Coal, Diesel, Pumpout, Ropes , Fenders, and Other Boating Consumables to Boats & Canalside Business & Properties. E-mail or Mobile: 07791345004 or 07976811073

Friday, February 11, 2011

Spreading Our Wings and February Schedule

Well with most of the stoppages that effect our regular rounds completed, and the ice gone, we can finally start boating further afield than the Macc and Peak Forest Canals. We have had many loyal customers from Kidsgrove, Middlewich, Nantwich, Anderton and Preston Brook etc as well as on the River Weaver, who we have managed to keep supplied by road over the past few months, but we are really looking forward to supplying you by boat again so see below for our February Schedule.

With the current challenging trading conditions (many customers are having to work to increasingly tight budgets), we  have decided that we need to try and develop the business by expanding our round. Last year we had quite a few requests from boaters on the Bridgewater Canal to trade on there, but Liam Hewitt with Kerry Dainty have started trading (as Longford Canal Services) on the Bridgewater last autumn with NB Ariel and we wish them a sincere "Good Luck" in their new venture. So then we considered trading south of Etruria our current limit on the T&M, but we have heard that another new venture has been established by Viv Scraggs retailing coal from her butty Grimsby, paired with her motor Monarch, based around Fradley. So we also wish Viv the very best of luck also with her new business. It's great to see more fuel boats trading. So back to our plans, we have decided that the most obvious way to extend our Cheshire round is to continue north on the Shroppie from our current limit at Bunbury Staircase, down to Chester and to the end of the line at Ellesmere Port. We have been in discussion with Steve Stamp, Chairman of Ellesmere Port Boat Museum Society, the musuem and the society are very keen to encourage more boaters to visit Ellesmere Port throughout the year. They realise that boaters want more facilities, such as elsan disposal, pumpout as well as diesel and solid fuel. They plan to install elsan disposal facilities and pumpout equipment  at the museum and are keen for us to trade the "Wirral Canal" from Chester to be able to regularly supply fuel to boaters. Our plan is to deliver on this whole Cheshire round on a monthly basis alternating between boat delivery and road delivery (stoppages allowing). Hopefully we can build upon the customer base that we have developed on Altons Easter Runs to Ellesmere Port over many years.

Alton & friends at Elesmere Port Easter Gathering 2009

So if you need supplies and are on our route below please get in touch by phone, text or email, alternatively just look out for us and flag us down!

Alton's Current Schedule

12th - 13th Feb:    Oakgrove (nr Macclesfield) to Marple, Bugsworth & Whaley Bridge
14th -15th Feb:     Whaley Bridge to Kidsgrove
16th - 17th Feb:    Kidsgrove to Middlewich & Nantwich
18th - 19th Feb:    Nantwich to Chester & Ellesmere Port
20th - 21st Feb :   Ellesmere Port to Chester , Middlewich & Anderton
22nd - 23rd Feb:  River Weaver, to Preston Brook (wind), back to Wheelock
24th - 25th Feb:   Wheelock to Etruria (wind), Kidsgrove to Oakgrove (nr Macclesfield)
26th - 27th Feb:   Oakgrove to Marple, Bugsworth & Whaley Bridge
28th Feb:             Whaley Bridge to Oakgrove

Note: We hope to maintain this schedule but it can vary depending on traffic and customer demand, but if possible please call us on 07791345004 to place your order or to check our progress.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

A Firkin Freezin Free Weekend 4th - 6th February

Last weekend we decided to treat ourselves to a weekend off. Apart from rusty old narrowboats our other passion is rusty old cars or to be more specific rusty old Citroen 2CVs. So we got our 1974 Dyane (central in photo) out of the carport and decided to blow it's cobwebs away with a return to the Derbyshire Firkin Flyers 2CV Clubs, Firkin Freezin Camp. This is a traditional. 2CV enthusiasts annual event, which we used to attend many years ago before work got in the way.

We set of late Friday afternoon, going over the tops from Bosley crossroads to Buxton, along the A6 to Matlock then NE to Ashover, where we arrived in the camping field in the pitch dark. The wind was blowing a whooly which made putting up the tent interesting, it's a good job we have a Vango Force Ten. We soon retired to the pub, The Old Poets Corner, which had a great range of real ales including 3 Ashover brewery beers and Titanic stout. We had a lovely meal and a very pleasant evening catching up with friends we hadn't seen for a couple of years and catching up on the gossip.

During the night the wind blew strong and the rain lashed down, but we stayed snug and warm in our sleeping bags. After breakfast we joined the circuitous convoy (via a couple of swollen fords) to eventually arrive at the fascinating Banktop engine on the Cromford and High Peak Railway which transported goods from the Cromford Canal to the Peak Forest Canal at Whaley Bridge.

In the afternoon we visited Arkwright's Mills at Cromford and had a walk along the Cromford Canal (We cannot keep away from the cut for long).

On Saturday evening in the interests of research we tried the other two pubs in Ashover, the Black Swan for a couple of good pints of Bradwell Farmers Blonde and the Crispin Inn for a delicious meal, but mediocre pint (Marston tied). We ended the evening back at the Old Poets for a very sociable evening meeting more 2CV friends old and new.

By Sunday morning the rain had finally eased (but not the wind) we decamped after a coffee and bacon butties (thanks to the brookes clan - we even get brekkie cooked for us away from the round. We started to make our way home but called in at Darley Dale to see if Peak Rail steam trains were running, they were so we spent the afternoon pottering up and down the line beside the swollen River Derwent. We had a very pleasant time riding on the trains before making our way home back over the hills.
Renaissance Canal Carrying - keeping carrying on the canals