of Manchester.Since last week we have done 20 Locks and cruised 12 Miles that gives us a Grand Total of 1,139 Locks and 1,811 Miles since we set off in October 2012.Take care everyone.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Peak Forest Canal.

Hi All,
We've finally got away from Bugsworth Basin after the best part of two weeks,and two weeks well spent at that.We're now both fully recovered from all the exotic illnesses we acquired in March,though Lisa had to make another trip to the doctors,this time in Whaley Bridge,just to be sure.Now,we're heading North East along the Peak Forest Canal towards Ashton Under Lyne and the Ashton Canal as we make our way eventually to Manchester.As always we are in no particular hurry so we will take our time and enjoy ourselves,it's something like twenty one miles to Castlefield Basin in Manchester,with forty three locks in between as well so,at the speed we travel,that should take us a week at least.We will keep you up to date as we travel along.
Lisa opening Carr Swing Bridge  just past Furness Vale Marina,the swing bridges are frequently opened & closed so they're pretty easy once you've got the locking pin lifted.

The viaduct that you see as you approach New Mills.It was opened in the 1860's as part of a rail link over the Pennines between the coalfields of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire and the textile mills of Manchester and Lancashire,it also helped the demise of the canals.
Approaching the Swizzels Matlow factory in New Mills just the other side of Thornsett Road Bridge.They've been making Love Hearts and Parma Violets here since the 1940's when the company moved from East London to avoid the Blitz.As you go by the factory you can smell the delicious aroma of sweets being made.

Lisa doing all the hard work again,this time it's Turf Lea Lift Bridge,again,not too bad 'cos it gets opened quite frequently and you wind it up,and down,with a Windlass.

On Saturday we took a short detour off the Peak Forest and nipped down to The Trading Post at Poynton for Diesel.As we passed through Marple on our way back this morning we passed this imposing building,Goyt Mill,built in 1905 for Goyt Spinning Company,it's six stories high with 260,000 square feet of floor space and I've read somewhere it was for sale for £6,000,000 in 2013.
Just after Goyt Mill we spotted this delightful pair,Emily Sande duck and her partner.
Lisa fannying about at the Top Lock of the Marple Flight,you see it's not all work and no play,quite often I have to pry her away from passers by as she answers a multitude of questions.It's amazing how many people are unaware that there was even a canal nearby.

The Side Pound between Lock 16 and Lock 15,very pretty but sadly,badly silted so it has little capacity now.

Chyandour waiting for Lock 13 to fill,Lisa doing her usual.Me,I'm standing on the rope.
Lisa crossing the pound between Lock 9 and Lock 8.

That's it................The last of the 16 locks.It took us around three hours to descend the flight which I thought wasn't too bad considering every lock was against us,some 'cos they have to be left empty,and the Paddle Gear on all the locks was the hardest we've experienced in a long time.They were the first locks we've done since December too so maybe,just maybe,a tad out of practice.
A side picture of Marple Aqueduct,the highest canal aqueduct in England,completed in 1800 it carries the Peak Forest Canal over what was the River Mersey but is now the River Goyt,having been renamed in1896.It's still in the process of being refurbished by Canals & Rivers Trust so we had to wait to get across but that was no big deal,I managed to get a quick pic'.Last time we were here all you could see were trees,it's now so much better

Me steering Chyandour across the aqueduct trying not to hit the wooden shuttering that was waiting for concrete.In the background is the railway viaduct,opened in 1865 and longer than the aqueduct with 12 arches to the aqueducts 3.

Lisa's Captain again as she steers Chyandour through what was Rose Hill Tunnel.Sometime between 1849 and 1888 the roof of Rose Hill Tunnel collapsed,with the damage so extensive it was opened out and turned into a cutting.
Right,that's all there is for this week,tonight we are moored on the Peak Forest Canal where it passes through an area of Stockport called Romiley.Since last week we have passed through 16 Locks and cruised 19 Miles,that gives us a Grand total of 1,119 Locks and 1,799 Miles since we set off back in October 2012.Take care everyone.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Bugsworth Basin.

Hi All,
I've been singing the praises of Bugsworth Basin in the last couple of blogs as we've tried to bring our journey up to date so here is a bit of a description and a few pic's.We've been here a week now as we've recuperated from the nasty little infection we caught in the last few days of our stay in Corralejo and we're both much better now thank you.Being on a boat here in Bugsworth is good 'cos,as I've said before,just about everything we need is here,there's all the boat services,there's shops and there's a pub.First of all though I want to mention Brian and Anne Marie on Coalboat Alton.Who are they you may ask?Well,they're probably the hardest working couple I've ever met.Yesterday while we were experiencing some of the more unpleasant weather that the UK can provide,it was windy and it was lashing down,into the basin came the pair of them,on their boat,delivering coal,gas & diesel to all us boaters who decide not to bother moving when the weather isn't so good.They work as much as 15 hours a day in all weathers,when the canal is frozen or there's a stoppage they deliver by van,when water levels are down they drag,push or pole their boat past the obstruction.They're so reliable it's unbelievable,they're like clockwork.I want to buy something from them even when we don't need it just to say thank you for all the effort they put into looking after the rest of us.
Coalboat Alton outside Lyme View Marina on the Macclesfield canal while we were in Corralejo.I borrowed this picture from Brian's Facebook page,I hope he wont mind.

That's Chyandour,moored between The Wide and the Lower Basin Arm at Bugsworth.
The basin here is the South East terminus of the Peak Forest canal which was first completed to Marple in 1800 and then in 1804 the Upper Peak Forest was opened when the 16 Locks at Marple were finished.After that it was possible get by boat from here to the Ashton Canal at Dukinfield Junction near Ashton Under Lyne and then from there down into Manchester and the rest of the UK.Tramways brought Limestone and Gritstone ( a hard Sandstone used in building ) six and a half miles down to the basin from the quarries at Doveholes where it was either loaded into boats for the journey to the rest of the UK,or,in the case of some of the Limestone,into Lime Kilns where it was heated and turned into Quicklime.Lime being a major ingredient in a lot of building materials as well as being used for agriculture and in the chemical industry.
On the centre right of the pic there is what's left of the Gnat Hole ( West )  Limekilns,they collapsed before the beginning of the 20th Century and were never repaired.The arch to the left goes over the Middle Basin Arm where there were 11 Limekilns,8 New Road and 3 Navigation,and a Lime shed for storage
 There were as many as 19 Limekilns around Bugsworth Basin,some before the canal was built,most have gone,just bits of Gnat Hole East and West and a little bit of New Road Kilns are left.The original Navigation Kilns are no more.
Gnat Hole ( East ) Limekilns on the Middle Basin

The Lower Basin with it's usual collection of boats.We find this basin to be a bit noisy from the Black Brook that runs alongside over some weirs.The tv signal and internet aren't that good either.
Our Neighbour across the way,she's been on there for nearly a week but we haven't been able to see if she has any eggs yet.
I very nearly posted this blog with one serious omission.As far as I can recall I've never posted a blog without some mention of a pub and I nearly forgot to add the bit about The Navigation here in Bugsworth.
Last Thursday morning while we were pottering about,two faces appeared outside Chyandour,they were the faces of Richard and Sharron off NB Oakapple who we hadn't seen since Hack Green on the Shroppie last October.Well,we decided to meet up later in the Navigation to catch up and as the evening wore on,there was a quiz,totaly unexpected.Anyway,accompanied by another round of drinks we entered the quiz and much to our surprise,we came second,hows that then?I will add that there were more than two teams for any doubting Thomas's.A good night was had by us all and we waved Richard and Sharron off on their travels the next morning.
 Well,that's me just about blogged out now.Three blogs in three days and I'm running out of ideas so I'll post this and call it a day till next week.We haven't moved since our last Grand Total so there is nothing to add to that.Take care everyone.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Welcome Back I hear you say. ( Part Two ) !!!

Hi All,
Before I continue with this blog there are a couple of omissions I need to put right.In Part One I forgot a few important people,they are Niamh and Jill,who work so hard behind the bar at the Blue Rock,and Dave ,Jills partner.I think I have everyone now,forgive me if not.
OK,having landed back in Manchester on the 6th of February we were already looking at going back to Corralejo soon.Having had such a brilliant time the sensible thing to do would be to get away from the cold and damp of the UK while we could.Neither Lisa or I had ever thought we would leave our beloved boat for so long and here we were considering it for the second time in a matter of weeks.We'd enquired about apartments and looked at flights before we had left Fuerteventura so it was just a matter of deciding if and when we should do it.We had a car booked with Enterprise at the Car Rental Village for when our plane touched down and Rob and Suzie were waiting for us at Lyme View,they'd lit the stove to warm Chyandour up and cooked a meal to warm us up,that's what friends are for.
The view from the bows of Chyandour over Lyme View Marina.Would you really want to spend three months looking at this?
After a couple of days getting Chyandour back to normal,we set off back down to Wimborne to see Gordon,sadly his condition had deteriorated and it was now just a matter of time.We spent a  few days with him and he'd retained his sense of humour but Lisa knew it would be unlikely we would see him again.By this time we had booked an apartment and flights back to Fuerteventura but we promised to go back to Wimborne on our return.
We got back to Lyme View and Chyandour on the 12th. of March and spent the following week visiting parts of the local area with Rob and Suzie,such as Poynton and Stockport,Lyme Park again and the local pubs.The sacrifices we make.Xzena and our Grandchildren paid us a visit and a good time was had by all,then,before we knew it,we were packing to go back to Corralejo for another month.
This time would be a bit different though,our apartment was nearer to the old town of Corralejo for one thing,we were familiar with the local bus services so getting about would be more fun and,of course,we knew more places and people than on our first visit.I'd had my phone unlocked so I could use a local Sim Card for phone calls and data.Calls to the UK being cheaper on a Spanish card.
As expected we had a great time on our second visit,the weather being somewhat better.It hadn't been cold by UK standards on our first visit but it had been cloudier and the locals considered it cold.Believe me when I say,20 degrees is not cold at any time,let alone in January.We did the usual things like walking on the beach and sunbathing,walked over the Volcano again,sampled the odd beer or two and enjoyed some lovely local food.Some of the people who we had met on our first visit would leave this time but everyone promised to keep in touch and I'm sure a lot of us will meet up again.One final thing about Corralejo,we enjoyed it so much that we are going back in January next year,for three months,to see if we like being away from Chyandour for so long.The apartment is booked,just the flights to sort out now.
Lisa and Val on the day we went,not to Bangor,but El Cotillo instead

The Lime Kilns at El Cotillo
Entering the little harbour at Playa Blanca,Lanzarote

Lisa,Val,Geraldine and Richard outside the bar on Lobos.

One of the fish that Pete caught off the end of the pier on Lobos.We caught some beautiful fish but this one was the ugliest and most aggressive.It's mouth was so big it could have swallowed itself.No comments about it's gender please.

The Blue Rock Ramblers on the outskirts of Lajares after their epic stroll from Corralejo,some 14 K's

A celebration in the bar in Lajares
It was Carnival Week in Corralejo on our last week,here are a few pic's from the dozens I took

The Blue Rock Ramblers Steering Committee.

Jules and Claire,the proprietors of the Blue Rock.This was for the last night of the Carnival.Jules is the tall one.
We got back to Manchester on the 23rd March,a hire car was again waiting and this time it was my turn to light the stoves on Swamp Frogs and Chyandour,we spent one night aboard and went back down to Wimborne.Sadly,Gordon was no longer with us so Lisa Spent a couple of days with her sister before we returned to Lyme View.By now both Lisa and I were feeling somewhat under the weather and Lisa was so bad we had to find a doctor for her.Fortunately the first one we asked in Poynton was willing to see her and prescribed Antibiotics.Both of us are getting along fine now but we needed the relaxing time here in Bugsworth to help our recovery.
For Easter we had Lisa's other sister,Heather,and her husband Steve visit us on The Peak Forest and we managed a bit of cruising but it wasn't one of the better times we've had with them,being full of cold etc.took the edge off things a bit.We did manage to get to the Aston Engine Museum at Poynton on Easter Sunday though and they had some of the engines running which is something I didn't think I would see for a while yet.They only run once a month.

Two of the exhibits at the Anson Engine Museum.Beautiful,aren't they?
 We said goodbye to Heather and Steve on Easter Monday and moored here at Bugsworth where we intend to stay another week.
Well,that just about brings us up to last weekend so I will close this blog,we'll have more boaty stuff in our next blog.Since December we have gone through 47 Locks and covered 99 Miles,giving us a Grand Total of,1103 Locks and 1780 Miles since we set off in October 2012.Take Care everyone.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Welcome back I hear you say !!!! ( Part One )

Hi All,
Yes we're back and hopefully we'll be here on a more regular basis than of late.This week I will try to bring everything up to date since our last blog back in December.
We're currently moored in Bugsworth Basin at the end of the Peak Forest Canal,we've been here a week and we're staying for another week because the Peak Forest is currently closed and will be till Friday.For a small donation to Bugsworth Basin Heritage Trust it's possible to overstay the usual CRT mooring restrictions. We're using our time here to continue our recuperation from some nasty Flu like illness we both came back to the UK with in March.It's good here in Bugsworth,there's a Tesco and a few shops at Whaley Bridge,which is just a short walk along the towpath,there's all the boaty facilities we want just a few yards away and,of course,there's The Navigation Inn.What more could any boater want ? Neither of us feels much like drinking just now though,this flu thing sure knocked us both about.
Leaving Wheelock on a cold and frosty morning in December and heading up the Cheshire Locks on the T&M.

Waiting our turn at Hall Green Lock on the Macclesfield.Swamp Frogs in front on the water point.
Since December we've really been about quite a bit.We left Nantwich at the beginning of the month and slowly made our way along the Middlewich Branch,right onto the T&M and then right again at Hardings Wood,onto the Macclesfield canal where we had booked moorings in Lyme View Marina for the New Year.Heading up the T&M at Crows Nest Lock,near Sandbach,I managed to fall into the canal for the very first time ever and it wasn't a pleasant experience,in fact it's taken something like four months to get my back to how it was before.It was my own fault and I wont bore you with it,if you're a friend on Facebook you'll have got the gory details at the time anyway.We were with Rob and Suzie off Swamp Frogs again by this time and together we had a great journey up to Higher Poynton where we planned to meet up with Lorraine and Mark off  The Mad Hatter,Lisa and I hadn't seen them since Alrewas last year and a good few beers where consumed in the Boars Head when we arrived.Congratulations Mark on your award from RCR,you deserve it.
Rob doing a few running repairs to the front Button as we head up the T&M
Suzie the Lockie on the Bosley Flight.
December also came with some bad news,Lisa's Brother in Law,Gordon,was diagnosed with cancer so we hired a car from good old Enterprise and went down to Wimborne to see him,sadly things didn't look too good but there was still cause for optimism.We came back for Christmas which we spent with Rob and Suzie here in Bugsworth and had a wonderful time,another Christmas to fondly remember,rounded off by snow on Boxing Day.We moved back to nearer Lyme View for New Year,because the ice was beginning to form overnight on the cut,stopping at High Lane with it's choice of pubs and had a great New Years Eve with Rob and Suzie in the Horse Shoe Inn.That brought December and 2014 to a close,a great year with just the odd sad bit,what more can you ask for ?
Christmas on Chyandour.

A walk through Lyme Park on a winters day.
January was the month that would bring another mixture for us.The pain in my back from my fall last month got so bad I couldn't walk to the pub on the Saturday night,but that proved to be the low point and thankfully things started to improve from then on. January also brought another couple of firsts for us as we moored in Lyme View Marina,from where we would leave our boat and the UK to explore somewhere else,this time it would be Fuerteventura.Our friends Pete and Val off Tadpole 2 go out there every year for the winter and during our travels together through the summer the possibility of Lisa and I going out there was discussed.We decided that as neither of us had been there before,though just about everyone we knew had, a month would be long enough to see if we liked it so,on the 9th of January we flew out of Manchester terminal 3.
Val & Pete from Tadpole 2 with Lisa on the day we went to Puerto del Rosario
The view from our apartment in Corralejo.
The Volcano outside Corralejo viewed from the Bell Tower at the El Campanario Centre.
 We stayed in Corralejo and had a wonderful time,thanks to Val and Pete we met some great people,if I miss anyone please forgive me,it's not intentional.There was Jules and Claire who ran The Blue Rock Bar where we enjoyed the odd drink or two and some great laughs,Richard and Geraldine from Kirkaldy,a lovely couple with whom we enjoyed a number of meals .One of Richards hobbies is Marathon Running and thanks to his training runs he found us a relatively easy route up onto and over the volcano that dominates Corralejo.That was a first for a few of us,particularly the embryonic Blue Rock Ramblers.Then there was the Chillies from Leeds,Dianne and John,another amazing interesting couple who had me crying with laughter on more than one occasion.Gazza and Tommy Two Doors,both of them are from around the Manchester area.Keith and Janey from Southampton,Eileen from Liverpool,Hildegard from Germany/Ireland,Yvonne and Danny from Ilkeston who so kindly lent us their spare room for a couple of nights.Eddie and Nancy from Birmingham,Howard and Jean and many others both British and Spanish.Finally it would be wrong of me not to mention Chris and Eileen from Coralejo or Nigel from Alderney who also helped make our stay on the island so special.
On the Glass Bottom Boat for a days fishing on the island of Lobos.Well,fishing for Nigel,Pete & John.Richard & I were going for a walk around the island.
The fishing village on Lobos,the only inhabited bit of the island.
The Blue Rock Ramblers in the early days at the top of the volcano.From LtoR we have John,Val.Lisa,Geraldine,Dianne,Pete at the back,Yvonne,Janey & Richard and there's a couple off the photo'.

From the top overlooking Corralejo with Lobos in the background

We flew back from Fuerteventura on the 6th of February,landing in Manchester to a cold wet British winters afternoon.
(To be Continued)