Monday, 29 August 2011

Moored at Moore.

We came back to Moore and we all followed the footpath up through the fields to Daresbury.

IMG_0202 Path to Daresbury    IMG_0208 Dorrmouse

On arrival there were roads blocked off and police in attendance as the Creamfields Festival was on over the weekend. We were very politely quizzed as to what we were doing there. We had come to see the stained glass windows in All Saints Church depicting scenes from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. These were installed in 1935 as a memorial to Charles Lutwidge Dodson who was born in the parsonage in 1832. Work is underway to create a visitor centre there too.  

    IMG_0209 Cheshire Cat

We liked the Cheshire Cat which graced the frontage of one of the houses there. There was also a lovely weathervane on the school there.

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Walking back down via the lane there were sweeping views across over the Power Station.

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The thump of the ‘music’ from up the hill lulled us to sleep that night. The next day the fuel boat ‘Ariel’ came by  and filled us up with diesel, perfick.

The Bridgewater Canal is nice and wide and there are some lovely moorings along it. However boats with home moorings on this canal need a separate licence for doing so. We have found that a majority of these boaters travel at speed and do not slow down when passing moored boats.

They are actually spoiling their own canal as mooring pins are being dragged out as they hurtle by, as ours were. The banks will be breached and they do not seem to consider or even care about this likelihood.

We are glad that we are back onto the Trent and Mersey Canal again, moored at Anderton. Although in the evening a man who had drunk rather too much was trying to ride his bike along by our boat. Bottle, after ensuring he was not ill, insisted that it would be safer for him to walk, which he did do.

Then a hire boat pulled off from the pub moorings with several chaps on the roof with one sitting on a chair. I could see that he was going to be knocked off it when the boat went under the footbridge and waved to him to duck. He just managed to do this within inches of banging his head and being swept off into the water.

Anderton to Lymm.

Our next stop was to see the Anderton Boat Lift which conveys boats between the Trent and Mersey Canal and the River Weaver. Built in 1875 it consists of two caissons, or tanks, supported on hydraulic rams and as one ascends the other descends. Each caisson or water tank can carry two narrow boats or one wide beam. It became badly corroded and was forced to close for many years. After extensive restoration it reopened in 2002 and was extremely busy when we went along to the visitor centre. A trip boat takes visitors down in the lift for a trip up the river, boaters can use it for free too. I took my usual amble around the area while Bottle was engrossed on the computer catching up. I discovered that Manor Farm was selling fresh eggs and potatoes. I like to buy local produce wherever I can.

IMG_0189 Anderton Boat Lift

On leaving Anderton we had three tunnels to negotiate along the way. Barnton and Saltersford Tunnels were quite short lengths. Then we came across a boat stuck into the muddy bank just before a bridge floundering about with poles and bow thrusters. He  tried forwards and reverse,  then he threw us his stern rope over and we reversed and pulled him off as another boat had come up behind us. We caught up with them again and had to follow them through Preston Brook Tunnel which is also one way traffic it is  longer and rather twisty. It was a bit hair-raising as he was being instructed by his wife from the bow of the boat to go right a bit, left a bit. We slowed right down as he zig-zagged his way through. When we cleared the tunnel he pulled over and let us all go past him, phew!

IMG_0190 Preston Brook Tunnel We emerged from the tunnel and were now on the Bridgewater Canal.


Then we encountered a little day boat coming at us round a heavily reeded bend on our side of the canal. We swung over on the left and avoided him. He had been advised to give bigger boats the deep water! He seemed surprised when we told him that he must always be on the right hand side when passing other boats. He immediately swung over, luckily missing the boat following behind us. Anyway we eventually arrived to moor at Moore and took the scenic route along the footpath over the railway to the village shop. The next day we pressed on as we had agreed to meet up with our friends who were cruising down from Sale to meet us at Lymm. As we needed water we had to pass through Lymm and up to the tap at Little Bollington. The tap is on a banked up section and quite exposed, and yes the wind was howling across, so it was fun fighting to get the boat over to the tap. We turned a bit further on and headed back to moor next to nb Tranquility.

IMG_0193 K G    IMG_00195Lymm Memorial

After a snack and a chat all we went for a stroll around the town and up the valley path around the lake.

IMG_0197 Sextons Bakery Lake    IMG_0198 Lymm Church

Sextons Bakery stands over the damn at the bottom of the lake and the church can be seen from the well used footpaths running along the edges of the valley.

IMG_0194 Bulls Head Lymm    IMG_0199

What an enjoyable walk that was, we quite envy the locals for having such a beautiful, peaceful place to walk with their families and dogs.

The next day saw us moored at Stockton Heath to walk through the town and across the Manchester Ship Canal to shop at Morrison's.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Wheelock up to Marston.

On our trip to Crewe I bought some enormous free range pullets eggs. When I asked why they were so big the man told me that when they lay their first eggs they are either small, or very large containing double yolks. I thought this was a fascinating story and asked if I could return them if they were only single yoked! Anyway it turned out that he was right, they were all double yoked, amazing.

IMG_0001 WheelockWe filled with water before leaving Wheelock to cruise along to Crows Nest Bridge 161 where Alan and Kath pulled alongside us on nb Chalice for a chat. Nice to see you all enjoying your whistle stop holiday, we must stop meeting like this so we can have longer exchanges on our boating experiences.

IMG_0011 Alton

Fuel boat ‘Alton’ passed us by, but unfortunately we didn’t need any diesel , shame as it was very reasonably priced at 83p per litre.

IMG_0004 Middlewich Narrowboats    IMG_0007 White Bear renovation

We left this peaceful mooring and passed on along to moor just beyond Middlewich Narrowboats above the lock. We strolled into Middlewich passed the White Bear which was undergoing restoration and popped into Tesco. As there were so many hire boats hereabouts we left at 7am (early for us) the next day to beat the rush. It was amazing with the mist rising off the water as the sun began to warm everything up. We got through ‘Big Lock’ without to much trouble, then it was lovely lock free cruising along to Marston. We hooked up beside the old Lion Salt Works where the buildings are listed and being preserved. There are many ‘flashes’ (pond/lakes) all along the canal here created by salt mining and saline extraction. Much land and even some cottages have been swallowed up and disappeared underneath the water. We had  a nice Sunday roast lunch at the friendly Salt Barge just down the road.

IMG_0005 Salt Barge MarstonThey also stock a few essentials for boaters to buy which was very handy indeed.

IMG_0008 Lion Salt Works mooring

Here we are by the large iron saltpan of the works. While we were there we made friends with the permanently moored boater in front of us and his little rescue dog called Oih.

IMG_0001 a dog called Oih    IMG_0003 Penny Black was a PO b1914

Isn’t she a great little character? We asked how she got her name and he said she came to him when he said ‘Oih’ so he stuck with it.

From here we walked into Northwich and went into this splendid Wetherspoons called The Penny Black. It was the old Post Office built in 1914 and is the towns largest liftable building. This means in times of any subsidence there are automatic jacks under it to keep it level. It has a blue plaque outside saying it is a grade 2 listed building and also appears in Pevsner’s book Buildings of England.

IMG_0004 Library

This is the Library where we picked up a couple of leaflets on the locality. We had a walk down the main street where we saw several more interesting timber framed building. As we walked over the bridge spanning the River Weaver we could see that several narrow boats had come down in the Anderton Lift to visit. After calling into Sainsbury’s we made our way back through the well laid out wildlife park around the flashes. We arrived back at Oakfield gasping for a drink as it was a very hot day.

Two years old today.

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Happy Birthday nb Oakfield, we have just completed two enjoyable years of cruising many miles around the canals and rivers.

By way of celebration here are some of the wildflowers and insects we have encountered on our travels.

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This summer has been sunny for us, most days, as we seem to have been on the periphery any showers.

To those we met, even the curmudgeonly ones, thank you, we have enjoyed it.

Sunday, 21 August 2011


As we didn’t think we would take Oakfield up the Macclesfield Canal this year, we cheated and went to see the town by bus. It was a bit hair raising sitting on the top of the double decker bus around all the twisty lanes and we got held up for 40 minutes in road works.

IMG_0171 Macclesfield Museum     IMG_0172

We paused at Congleton which is also known as ‘Beartown’ I think. Anyway we saw a variety of large sitting bear statues at the road junctions. Macclesfield sits on the top of a steep hill and the bus just about made it up to the tiny bus station on the edge. There is a museum in this large, pillar fronted building with a Tourist Information office next door where we obtained a street map. I think the church was sandstone, it was difficult to tell as it was a bit black.

IMG_0173    IMG_0174 Almshouses 1895

After perusing the shops we made our way downhill towards the canal. Some of the side streets still have their cobbled surfaces. The town did have a bit of a tired, run-down feel about it although it was bustling with people. We passed these old 1895 Almshouses en route to the canal.

IMG_0175 Macclesfield Canal   

We walked along quite a stretch of the canal which was a bit wild and unkempt. The only item of interest we could find was this old Silk Mill with a boatyard alongside it. As we couldn’t find anywhere to have a snack we returned into town to look. We found a very homely little cafe right next to the bus station. From our table by the window there were sweeping views across the valley to the hills in the distance.

Sandbach Mill.

On Sunday we followed a footpath meandering through the fields and wooded valley up to see Sandbach Mill.


IMG_0165 Sandback Mill

Along with the little old millers cottage adjoining it all seemed to be in residential use now.


The mill pond and water controls could be seen from the lane. We liked the neat little  brick building with the tiled roof in the garden of the cottage. Wonder what that could have been used for in the past? (rhetorical)

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The mill leat had been turned into a tasteful garden feature, but there was no evidence of the mill wheel at all.

IMG_0170    IMG_0167 Davey Paxman static engine

This must have once been a thriving Blacksmiths Forge, but now used for a workshop and storage. We saw smoke seeping out from under the tiles on the roof of the barn and found that this lovely old Davey Paxman stationary engine was fired up and being worked on. What an enjoyable walk that turned out to be.

Saturday, 20 August 2011



Saturday we walked up to Sandbach and luckily it was a market day with stalls around the Town Hall. 

IMG_0154 War Memorial, Marketplace

We had a freshly prepared snack in quaint, ‘Ye Olde Black Bear Inn’ dating from 1634. There are several pubs clustered around the War Memorial/Market Place which retains it’s original cobblestones.

IMG_0154a Sanbach      IMG_0159 Cottage b1570

These two beautifully carved Anglo Saxon Crosses of 634 AD had been smashed up and scattered by the Puritans. It is thanks to the relentless work of one man who relocated all the bits and reassembled them, that we may enjoy seeing them here today. Many timber framed cottages can be found around the cobbled backstreets. This one is a grade two listed building dated 1570.

IMG_00158 Cake House left Drs surgery right

The cottage on the left has the amusing name of ‘The Cake House’, while the one on the right looks newly built and is the Doctors Surgery. We were fascinated by Sandbach and found many streets interesting to walk around. By the way there is a Waitrose in the town centre too.


IMG_0019 snuggling ducklings

On leaving Rhode Heath we were entering our first lock and I could hear squeaking. I looked around and found these delightful fluffy bundles snuggled up on the sheltered ledge of the disused duplicate lock. We managed to do the 14 locks to arrive down to moor at Wheelock.

IMG_0149 Wheelock Flight   IMG_0150 Malkins Bank

This is the bottom lock of Malkins Bank, sometimes referred to by the old working boaters as ‘Heartbreak Hill’. Having moored on the straight stretch below the lock we put our feet up with a hot drink and heavy rain set in. How lucky was that?

IMG_0162 Wheelock

IMG_0164Here we are at Wheelock and the facilities and information boards were good. Wouldn’t it be nice if only all villages were as boater friendly. There are two pubs, an Italian Restaurant  and useful little shop too, but without the Post Office that was once there.

IMG_00160 Leyland BusThe next day we walked up into Sandbach to get the address of the PO there so we could receive some post. On the way we saw this lovely old Leyland bus which was in very good nick.

IMG_0161 Crewe Cheese Market HallWhile we were waiting we thought we would have a day out to Crewe where we picked up a few things in the market. This is the old Cheese Market, cheese must have been very popular in these parts judging by the size of the building! It is now an indoor market with a wide variety of stalls.