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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Run to the Port - Part 5

We had the luxury of a sleep in until 7 on Wednesday morning as we couldn't wake our first customers on the Middlewich Branch up too early! The sun shone brightly as we made our way across to Barbridge Junction, the queues at Church Minshull & Cholmesdon Locks weren't too bad as most of the traffic was coming the other way.

At the Junction we turned left and down to Hurleston Junction, where at hNBOC's request we tried Alton for size in the bottom lock. On our first attempt without any struggling we got most of the boat into the chamber & were only a foot or so from being able to shut the gates. We didn't try any further, but plan to have a more serious go latter in the year. We carried on down to Nantwich, with every other boat shouting "your going the wrong way!" In Nantwich our first customers were the hotelboats Oak & Ash, who always like to support us when we meet. We winded a mile past Nantwich & served more customers on the way back. We stopped for more customers at Calveley and George & Irene passed on the tug Sandbach. By the time we reached Bunbury they had the staircase lock set so we buttied down the rest of the wide locks with Sandbach before tying up for the night at the Shady Oak. Just as it was getting dark we heard a boat coming through the lock and who should come alongside but our friends Tom Hill & James Bill on the fuel boat Archimedies. They had come up all the way from London & we were very surprised to see them. Ann Marie & Irene got out the wine on board Sandbach, whilst the lads headed to the Pub.

After a late night in the pub, we where up a 5 and Alton and Archimedies had sa lovely run through the dawn mist to Christleton where we were re-loading with diesel. After a bit of a wait for the tanker we continued down the locks into Chester. Arriving at Tower Wharf we where greeted by an impressive line up of dozens of boats. We tied up on the outside of Skylark, just leaving a 10' gap for passing traffic to get through.

There was a great atmosphere in Chester with everyone milling around and enjoying the sunshine. Brian sat in the shade of the trees busily splicing rope for orders whist watching more boats arrived. We then had a leisurely evening drinking & nattering.

For the final run in from Chester to Ellesmere Port we were joined by our friend Alex (NB Witchcraft & Bewitched). We dieseled up a few boats and then set off for Chester about 9am. We had a reasonable run down to the Port, just picking up 2 bladefuls and scrapping our way through a couple of Bridgeholes. We arrived at the Port about Noon and where soon tied up opposite the entrance at a handy spot where customers can get to us.

So after a good trip down, were looking forward to an enjoyable long weekend here at the Port.
Renaissance Canal Carrying - keeping carrying on the canals

Friday, April 22, 2011

Alex on Alton's Tiller, steering from Chester to the Port

Renaissance Canal Carrying - keeping carrying on the canals

Tower Wharf Chester

Renaissance Canal Carrying - keeping carrying on the canals

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Skylark & Alton tied up at Middlewich

Renaissance Canal Carrying - keeping carrying on the canals

Run to the Port - Part 4

After leaving Middlewich we continued north up the T&M with plenty of stops for customers. Quite a few people were stocking up on supplies before setting out on big summer trips.

We carried on up to near Dutton to wind before mooring up for the night at Acton Bridge. We decided to treat ourselves to a meal out so retired to the Leigh Arms, where we had a pleasant evening and a good meal.

It was Brian's turn to get up early this morning and he was up & boating by 6am. We had a good run back to Anderton and were at the left by 8am. We then had a 2 hour wait, getting the first passage down at 10am.

Once out on the river, we headed up stream first for deliveries in Northwich town & Hunts Lock. Approaching Town Bridge we found a BW tug and barge waiting for the bridge to be swung, which it soon was. The tug & barge then chased us down the river overtaking us after Hayhurst Bridge (which we saw being swung also). On arriving at Saltersford lock we found the BW boats tied up in the lock so we tied up alongside. The crew where over with Bryn the lock keeper having a brew.

Once the Saltersford we continued down river to our customers at Acton Bridge, before winding and making our way back up to the lift. We managed to get the last passage up & were back up on the canal by 4pm.

The journey back to Middlewich was fairly uneventful bar stopping for a few customers, including our old friends Roy & Mel on NB India. Where we heard that Roy had recently fallen in the cut & now had to wear his safety instruction T-shirt at all times (photo to follow). We finally tied up in Middlewich after dark & joined our friends Rupert, Alison & Peter for a drink in the backcabin of their boat Skylark.
Renaissance Canal Carrying - keeping carrying on the canals

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Roy's New T-shirt!

Renaissance Canal Carrying - keeping carrying on the canals

Boating at Dawn on the T&M at Acton Bridge

Renaissance Canal Carrying - keeping carrying on the canals

Monday, April 18, 2011

Phil our Bosley Lockwheeler

Renaissance Canal Carrying - keeping carrying on the canals

Run to the Port - Part 3

We set of from Oakgrove about 7.30am and were met at Bosley Top by Phil (NB Aurora) who lockwheeled for us down the flight. We sat down on something in lock 3, so partly refilled the lock, brought Alton back, dropped her down again, opened the gates and flushed her out. It was a lovely sunny morning and we met a few boats coming up. We had a fairly good run down and the locks & were ready for a cuppa by the time we reached the bottom. Thanks for your help Phil.

The sun continued to shine & we had a steady supply of customers. At Hardingswood Jn we turned left & into the top lock. Here the pub was heaving with Stokiees watching the match, they were in a very merry mood! A couple of inquisitive but polite kids helped us work the lock.

We set off down the hill, stopping for a few more customers around Red Bull. As usual nearly all the locks were set against us! We plodded on & reached the Romping Donkey before dusk, so we decided to keep on going. We finally tied up for the night above "Gordon's 2" at Wheelock about 10pm and nipped down to the Commercial for a well earned pint before bed.

We set off at 7am, stopping for a shower at Wheelock Services and then brekkie on the go. We stopped for our first customers at Crows Nest Farm, where Connie & Robert (NB Thius) gave us some fresh eggs from their hens, thanks guys.

We've now made our way down to Middlewich but get here too early for fish & chips for lunch so it's off down the locks again towards Anderton
Renaissance Canal Carrying - keeping carrying on the canals

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Alton at Bosley Lock 10

Renaissance Canal Carrying - keeping carrying on the canals