Saturday, June 30, 2018

Farewell Consall Forge

Saturday 30th June

There is a lot to be said for mooring in a an English summer woodland. Waking up inConsallForge dappled sunlight to the sound of the woodland birds chorus. Another plan thwarted today, we’d been told it was the Rail-Ale weekend on the Churnet Valley railway but it seems that is next weekend, not this. No steam trains running because of the fire risk so we decided to leave and head back up to Cheddleton.

I tried winding Jannock where we were moored but she was too long so it was down to the end of the wide to wind there, not an official winding point but we know from past experience that Jannock can turn there. Graham also now knows that it’s not possible any further up the river.

Exiting Cheddleton top lock I had to negotiate my way past a prosecco fueled ladies day-out day boat tied up between the lock and the bridge-cum-tunnel. As we passed they were shouting “it’s gonna it us! it’s gonna it us!” – fortunately we didn’t and passed them to find a shady spot to moor on the 48 hour moorings past the flint mill.

FlintMillGraham went off to Bosley on the Di Blasi to fetch the car (and also pick up some shopping in Leek) whilst I did reluctant housework and cooking. We had lunch when Graham returned and then he took the car to Stone. I took a wander around the ‘closed – yet again’ Flint mill and took some pictures.

On his return, we set off again and ascended the Hazelhurst locks onto the summit and then descended the Stockton Brook flight before mooring for the night just below them. Another lovely day which needed our midday shady break.


Friday, June 29, 2018

and finally, the Black Lion

Friday 29th June 2018

Wildlife of the day – Pike, Kingfisher and Heron

A beautiful day travelling through beautiful countryside. Once we had left the canal, CheddletonLockswe perused a Kingfisher flying ahead of us all the way down the River Churnett section before we stopped at our favourite mooring.

This is a Jannock first! We have never ever arrived at the Consall Forge (Black Lion) moorings before to find them empty. We had a choice of where to moor on the bank and all the birdsong and we didn’t even have to disturb the fisherman sat alongside the water point.

The water here is nice an clear so Graham took the opportunity to wash two months worth of grime from Jannock and make her look presentable again. Whilst we were here in the shade a heron, that we’d spooted fishing further up stream, came and sat on the bank by our bows. He made one attempt at a catch but missed the fish but immediately returned to the same spot and started to preen himself in a “I meant to do that!” fashion. He wasn’t in the least bit bothered by us so we had the priviledge of watching him for a good fifteen minutes.

BlackLionBBrenda’s second night off in two days so into the Black Lion for evening meal, where the steaks were very good (they will even cook them blue if you ask) and the paer and pecan crumble was superb. A total score of 11 out of 10. Graham loved the Thomas the Tank engine being vandalised picture in the Gents loos (shown below – thanks i-Phone)

The evening could only have been improved if aThomasB steam hauled train had passed us whilst we sat out the front of the pub and eat! No trains runnng until tomorrow and they are only diesel due to the fire risk from steam engines in this very dry spell we are experiencing.


Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Hollybush

Thrusday 28th June 2018

Today we mastered the ‘late start’ with bacon sarnies and Sunshine – not a common occurence on Jannock. We passed through Milton, CatMonkeyDuckRecreateEngine lock, two lift bridges (one electric – where CaRT staff were doing a safety check) and then Stockton Brook flight of four before stopping in the shade at Park Lane services for a siesta. Cat, Monkey and new team mate Duck had to pose on the potteries sculpture here for old times sake.

The only event, in an otherwise event-less day was that Brenda kidnapped and then washed my Tilley hat during the siesta to prevent it becoming a health hazard. Luckily it was dry by the time we set off again otherwise I would have mutineed!

HazelhurstLocksWe started again and passed down Hazelhurst locks before mooring just before the Leek arm aquaduct, just round the corner from the Holly Bush Inn. We have frequently passed the busy moorings at this pub and so stopping in the shade before getting there meant we should be OK for our evening meal tonight ( I’ve given Brenda the night off) As it turned out, the moorings outside the pub had spaces available but we were nice and quiet round the corner in the cutting.

Fish and chips twice for dinner tonight whilst sat in the shade outside the front of the pub. Excellent. Then back to Jannock to watch the football – Not England getting beaten by Belgium – my copy of Early Man that I received as a Fathers day present.


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

and onto the Caldon

Wednesday 27th june 2018

Discovery of the day – Jannocks smoke alarms are dual purpose, smoke and insect killer spray ;^)

We left our quiet overnight mooring and made our way towards Hardings Wood Sandbankjunction with the Trent and Mersey canal. As we passed the moored boats between bridges 96 and 97 I could see a boat heading towards us. As soon as we passed the last moored boat I moved across to give them room and spectacularly ran aground on a sand bank that was indicated by a traffic cone stuck over a spike in the canal bed. Jannock stopped so fast and lurched to the left and Brenda almost spilt tonight’s curry she was preparing in the slow cooker. I hadn’t spotted this obstruction as it’s very low level with no other warning. The oncoming boat was a canaltime with experienced crew who offered to snatch us off but I declined due to the restricted width available because of the moored boats. I wouldn’t want him to clout one. I hoped to push us off sideways but no luck.We finally managed to shift by me pushing backwards on the pole whilst Brenda put the engine in hard astern. With Brexit in mind, we’d still be there if it wasn’t for our Pole!

MiddleportWe were second in the queue at the North portal of Harecastle tunnel with alomost a one hour wait for the northbound craft to emerge. We followed a very smokey Anglo Welsh boat but once in the tunnel the fans kept his smoke to himself ;^)

At Westport Lake, the area was closed off with miles of Police tape with PCSOs dealing with pedestrians and a dive team in the water using a rib. It would seem that they found the body of the missing 13 year old at about the same time as we were passing, just before lunchtime today. The Police were allowing GasGateboats to moor there but not a happy place to stop.

We stopped at Capital gas in Etruria (other side of road bridge and canal from the marina – they have a gate on the towpath, ring the bell and ask for service) for a couple of 13Kg Calor cylinders – cheapest supplier for miles. Unfortunately the Holy Innadequate was closed so I didn’t get an excuse for a beer, maybe try again once we leave the Caldon.

WhatInstructionsThe last time we passed through Bedford St. staircase we spotted that the instruction sign alongside the top lock was incorrect. All that there is there now are two poles where the sign used to be. With all the new logo’d signs that have appeared everywhere else in the area I’d have thought they would have replaced the instruction sign as a priority.

As we passed through Hanley Park we picked up a large amount of white fabric around the prop so had to tie up to one of the bankside mooring rings to visit the weedhatch – first time this year! We moored for the night close to Mill Farm on the outskirts of Hanley under a nice shady tree and had a Brenda curry for dinner.


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

and on to Hardings Wood

Tuesday 26th june 2018

A leisurely start, the sun was already up and heading for ‘scorchio’ but Graham FavouriteMooringmanaged to wash the shady side of the boat before it got too hot. We cruised to bridge 68 where we stopped for a water fill at a water point not marked in the 2015 edition of Nicholsons guide Volume 5.

Then on to Congleton as the temperature approached the predicted scorchio so we moored under total arborial UV protection – OK, shade alongside the Queens Head, to sit it out. The irritation was that we’d moored downwind of a bakery baking chocolate cake. Correction – a Waitrose’s mincemeat factory and an oat millers. We have some posh porridge with cocoa nibs in, so perhaps they make that. The smell forced us to have chocolate cake for lunch.

A couple of boat jobs done, a slob about and we were on our way again at 5pm. The sun was still high and hot but less so than earlier. How a field of handle barred McCattle were coping we do not know. We moored up before the A50 aquaduct for the night immediately before the Maccy joins the Trent and Mersey.

SlushCropThe cruise plan curse got wurse. We set off to find the Blue Bell pub at Hardings Wood. we had to drink at Plan B, the Canal Tavern as the Blue Bell has a stoppage for a refurb. They did an interesting range of slush – only £3.50p with shots in.

There were a group of early teens strutting their stuff, innit, around the adjacent lock. The boys were showing off on the road bridge and lock balance beams; foolhardy at beast. The landlady came and told them to stop it and be safe. Mild mouthyness got them reminded that a kid died in Westport lake yesterday. “Yeh, but he was mucking about and in the water” was the reply. So, nothing like falling off a lock or bridge into the canal then. “We can swim” – not after a bash on the head as you go in.

Brenda & Graham

Monday, June 25, 2018

A day out in the car and then Bosley locks

Monday 25th June

Today, we decided on a VERY late start. The weather forecast was ‘scorchio’ and weJodrellBank wanted to visit Jodrell Bank so what better than to visit it on a school day, weekday? It was well worth the visit and we learnt lots. As well as the ‘science bit’ there is a lovely wood and garden area, plenty of room for kids to run and picnic.

hotheadScorchio was right, so once we had finished there, we did a ‘postman pat’ tour around the area – best we could find was a half timbered village church, unusual and very picturesque (what no picture? – Ed).  There are a lot of lovely halls hereabouts. This hall and that hall, even the gatehouses look tres’ posh!

A late lunch and then back to Bosley top lock. At 10am this morning lock rage was breaking out as we went to the car. A volunteer lockie (VL) was filling the top lock to let a waiting boat descend. Mr Rage stomped up from below the lock and demanded that he needed water letting down now!! Lockie said water would be let down when the boat had descended. That was not good enough for Mr Rage-going-puce. There were boats stranded on the bottom, no one afloat, water, now! Lockie was polite, Mr Angry was not.

I realised that he had his boat against the bottom gates in the low water pound below,Sunset he hadn’t bothered to check what was happening at the lock and expected to go in first. I went up to the VL and quietly explained what Mr Numpty hadn’t mentioned so they turned the lock to let him in before passing the waiting boat down through.

Come 6:30pm, when we had decided that it was cool enough to do the 12 lock Moonriseflight as the sun went down, we were not surprised to end up aground in the top lock pound due to low water levels, not least because I had to move over to give a deeper draught boat half a chance of reaching the lock.

We took 95 minutes to complete the flight with most of the locks being in our favour due to the ascending deep draughted boat. We tied up on the mooring below the bottom lockon the towpath in the cool and watched the moon rise – again!


Sunday, June 24, 2018

And so we set off home

Sunday 24th June

We reversed back from Jannock’s mooring the short distance to the winding hole, turned her about and set off back towards Macclesfield. Brenda spotted this ballet BalletScarecrowdancing scarecrow at a bankside property as we passed.

On through lovely countryside, past Macclesfield and through both swingbridges, the second being worked for us by a hire boat crew heading North – thanks! I spotted RopeFenderSmallthis boat with the largest rope bow fender I have ever seen.

By about 13:30 it was getting a bit hot so we moored up in a nice wooded area, under a shady tree and listened to the birdsong coming from both sides of the canal. Just after 3 we set off again down to Bosley top lock where we moored up on the rings ready to pass down the flight tomorrow evening. We have a trip out in the car planned for tomorrow. I went to fetch the car from Higher Poynton and returned back to Jannock at 6pm, justHeron in time for tea.

fter tea, we moved across into the facilities mooring and I did a pumpout whilst Brenda had a shower in the sani station. She then reversed Jannock back across to out recently vacated towpath mooring and I then walked back for a shower as well.


Saturday, June 23, 2018

The start of the trip home

Saturday 23rd June

Busy, busy. Last night we joined Cutwebbers, who were moored at Aylesbury basin, in the Old Millwrights Arms. Who knew? a good pub, good beer and a pizza buffet all within a very short walk from the basin. An excellent evening with good friends.LymeHouse

Today, we returned to Jannock at Higher Poynton on the Macclesfield canal, dumped our stuff on board and then started our holiday with a visit to Lyme Park – of Pride and Prejudice and Mr Darcy in a wet shirt fame. It was amusing overhearing visitors who had mixed up fact, fiction, TV locations and an American lady who seemed unaware that it was a book. The grounds and park plus a picnic could be a whole BeerMatsdays visit in themselves. Graham loved the way that NT had leveled the billiards table in the games room using beer mats under the bottom of the legs.

Back to Jannock via the shops to provision for the next few days, we un-packed and chatted with the crew of the boat moored next door and then off to Alan’s for a ‘do’. We had a lovely evening full of laughter and silliness all based on a balcony overlooking Jannock. New friends!

You may have spotted that Jannock has overstayed ay Higher Poynton. When we left her here lock 13 of the Marple flight had just been repaired after a collapsed wall some 8 months ago. The first few boats through found that now lock 11 is impassable to boats longer than 45’ that are more than 6’9” wide with many getting stuck. Therefore Jannock is un-able to pass so we left her outside Alan’s house (without CaRTs permission due to not being able to get hold of the right person) until we could get time for another holiday to bring her back home again.

This yearstrip has been the ‘stoppage cruise’ so far. Unable to get to Huddersfield because of the Marple issue, unable to get to Liverpool due to a culvert collapse that has drained one pount on the Leeds and liverpool canal. We decided we would turn and return to Brinklow but it would be good to do the Caldon canal on our way home. It seems that is currently closed as well so we’ll see if they can mend it before we get there. The good news is that there were no ‘nastygrams’ on Jannock when we returned to her a month after mooring her on a 14 day mooring.