Thursday, 10 May 2018

Bank Holiday 'fun in the sun'

We really enjoyed the May Bank Holiday and the weather certainly helped!

We went on a short cruise from Standish to just before Bridge 74 on the Leeds & Liverpool mooring not far from 'Fredericks' ice cream parlour.

It was so lovely to see lots of cute ducklings and newly hatched Canadian geese goslings.



Duxbury Park and Woods are just a short walk from bridge 74.  We enjoyed a leisurely stroll around the grounds and came across the a memorial erected by Susan Standish in 1870 in remembrance of her dog Bevis with the inscription:

All ye who wander through these peaceful glades,
Listening to the Yarrow’s rippling waves,
Pause and bestow a tributary tear.
The bones of faithful Bevis slumber here.”
 








On the return journey stayed overnight just outside Adlington  and enjoyed (as always) an indian  take way from 'Adlington Spice'

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Plank Lane to Top Lock Wigan - Leeds & Liverpool

We moored on the offside just before Plank Lane lift Bridge and completed a circular walk stopping for a pint in the 'Nevison' (a quirky cosy pub just 400 yards down the road from the lift bridge).

Cosy in the Nevison Pub 
The following day we waited until 9.45am  to go through Plank Lane lift bridge as you are unable to use it during rush hour due to the volume of traffic.  A newly built marina is next to the bridge and boats are already moored here with new houses under construction surrounding it. 

On route to Wigan we stopped off at Leigh for provisions (a handy Aldi is next to the canal with mooring rings).

We then moored at the bottom of the Wigan flight in anticipation of the ascent the following day.  Due to water shortages, CRT are only opening the locks from 8am to 9am and for exiting the locks from 2.00pm to 3pm.

Damaged lock gates
At 8am we set off, luckily we shared the locks with another boat, 'Moongazer' with a crew of three once we had tied the boats together.
  It went really smoothly and we all worked really well together.  Approximately half way up the flight CRT assisted us through one lock as the bottom gates were damaged  due to an over zealous boater the previous week.  We completed it in 4 hours!!! a new record and to celebrate, we all enjoyed a well earned pint or two at the Kirkless Hall pub.

......Another summer has come to an end, we have had an enjoyable trip on the Llangollen canal.   We extend our thanks to family and friends who have kindly ferried us about and who have also joined us for some wonderful times over the summer.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Trent & Mersey and Bridgewater Canal

Over the last couple of weeks,we have cruised the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal, onto the Trent and Mersey for a short while and onto the Bridgewater Canal on our return journey.
The Penny Black - Northwich 
  We have taken our time and enjoyed visiting some lovely places on the way:

A 30 minute walk from the Lion Salt Works moorings  on the Trent and Mersey Canal takes you into Northwich, a small town but caters for all ,with plenty of supermarkets, shops, bars and cafes.

We enjoyed a cuppa and cake in the Wetherspoons pub 'The Penny Black' the building was purpose built in 1914, as the town’s main post office. When it was built, it was the town’s ‘largest liftable building’. It is a timber-framed structure that was used in Northwich so that they can be jacked back into position, following subsidence. 

Pegasus Crossing (pelican crossing for horses)

Whilst on the Bridgewater Canal We moored at Moorefield Bridge and walked to Daresbury village.  We were fascinated to see a 'Pegasus Crossing', specifically for horses.  The village was in preparation for the annual 'Creamfields' festival.  Daresbury is the birthplace of Lewis Carroll, there is a really interesting information centre about him attached to 'All Saints Church.'   Even the local school had a weather vane with Alice in Wonderland characters, well worth the visit.

We also moored at Pickering Bridge (19) and had a walk on the Transpennine Trail to the Manchester Ship Canal to see 'Latchford Locks'.

Latchford Locks 
  The locks are huge.  The large lock was built for ocean-going vessels and a smaller lock to its south for coasters, tugs and barges.
Deer Park  - Dunham Massey 
We enjoyed a delicious meal (early bird menu Sunday to Friday until 7pm) at 'Flavours', a Turkish restaurant in Lymm which  we can certainly recommend .





Whilst moored near Little Bollington, we visited Dunham Massey Deer Park.  The Deer were absolutely gorgeous, you could get so close to them.   








The weather has significantly improved over the last few days and we have enjoyed some sunshine.

Nugget enjoying the sun
 
Outskirts of Sale









  

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Return journey on the Llangollen Canal and overview

Over the last week we have thoroughly enjoyed our return journey on the Llangollen Canal with many highlights on the way.
Llangollen Basin
We had a terrific few days with friends who stayed on the Camping @ the boathouse site, which we would thoroughly recommend if you are having friends visiting, as Chirk Marina is next to the campsite and offers visitors moorings at £7 per night.  Also the meals at the Boathouse pub are very nice; however access to the pub is difficult as it is on the offside unless you are moored at the marina.


We moored just before bridge 50 (Hampton Park).  The moorings are wide here, so ideal for barbeques and sitting out, which was great as Natalie joined us for lunch and thankfully the weather permitted us to sit out.

Field of corn on the cobs
   
After the Grindley Brook locks, we went on a walk which took you through an enormous field full of corn on the cobs!


We stopped off at Marbury, (top of bridge 23, Marbury Lock).  It is well worth the 15 minute walk into the village to see the impressive St Michael's Church which overlooks the beautiful Little Mere.  The pulpit is the oldest in Cheshire and there were some really interesting plaques at the back of the church dating back to the 1700's with transcripts of wills showing legacies left to those in need.


There is a useful Spa shop at Wrenbury which is only a 5 minute walk from bridge 19.

All in all, we have had  lovely time on the Llangollen Canal. The weather has been a mixture of sunshine, wind and showers, however this has not stopped us doing all we wanted to do.
St Michaels church - Marbury

Several people advised us not to venture on the Llangollen during the school holidays as it is too busy, however we have always managed to find a mooring and the only really busy areas were Trevor Basin, and Llangollen itself.

It is a beautiful Canal and many many thanks go to the Shropshire Union Canal Society for the wonderful moorings and seats along the way.

  

Friday, 11 August 2017

Llangollen

We took the narrow, winding canal through to Llangollen for a couple of days.
Llangollen motorcycle Festival
Although it is only 4 miles, it took us approximately 3 hours!  At times you have to  check if another boat is coming in the opposite direction as there isn't the room for two boats to pass.  It is lovely and scenic but you have to concentrate the whole length due to the depth of the canal in places and other boaters.   The moorings in Llangollen basin are lovely and there are plenty (maximum stay 48 hours).      The Llangollen motorcycle festival was in full flow when we arrived.  We had a walk to horseshoe falls, where the canal begins its life, passing the horse drawn trip boat on the way.    Llangollen canal is a bustling tourist town with many shops and attractions.
Ruins of Dinas Bran Castle
Whilst we were moored in the basin we also walked up to the ruins of Dinas Bran Castle, a medieval fortress abandoned in 1277.  There are amazing views from the top, well worth the hike and a slight diversion due to Nugget!

It was lovely to see Martin and Andrea who joined us for the return journey to Trevor Basin.  After previous failed attempts by Helen and Chris, and with Martin and Andrea's support, we 'enjoyed' the complete walk across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.  Thanks to Martin, we also had a drive up the Horseshoe Pass - truly amazing views from the top and a lovely calm sunny day.
    
      

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Chirk and Pontcysyllte Aqueducts!

Thursday 3 August -
 Giving us a little practise before the 'big one', our journey took us over Chirk Aqueduct which runs parallel to a railway viaduct. Once you leave the aqueduct, you enter Chirk Tunnel.  You have to ensure there are no boats coming through in the opposite direction through both Chirk and Whitehouse Tunnel before entering. We moored up outside  Chirk Marina which is useful as it has Elsan facilities (£2) and they have overnight mooring facilities if required. 


Friday  4 August -
 They day dawned bright and breezy and after cruising for about 45 minutes, passing through Whitehouse Tunnel and a single lift bridge, there is a sharp bend and then lo and behold, the canal disappears into the sky!

Yes, we have reached the engineering marvel that is the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. Nervous anticipation - but its too late as you navigate across the 1000ft narrow trough of iron plates.  Hold on tight as there is absolutely nothing between you and the 126ft drop to the River Dee running beneath the aqueduct.



The aqueduct was constructed 1795 - 1805.  There are limited but delightful moorings in Trevor Basin, plenty to explore where there is a visitors centre, café and pub . A 15-20 minute walk takes you to the village of Cefn- Mawr. Visit the old high street for a glimpse back in time. 
There is a large Tesco on the outskirts of the town.