Saturday, 24 May 2014

Bollington Festival - working boats

We have had a lovely couple of days cruising down the Peak Forest Canal and onto the Macclesfield Canal. We moored just outside the village of Bollington and Fiona experienced the Bollington Pudding! (try it at the Plaice Restaurant on the main road to Pot Shrigley, past Clarence Mill).
Bollington has a festival for a fortnight,  this weekend was the Working Boat display and Nb Alton, Maria, Badger, Swallow, Joel were all there. Our followers will know Nb Alton is our coalboat and it was nice to see the working tradition still going.
It was also our goodbye to Fiona, who has gone to stay near her Dad's family til she goes back to NZ on Tuesday. We didn't get a photo, so a job for Tuesday (hopefully, Stella will have shifted the summer cold she developed overnight!) as Stella has to go back to hospital for them to check her wrist over.
We have enjoyed having Fiona with us and hope it is not another nine years until we see her again.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Day off in the sun

Fiona and I took ourselves off to meet her other sister, Zoe, today. A lovely day catching up on family news and a very nice lunch at The King's Ransom in Sale. Then we went into Manchester and walked to the Northern Quarter, sat and watched the world go by!
Yesterday, we travelled down from Bugsworth Basin to another favourite location at New Mills and went into Stockport to the market and to visit Chris's nephew and the fairy Garden!
Tonight, we had a salad and a serious chocolate cake for dessert!

Monday, 19 May 2014

Bugsworth Basin

Today we moved down to Bugsworth Basin, one of our favourite places. Tidying & cleaning day along with resting. We like it here, the dogs love it and it restores energy.
It was closed over the winter so the first Basin wall could be rebuilt. They have done a lovely job, except they have left a mudbank,  so we moored in the first arm.
Fiona winded NBGracie in the top Basin, a lovely big winding hole and Gracie turned beautifully.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

The Marple Flight

A beautiful spring day; sunny, warm and a bit of a breeze, but not so you'd notice it. We set off from.just before Marple Aqueduct and did the flight in three hours.
We then cruised slowly down to Disley, mooring just behind old friends and sat in the sun, chatting and generally chilling out after our journey.
It does feel like home turf on this section and coming up the flight was so easy, bizarrely though, the two locks repaired over winter now have to be left empty. Now,  is this because they haven't been fixed properly, or to stop them breaking?
Tomorrow,  we will be off to Bugsworth Basin, to show Fiona the biggest inland port in Britain.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

The Journey Continues

Today we thought we would travel to Portland Basin and then onto Marple tomorrow; however,  Portland Basin is awful, no moorings, canal bank perished and so we stopped long enough to nip to the big ASDA and get dog and cat food and then out of there.

Did some washing whilst engine was on, a beautifully sunny warm day - the warmest so far,  due to a lack of wind - even Jo, our elderly black cat sat and enjoyed the scenery and we finally moored up just through Hyde Bank Tunnel.

Manchester is a funny place to cruise through - children's toys dumped in the canal,  although it was nice to hear parents telling children off for dropping the bread bag and at the first bridge being helped through by local lads who operated it for me,  much to their delight. Maybe that's the answer is to show these people what canal life is like; maybe, if enough had an appreciation of it, they would be more thoughtful.

Friday, 16 May 2014

The Ashton 18

We set off today, after taking a collection of rope, carrier bags & a pair of trousers out of the weed hatch. An old friend came to see us with her little 15 month old daughter. We waited for Fiona to come back after having a silver fern tattoo on her wrist.

After a further cup of tea, we set off up the Ashton Flight. This canal skirts the Manchester City Stadium, Sport City and the Velodrome and takes you through some of the more colourful areas of Manchester. Their idea of recycling seems to be to dump everything in the cut, so we had to reopen the weed hatch and remove a sweatshirt caught on the prop.

We finally finished the flight at 8.15, 5 hours of slog, but at least we didn't hit anything big, or find anything nasty in the weed hatch. We are currently moored in Audenshawe and will head off to Ashton-Under-Lyne in the morning.

Day off from locking tomorrow,  there are only so many aches and pains, you can take!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

The Rochdale Nine

Well the Rochdale Nine,  we did these last year and it took us hours; this year,  we came equipped with a crew! We needed to empty the Elsan, so took the opportunity to reverse round, empty the Elsan and take on water in Castlefield and then onto the Nine! The first three locks were Ok, tough and very hard work. Then Lock 88, we couldn't close the header gate - call Canal & River Trust and they fished out a metal fence, which we thought was quite awesome!

Then three of our crew had to leave us and so Fiona, Stella and Chris finished the last four locks on our own (with assistance from some passers-by opening lock gates).
There was one funny incident involving a goose and three goslings, who had got seperated because Mum & goslings were on towpath and Dad was in the canal, so shooed them back to the canal,  but not before she threw her wings out to protect the goslings from the dogs, who wanted to say hello!

We finally finished after 5 hours, moored on the Ashton Canal, ready for another 18 locks tomorrow! We will check the weed hatch again in the morning,  as NBGracie was very sluggish coming out of the last lock.
So, not quite, crying and cursing, but another good day. Sunshine, reasonably warm and NOT raining!

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Castlefield Basin

Today was spent sorting out and heading for Manchester. We had planned a stay overnight in Manchester and on a gloriously sunny day, we left Altrincham and the dogs' friends and Stella steered NBGracie to Castlefield. I didn't remember that we went so close to Old Trafford Football Ground, passing right next to the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand. We picked Fiona up on the way past and headed into Manchester City Centre.
When we were here in August last year, it was very busy, but today there were plenty of moorings; although we went straight past the Elsan Point without realising it and so will have to reverse up in the morning.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Meeting old friends for Simba & Shiva

We have had a successful day; washing & cleaning plus found blown down trees, now sawn and on the roof. The location is beautiful and you wouldn't know you were two minutes from the A56, it is so quiet. Chris made a sultana cake today, very nice with a cup of tea!  

Simba & Shiva met some old pals today and had a thoroughly enjoyable day.
We are off to Manchester tomorrow, by way of Chris's niece, to have a bath (probably the only thing we miss).
There have been some funny boats to see including a proper camouflage boat.