Friday, 18 December 2015

Hello SonAll Aboard

Well as you can see Richard arrived safely on Wednesday. At the moment we are moored at Tixal Wide for 2 nights before going into Great Haywood Marina tomorrow. Ready to pick up hire car, then off to Plymouth via Lorraine and family in Medmenham
So Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.

Monday, 14 December 2015


Phew can't believe it's been a whole week since I last wrote here. Not much to say really as until Friday we were just retracing from the week before. Was busy washing shopping etc. We are making our way towards Great Hayward. Today was interesting. We worked one lock then were told the next pound was empty. So we moored and looked over the bridge and sure enough the water the other side of the lock was down about 4 foot. So we went into Penkridge for a look around. By the time we had done that and had lunch CRT had let some water through and whilst the water was still low there was enough for us to go through.
Richard arrives on Wednesday, not seen him since January so really looking forward to seeing him. We all then pay Lorraine and family a visit before heading down to Plymouth for Christmas. Not long now. So may not be back on here until the New Year. So just in case we would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Moored at Swindon - no not that one, the one in Staffordshire

At Bratch Locks - see Paul can smile I'm still learning to take selfies!
Took the picture above on Friday. Bratch lock are very unusual. Not quite a staircase of 3 as there is a very short pound between 2 of them. However this isn't big enough to take a boat and you have to work them together. Behind us is the old toll house. Friday and Saturday night we spent in the same spot. However in between we had filled up with water,worked three locks, turned, worked up the same three locks before mooring again. But we did have a good signal for Strictly, so all was good.
Didn't go far yesterday as just ahead of our mooring a tree had fallen across the Canal. Paul rang Canal & River Trust and we were surprised when they said they would send someone. Being Sunday we didn't expect to get moving the same day. Well 2 guys turned up and not only did they manage to move the tree we now have some of it for the fire.
Once all was finished we did move on a short way to Swindon. In the end we haven't moved on today. I have been writing Christmas Cards and the sun is topping up the solar panels. But mainly I think it's because Paul spotted the fish and chip shop for dinner tonight.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Change of plans!

Who knew we had a plan, but it would seem that it is better not to! We won't be making our way to the Ashby Canal after all. Due to the winter stoppages which ever way we look to go there is a closure. With Richard flying into East Midlands Hinckley was a very good place for us to be! So now we are trying to find plan B.

Having lunch in The Oddfellow, need I say more!

At the moment we are on the Stafford and Worcester Canal moored at a place called Compton. We have been to the launderette and now having lunch in the pub. When we got here we realised that we visited in 2013, probably with the washing! But at that time we were heading north. This time it is south, but we may be back again in a few days time.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Coffee in Brewood

We left Gosnall yesterday and the first encounter was a short tunnel which you can see was hewn out of the rock. It is short so we didn't need to use our tunnel light.
Cowley Tunnel
 We stopped for lunch at Wheaton Aston then shortly after moving off there was a lock! First one for days. We were really lucky with a boat coming out as we approached and another waiting as we came out. It doesn't get better than that! Especially as there are not that many boats moving at the moment.
Turnover bridge
On our way to Brewood we passed this turnover bridge. For non boater among you this is where the tow path swaps from one side of the Canal to the other. The bridge was constructed so the horse could cross the Canal without being untethered from the boat. We are moving on later today towards the Staffordshire and Worcester Canal. We think we will be making our way to the Ashby to moor at Hinckley for Christmas.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Gnosall pronounced 'know all'!

Top of Tyrley locks
We spent the weekend in Market Drayton. We did move about half a mile on Saturday filling with water along the way. We walked into the town a few times whilst there. Quite a few shops including Lidl and Argos. Also as always lots of charity shops! So on Monday we moved on working five locks in the afternoon. Now a long lockless stretch ahead.
Yesterdays cruising seemed to be full of seldom seen bird life. First of all 2 mandarin ducks. We see lots of ducks but these beautiful ones are seldom seen. Also a kingfisher and what seemed to be a family of buzzards, with the parents trying to call the young one to them.
Arrived at Gnosall this afternoon. A small village in Staffordshire. Went for a walk to the village. We are now sat by the fire all snug as it is dark.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Now at Market Drayton

In a week we have moved on just 12 miles! Surviving both storms Abigail and Barney. Thankfully we have been tucked up inside when the rain has been really heavy. The wind though has had us rocking. One of our planters did blow over but otherwise everything was fine.
On Saturday we arrived at Hack Green. Place of the Secret Bunker. You can't miss it there are signs everywhere. There used to be RAF Hack Green during the war. Then during the Cold War it became a government control Bunker. Now it is a museum. Very interesting if a bit harrowing at times.
Looking up 9 of the 15 locks at Audlem
We completed all 9 in 2 hours - phew

Canal side building used by blacksmiths, stonemasons
and carpenters to maintain the flight

Another smaller buil

Moving on we have been about 3 days traveling up through Audlem. 15 locks in total and a comms black hole. No phones or internet.
Arrived this afternoon at Market Drayton. Off to explore tomorrow.

Thursday, 12 November 2015


Arrived at Nantwich this morning, currently sat in The Talbot having had a lovely lunch, and chatting to a couple of characterful locals.
Mooring at Nantwich in the sun this morning.
 Just off now to get supplies. We are on a 48 hour mooring so will see what storm Abigail brings with her.

Yesterday at the junction, grey skys.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Shropshire Union

Coming out from the Middlewhich Branch 

We didn't move on Sunday, didn't want to risk loss of TV signal for Downtown and Strictly results. So glad we did as Lorraine was on the results show. She was in London selling poppies in full uniform. A speaking part too! We did move on Monday but not very far as it was pouring with rain. Much better weather since then. So now we are out on to the Shropshire Union and heading south. Next stop Nantwich.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Out on 'The Cut'

Well we are well and truly back out now. We still had Dave's car until Wednesday so on Tuesday we visited Jodrell Bank. Very interesting. All about radio waves and how long they take to travel through space. A very worthwhile visit. We also got stocked up on board, not knowing when we would be close to a big supermarket again.
Lion Salt Works at Marston
Thursday saw us finally leaving Anderton. We didn't travel too far, mooring for the night at Marston. The next morning we visited the Lion Salt Works Museum which is right next to the Canal. It was very interesting and good to learn some history about the area we have been traveling through. We then looked at the winter stoppages and discovered if we didn't get a move on we would be stuck up north for Christmas.
View from our side hatch on Friday evening
This made us decide which way to go, as on Monday the first lock on the Middlewhich arm closes for several weeks. But all is well as we came through there this afternoon. So for the moment we are traveling west until we meet up with the Shropshire Union Canal and start heading southwards.

Monday, 2 November 2015

On the M6!

We have been to the Isle of Wight for the weekend. Traveling down on Friday. Meeting up with Lorraine, Paul and the grandchildren on Saturday. They have a house there. Currently it needs some work, but there is a lot of land. This is the first time we have been, so it was very exciting seeing them and the house.
We did manage to do some sightseeing too. It is many years since we were last on the Island. We stayed in a lovely hotel in Shanklin called The Belmont. Lovely room, excellent breakfast and they are very welcoming.
Currently we are on the M6 toll services. Been a bit foggy today, but not too much further to go. Whilst we have been away hopefully our gear box leak will have been fixed. We have Dave's car again, returning it on Wednesday. So all being well Thursday will see us back 'on the cut'.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Reaching the last lock.

On Saturday we cruised as far as Marsh Lock. This is where the River Weaver joins the Manchester Ship Canal. Mooring for lunch we found TV was good so both of us happy with rugby and Strictly. We decided to stay there Sunday night too.
Marsh Lock Monday morning with sunshine.

We left there this morning with just a short cruise to Sutton Swing Bridge where there are moorings.  We walked into Frodsham. A busy road along the A533. Took us about half hour but found lots more there than we were expecting. Some lovely old buildings including the pub, The Bears Paw, where we had lunch.  Saw this phone box with letter box and at one time there had been stamp machines too.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Heading for Runcorn again

Spent Sunday night at Winsford and were surprised to find a sizable shopping centre at the top of the hill. All we bought tho was coffee and cake! After lunch we started making our way back down the Weaver which leads to Runcorn. Last time we went there we were on the Bridgewater Canal. So this time we will be in a different area. Hoping for tv tomorrow for rugby and of course Strictly!
Passing Anderson Lift yesterday

Getting water this morning at Saltersford Lock before moving on
Yesterday we passed the bottom of the lift, spending the night just below Saltersford Lock. All the locks have keepers so easy life for me. This one we came down in the big lock built for seagoing vessels. Just stopped for lunch so moving on again soon.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

On the River Weaver

Well after a very hectic trip to Plymouth we think we have new tenants just the references to finish then all set to go. We were back on board on Wednesday. Since then we have been quite busy. On Thursday we took the car back to Dave and Dawn in Stockport. After feeding us with bacon sandwiches ( we must look undernourished NOT) Dave dropped us in Stockport where we spent time looking around. Some lovely old buildings and lots of shops. We will have to return at some point if only to visit the Hat Museum.
Anderton Boat Lift, also known as Cathedral of the Canals

On Friday we were joined by Dave and Dawn and their friends Katherine and Robert and we came down the lift on to the River Weaver. Of course after such exertion there was only one thing to do and we retired to the Stanley Arms for a meal. We are now moored as seen below. Northwhich is a lovely little town with several liftable buildings. This is due to nearby salt mining and subsidence. The buildings could be jacked up or even moved if needed.

Moored below Town Swing Bridge at Northwhich

Just one of the many lovely buildings here

Saturday, 3 October 2015


We are now moored at Anderton, in a marina just along from the lift. Will be leaving Falcon here while we make a quick trip to Plymouth to find a new tenant. Then to Bristol for my Auntiie's funeral.
Just before setting off yesterday morning.

One of 3 tunnels
We have been very lucky with the weather, misty mornings followed by sunny days, but unfortunately not today! :-(
Hopefully while we are here we will be having a little work done on the boat, so she will be all ready when we get back!
From Preston Brook to Anderton are 3 tunnels all of which went well. Not so easy was the sharp left bend under bridge 201. Why do bridges and bends always go together. Met a lovely Dutch Barge, followed by another boat! In the end I got off and walked round the bend (yes I know been there a long time already). Paul set off and I ended up stopping the fuel boat. Paul didn't think it was a good time to buy gas!

Wednesday, 30 September 2015


Left Wigan on Friday. We had 3 more locks then that's it. No more until we reach the Trent and Mersey.  A couple of swing bridges then straight on! There was a lot of mining in this area and the groung has subsided so the 3 locks were moved from here, so guess the gates are a marker for them. From this you can see how much gate there is, there is a lot you never see under the water!

Lock gate on dry land! 
Spent a couple of nights in Leigh, some handy shops there and Paul was able to watch the rugby. We then moved on to the Trafford Centre for Sunday night as Cheryl, Paul's niece came to have dinner with us.  On Tuesday we called in at Thorne Marine at Stockton Heath to hava our Boat Safety Scheme check. It has to be done every 4 years. The first for us. Thankfully after buying a couple of new bits we were safely on our way mooring for the night as you see below.

Our mooring last night. Can you spot the cartoon dog tree! Paul spotted it.

Today we have reached the end of the Bridgewater Canal at Runcorn. Sadly it just comes to a dead end and you have to turn and come back! There used to be locks down to the Mersey but that is all filled in now. Although there are hopes to reinstate them sometime. these days they would give a link on to the Manchester Ship Canal. We did walk down and have a look! Tomorrow should see us join the Trent and Mersey making our way south.

Bridgewater House

Friday, 25 September 2015


Arrived at Wigan yesterday after a couple hours cruise. With 3 large locks all full, we were going up, and no other moving boats in sight. Yet more swing bridges but at least some of them were open. Some were even more overgrown than this one!

Been a while since this bridge closed.

Wigan a largish town with a mix of old and new buildings. We found this unusual sculpture.  Moving on again this morning, 3 more locks and the last swing bridge for a while.

It didn't look this scary when we were there.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Heading Back

Our trip out of Liverpool went well. The boat we were sharing the locks with was overheating so we ended up with it tied along side while we towed it up through the 4 Stanley Locks.
Towing up through Stanley Locks

Since then we have been making our way back from whence we came! No locks at the moment but lots of swing bridges!
Last swing bridge for today

Tonight we are moored by a small village called Burscough.  Went for a walk earlier to find there is a Tesco! In the morning we will fill with water before moving on.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Farewell Liverpool

Well we have spent a wonderful week in Liverpool. There is so much to visit and see. Something for everyone.

View from the boat.
 We were lucky to have a tour of the Town Hall, very ornate. Had a drink in the Cavern Club. Visited the Mersey Tunnel, under the road. We also went up the Capital Radio tower to look at the views out over the city.   Dawn and Dave came from Manchester to see us on Monday and took us to Crosby Beach to see 'Another Place', Antony Gormley's figures. There are 100 figures spread across 2 miles of beach. We spent a lovely day together which ended in the Empire Theatre to watch 'Sound of Music'. Excellent show.

On Crosby Beach with Dawn and Dave

8 in the morning. Start of our journey out.

Yesterday we went to a tea dance in Saint George's Hall. Which was a lovely way to finish our week. A time when we ate too much, drank a bit but walked a lot too.
This morning we had to be at Mann Island Lock ready for the trip out. Will spend the night at Litherland and stock up in Tesco.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Liverpool Docks

Well after about 6 ,hours of travel we have arrived safely in Liverpool Docks. Amazing trip in, all very well organised by CRT. Only hic-cup was when one of the swing bridges refused to swing! Still gave us time for coffee. Can see John Lewis from the mooring and lots of shops etc around the Docks. So for the next week we will be busy sightseeing.
Spot the Liver Bird
Well on our way

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Leeds and LIVERPOOL Canal

Only stayed long enough in Wigan to visit the Canal and River Trust offices and pick up our paperwork for the Docks link. There were 5 locks through Wigan so now on the Leeds and LIVERPOOL canal. Only one more lock then it has been flat all the way! Several swing bridges tho so I have still been on and off the boat a bit. Arrived in a small village called Parbold on Friday to find they had a festival there over the weekend so we decided to stay for Saturday. The WI were selling tea and cakes. Being WI you can imagine how lovely the cakes were. We felt it was our duty to partake. In the afternoon there was a dragon parade.
Haskayne Navvy
Met this chap yesterday near the point where the first sod of the Canal was dug.
Today we have arrived at bridge 9 near Aintree. The meeting point for our transit into Liverpool Docks tomorrow.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

On to the Bridgewater Canal

Looking down on the Manchester Ship Canal
 Well we finally got through on to the Bridgewater on Monday.  Then Tuesday found us moored by the Trafford Centre. A huge shopping mall on the outskirts of Manchester. It's built in a Greek style with columns and statues
Just come over the swinging aqueduct over the Manchester Ship Canal
and pictures on the ceiling. Definitely worth a visit, although it would seem that it has killed shopping in nearby towns. We left there yesterday and shortly arrived at the Barton Swing Aqueduct. Amazing looking down on to the ship canal. Apparently the aqueduct can still swing but it doesn't happen often. Today we arrived in Wigan. Less than a week now before we enter Liverpool Docks.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Traveling through Manchester

Manchester Pride Weekend
Had a good day out at Salford Quays on Friday then Saturday we worked the 11 locks back to New Islington to attend their festival on Sunday. Luckily the weather was good. Lots of visitors. There was canoeing, wood carving, Bob's insects and reptiles amongst other things. Today we are making our way back down the 11 locks. Part way through we have stopped for a cuppa. Hope to moor on the Bridgewater Canal tonight. Unfortunately named after the Duke and nowhere near Taunton.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Centre of Manchester

This is where we are moored in Manchester. The tall building is the Hilton Hotel where we had lunch on Wednesday on the 23rd floor. From there we could see falcon. View was amazing. Food good too.

Our view
We arrived here on Wednesday having worked most of the locks on Tuesday, so just one lock and a short cruise on Wed.
We have been exploring all around the city. There are many beautiful buildings. Among them Town Hall, John Rylands Library and a multitude of coffee shops and restaurants. Last night we saw Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Opera House. Another wonderful building. The show was excellent. Today the plan is to visit Salford Quays. Can't get enough water!

Lunch at the Hilton

Amazing show

Sunday, 23 August 2015


Moored in Manchester at New Islington or old Ancoats

Didn't go anywhere on Tuesday in the end as it rained most of the day. Wednesday we got the bus to Bury which went via Hollingsworth Lake so we saw it. A large market at Bury which we enjoyed walking around. Having pie and peas for lunch. Thursday saw us cruise through Rochdale. The canal doesn't go very close to the centre but we did recognise a few landmarks we had seen from the bus.  Friday saw us progress by 3 miles and 11 locks. Yesterday was a long hot day. With a quick shop in Tesco too. We left Chadderton about 8.30 as we knew there was a long day ahead. Apart from being advised not to stop there is nowhere suitable to moor anyway.  So 6 1/4 miles, 18 locks and a lift bridge (thankfully electric) We arrived in Manchester about 7.30.

View from the other side!

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Over the top!

Currently we are moored at Littleborough.  Yesterday saw us over the summit of the Rochdale through the Pennines.  Some stunning scenery, even a zebra in the distance, tho it did have a wooden look about it!  There is even a place nearby called Summit!  And of course a pub, The Summit! 

Last lock going up

Water constantly pouring out from the lock, last lock on the up

11 locks, phew, and all before lunch, which we didn’t have until 3.  Started ok, we stopped for coffee after 2 locks.  As we descended into Littleborough there was a volunteer lockkeeper.  Then word that a boat ahead had gone aground and was working water through. This was to our advantage as they helped us through a couple of locks.  Much more helpful than the lockkeeper unsurprisingly!  Today we are going to visit Hollingworth Lake, a short walk away, which was made to supply water to the summit.  Tomorrow we are going to Bury.  We have been advised by locals it is a much better place to visit than Rochdale.  There are 92 locks on the Rochdale, we are halfway, so only 46 more to go!  That will bring us into Manchester.  We have already visited a couple of times but not yet by boat.

Other side of the summit, first lock going down, we are already moored
 and Paul is making coffee!

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

This is just a quick line to let you all know that we are fine.  Have been back on board since late on Friday.  Dave, Paul’s brother, came back with us which was lovely.  I had help with the locks for a couple of days while we made our way to Hebden Bridge.  If you watched ‘Last Tango in Halifax’ it is where the narrow boat was moored briefly at the end of one season.  Yesterday we got the train into Manchester with him.  We had to make sure he got on the Megga Bus safely, didn’t want him coming back, ha ha/lol.  Then today John Sheerstone and his son Jack came to see us.  John works at Stonehouse, which is how we know him.  Although we make friends along the way it is always good to see people from 'home'.  We are now on the Rochdale Canal.  96 locks in total, so far we have done 11.  Still more enjoyable than a visit to the gym!

Friday, 24 July 2015

End of the Huddersfield.

Byram Arcade Huddersfield

Locomotion Bridge
Well we really have come a long way since the last post, as currently we are in Plymouth for a week or so.  We finally made it to Huddersfield on Thursday which is the end of the Huddersfield Narrow canal and the start of the Huddersfield Broad Canal!  We spent a couple of nights in Huddersfield before working the Locomotion lift bridge and moving on, on Sunday.  We paired up with a boat called, by coincidence, Peregrine.  As it was a broad canal we though we would be able to share the locks.  Well yes they are wide locks but they are short, only suitable for a 57.6ft boat.  We discovered that whilst 2 57ft boats will fit in the lock, you can’t then open the gates when you get to the bottom.  The first lock we did manage, but the second we had to refill and take one boat out and proceed singly.  However after 9 locks we were on the Calder and Hebble, part canal and part river.  These locks seemed a bit bigger so we paired up again.  Cruising to Brighouse with Peregrine and spending 2 nights there.  During the course of this time we have become good friends with Rene and John who are on Peregrine.  It was with some regret that we left them on Tuesday with us heading towards Sowerby Bridge and them turning heading back they way we had come.  So Falcon is safely moored at Shire Cruisers and we are in Plymouth for the next week or so.  Will catch up with as many of you as we can, or back on here in August.
One of the locks we could share with Peregrine

Yes there really is a place called Fall Ing,
But we are going the other way
as we don't want to fall in'