Wednesday 11 October 2023

Electric Dragon on test

The November Canal Boat is out, and includes my boat test on Electric Dragon by Ortomarine.

Saturday 7 October 2023

Wending to Wales: stats

Some stats from our trip to Llangollen and back.

385 miles, 314 locks (223 narrow locks and 91 wide ones)

Canals travelled on:

  • Grand Union
  • North Oxford
  • Coventry
  • Birmingham and Fazeley
  • Trent and Mersey
  • Middlewich Arm
  • Shropshire Union main line 
  • Llangollen
  • Montgomery
  • Prees Arm
  • Whitchurch Arm
  • BCN Old Main Line
  • BCN New Main Line
  • BCN Titford Canal
  • B&F Digbeth Branch
  • GU Digbeth Branch

The Llangollen was new water for Briar Rose but not for us, and the Titford Canal and Titford Pools was new water for all of us.

We went through the following tunnels:

  • Blisworth (twice)
  • Braunston (twice)
  • Newbold
  • Harecastle
  • Ellesmere (twice)
  • Chirk (twice)
  • Whitehouses (twice)
  • Cowley
  • Wolverhampton (really more like a long bridge)
  • Coseley
  • Summit
  • Ashted
  • Curzon Street (another bridge-like one)
  • Shrewley
In total, they add up to just over nine miles underground.

We did two major aqueducts, Chirk and Pontcysyllte, plus lots of small ones.

We went through the following counties:

  • Northamptonshire
  • Warwickshire
  • Staffordshire
  • Cheshire
  • Shropshire
  • Wrexham
  • Denbighshire
  • West Midlands

Tuesday 3 October 2023

Back to the marina

There was lots of thunder and lightning last night, and rain so heavy that once or twice I couldn’t hear the tv!  This morning things were much quieter.  I packed, made a trip down to the Elsan, and set off a bit after 8am.  CRT are currently shoring up the bank on one of the corners.  When I walked past on Sunday, some of these posts hadn’t been cut down to size.  They’ve got rolls of sticks in between, and from what’s on the workboat will be having coir sausages on top.

At the marina, our neighbours are currently out so I had a double sized space to aim at.  Sometimes I find this makes things more difficult, but actually I ended up right alongside our jetty.

I went through the leaving procedure, loaded up the car, and was on the road to my dad’s by 9.15.

1 mile, 0 locks.  (2 miles, 0 locks)

Monday 2 October 2023

Back to Cheshire

I was up early this morning and driving to Bicester to meet Andy the photographer.  I’d moved the car to the village yesterday afternoon.  We went in one car to Aqueduct Marina at Church Minshull for a boat test.  The weather was ok, no sunshine but light cloud and dry.  We had lunch at the cafe there, and then on the way home the rain arrived.  I stopped at Bicester library to have some documents printed, rather than trying to figure out whether I could do some sort of Wi-Fi thing with phone and iPad on the boat.  My walk back from the marina to the boat at Cosgrove was mostly in the dry, so I was lucky because the rain really came down after I got back.

Sunday 1 October 2023

Wending to Wales: Day 35

We had just a short distance to go back to our marina today, and set off about 8.30.  Adrian packed as we went along.  At Yardley Gobion, outside Kingfisher marina, we passed our old share boat, Debdale, and had a quick chat with Charlie, who was one of the owners back when we had our share.

When we got to Thrupp Wharf, there were three fishermen opposite the marina entrance, which is also a winding hole.  I don’t think they’d have been very pleased had I done my usual turn in, which would certainly have stirred up their water.  Because of what was happening next, I got the boat close to the entrance and then reversed the stern in.  Adrian got all the stuff he was taking home off the boat while I stood there with a rope, trying to stop the boat blowing over to the other side!

Adrian packed the car, checked he had house keys, and set off back home.  So that really marks the end of our trip — 35 days in total, plus three days when we were moored in Rugby having to work.  It’s one of our longest trips (I must check back to see whether it takes the title as the longest!)

5 miles, 0 locks.  (385 miles, 314 locks)

I jumped back on the boat (and it almost did require a jump, because the wind had already blown the stern away from the side in the few seconds it took me to get there), and headed for Cosgrove.  I passed four boats on the way, so I was pretty use there’d be space, plus two more as I tried to get over to the moorings.  I chose a relatively straight section, with no overhanging trees.

Once I was secure, I got the bucket out and washed, rinsed, and dried that side of the boat.  Then I thought I’d put some black paint on the gunwales; when we had them changed from blacking to paint last year, Steve let me have half a tin of leftover paint.  I got the fat tyre fenders out and tied them to the intermediate rings on the towpath, to keep the boat away from the side.  There are a few bits that really need a bit of proper work, but the paint has certainly covered up the surface scuffs and scratches.

Then I got the polish out and did that side of the boat.  Once all that was done, I thought I’d turn the boat around before having some lunch, so headed off to the lock where I spun around and returned to the same spot.

I’d only just finished tying up again when Free Spirit came past, so I walked down to the lock to explain what I was doing here rather than heading for home, and to help Ian and Irene through.

Back at the boat I had lunch, then did the whole cleaning process on the other side.  I have to say the novelty wore off some time before the boat was finished, and being stooped over for hours putting polish on and then off again is not much fun.  However there were plenty of people passing to say hello to, including a big group of kids on some sort of trip, who had lots of questions.  It was only when I went back inside I realised I should also have cleaned the windows, so I did that too — including standing on the gunwales to do the offside ones.

The main reason I’m still here is that I have a boat test to do tomorrow in Cheshire, so there was very little point in going home when this is halfway there.

1 mile, 0 locks.