Saturday 29th June 2019
Having secured the use of Jannock for our 2019 cruise, Simon and Alyssa flew into Manchester airport, hired a huge Ford transit van (less than a third of the price of the smallest car) and located Jannock at Burscough to unpack and prepare.
Shopping was done and Jannock prepared for her jetlagged American crew arriving tomorrow before Alyssa and Simon headed to the Hop Vine for fish suppers and some (long missed) real ales.
Alarms set for early in the morning and then early to bed.
Sunday 30th June 2019
By 7am we were heading back to the airport in the huge transit van where Alyssa went to meet her family whilst Simon returned the hire van. Then every-one caught the train into Manchester in order to try and stay busy through jet-lag. This was a challenge given that it was 8am.
First step was Dishoom on Quay St, which was an Indian-Iranian take on Sunday brunch; egg and bacon nan bread sandwiches, banana and date porridge and bottomless chai! Following some wandering and sight-seeing, additional shopping was done, drinks and snacks were taken at the Old Wellington before we took the train to Burscough bridge to find Jannock.
After moving in, we all had dinner at the Hop Vine since it was known to be excellent quality – highly recommended! Deep fried pickles for the win!
Monday 1st July 2019
Monday had always had the worst forecast for the week, but no-body knew it wasn’t just referring to the weather. We woke to heavy overcast skies threatening rain and it wasnt long coming, arriving to co-incide with the first lock at Appley bridge.
Lunch consisted of delicious pies at the Crooke Hall Inn, which could only be ordered once Simon had decoded the barmaids accent. Leaving Crooke, we cruised to Wigan where a water point could not be found amongst the building works. By this time anti-vandal keys were needed and the locks were in poor condition. Some with ground paddles out of action and some where the lower gates were stuck open.
Finally, just as the sun came out, Jannock struck the lock approach to Podstock locks and the engine gave a wounded howl, screeching in pain. Following an emergency stop, some engine investigation and some telephone support the issue was identified: one of the alternator belts had disintegrated. Luckily John is a marine engineer and with diagnostic guidance, some tools and a spare belt Jannock was running happily again in about 90 minutes.
Plank lane swing bridge turned out to be a high-tech lift bridge, although Simon was dissapointed to find it only had two buttons – open and close. Sadly water would have required a stop but we needed to feed a hungry crew in Leigh so we continued hoping to fill there tomorrow instead. After mooring opposite Aldi, the Anthony’s were introduce to Nandos – the best thing still open at 10pm. After a cheeky nandos and some bants (look it up on-line) it was back to Jannock for some sleep.
Tuesday 2nd July 2019
After a late start and a ful english breakfast, the crew set off to find the Leigh water point – and failed. Pushing onwards past the Astley Green Pit shaft we turned the corner to find an innapropriately situated fishing competition: speaking to the first (Alright. Caught anything yet?) the confused look betrayed something was amiss. Turns out all the competition participants seemed about 12 years old or less and they’d invited a camera crew! Suddenly the penny dropped – this was a film set and none of these 50-odd people were actually fishermen . . . they were actually actor-anglers. Keep an eye out for Jannock appearing in a TV series or film coming soon.
We stopped in Worsley to appreciate the sights and fill with water but again – no water! Worried about the future lack of showers given the temperature, we soldiered on hoping for water in Castlefield basin.
Johnny’s previously un-known life ambition to steer Jannock across the Barton swing aqueduct was fulfilled before stopping at the Trafford centre for lunch and bowling. Alyssa and Ashley were thrilled to be ID’d buying a beer each. The Trafford Centre is something to behold (“Wait! They have a Chinatown?? in the Mall???” “Yep – New Orleans is over there, on the other side of that ship where the OAP dance party is going on . . . .”)
Having filled our needs – bowling, burgers and 3D rabbid extermination, the crew returned to Jannock to continue the journey into Manchester. Approaching Castlefields, Johnny advised that the mapped waterpoint had been taken over by a ‘beach event’ . No water here then, or any free moorings. We breasted up to a hire boat, leaving a note on their door in case they wanted to leave before heading to Wahaca for dinner.
Upon our return our neighbours were ‘in’ and in broken engish (Simon suspects they were Danish?) agreed that no re-arrangement was required until Thursday. Seems they had cruised up from their hire base for a few day in Manchester, before heading back.
Wednesday 3rd july 2019
No cruising today as Jannock’s crew went on the Huddersfield Rail Ale trail after picking up breakfast sandwiches at piccadilly station. Due to various kitchen and chip shop timing restrictions a hungry crew aborted the Ale Trail early to get back to Manchester and visit Hard Rock Cafe where they could simultaneously serve both food and drinks. Upon return to the boat, Simon located the water-point in Castlefield – with the day boats!
Thursday 4th July 2019
For some reason, the 4th July is special to our colonial friends across the Atlantic. Simon can only assume that this is because it is the anniversary of his and Alyssa’s engagement (see 4th July 2016) Regardless, plans were made to shop for a BBQ when in Sale before heading out into the countryside for a party. After a ceremonial flag raising, Jannock headed out to the day-boat dock to fill with water – at last – before heading out towards Trafford, Stretford and Sale.
Mooring by the Kings Ransom, the crew shopped for steaks in Sainsburys before visiting the pub for drinks to start their celebration. We then continued on through Altringham and Oldfield Brow before stopping for a countryside BBQ. Here July 4th was celebrated fully ; this little bit of England turned USA for a few hours with music, food, drink, merryment and dancing – much to the confusion of some passing boaters.
Gradually, as the ashes cooled and the sun began to fall, the party ended and the joyous crew cruised past Dunham Massey and on – past numerous towpath runners – to the pretty village of Lymm. Too late for the child-friendly hours at the Brewery Tap, the crew took a last refreshment of the night at the Golden Fleece – with Jannock moored mere metres away on the visitor mooring rings to make the return home very simple indeed.
Friday 5th July 2019
Early risers make good progress. Given that today was the last day of planned cruising for this trip, Johnny was out with Simon, ready to cast off before 9am while the others waitied for breakfast : Johnny’s famed ‘French Toast ( Cinnamon eggy-bread to us Brits!) Breakfast was taken in shifts with little to do but watch the countryside sidle by.
Simon gave a brief lecture on the theme of particle accelerators as Jannock cruised past Darebury Labs. Aware that we would miss the 10 minute window for entering Preston Brook tunnel, Jannock stopped for half an hour opposite Preston Brook bridge to dispose of some rubbish and stock up with bacon and drinks at the Spar shop a few minutes down the road.
Suitably restocked for the rest of the trip, the crew arrived at the tunnel to find a queue of three boats ahead of them waiting for the 12:30 passage through. Johnny, still buzzing from Barton swing aqueduct, took the helm and drove at tick-over speed for the entire length of the tunnel since the boat we were following was glacially slow.
Once through Dutton Stop lock, with Alyssa, Ashley andJjack sunning themselves in the foredeck, Simon and Johnny took turns steering through Saltisford (Wow – is that tunnel crooked! It has bends in the middle!) and Barnton tunnels, to arrive at Anderton by 3pm. The rest of the afternoon was spent in the Stanley Arms, playing darts, drinking beers and sampling their excellent fish and chips.
Saturday & Sunday 6th & 7th July 2019
Ashley, Johnny and Jack were up early to pack ready for an 11am taxi back to Manchester airport and onwards home to Boston. Simon and Alyssa stayed on board to clean, do a pump-out, dispose of rubbish and pack for their return journey to Switzerland from Manchester airport. We look forward to our next adventures on Jannock soon.