No Direction

No Direction is our 70ft Narrowboat which is now home to my wife Jayne and myself, it was launched on 4th February 2008.

We spend the Winters in a Marina and cruise in the warmer weather.

Monday, 29 August 2011

At The End Of The Line

Monday, 29th August 2011.
Chirk to Llangollen.
7 Miles,1 Lift Bridge, 1 Tunnel, 1 Aquaduct.

We arrived at Chirk on Saturday afternoon in the rain, the forecast wasn't good for Sunday, so stayed there until this morning, today the weather looked a bit grim but has turned out ok.

We are now in Llangollen mooring basin, £12 for 48 hours including Mains electric, we've been surprised how few boats were about on the Trevor to Llangollen section but have been told that Tuesday to Thursday are the busy days.

Obviously the main feature today was the Pontcysyllte Aquaduct, we had a slight delay while the trip boat came across, then we set off behind another Narrowboat.

Grandstand view of the Football pitch.

Over theEdge.

We were followed by an intrepid family in a Canoe who went all the way to Llangollen.

I bet Thomas Telford got some funny looks when he discribed what he was going the build.

Narrow section approaching Llangollen. (view looking away from Llangollen)

As we're on Mains power the washing machine will be on overtime for the next couple of days, everything will get washed.

We have visitors booked for next Saturday who want to go across the Aquaduct on the boat so have arranged to pick them up in Trevor.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Into Wales

Saturday 27th 2011
Ellesmere to Chirk
11.75 Miles, 2 Locks, 1 Tunnel, 1 Aquaduct.

We've been sitting out the worst of the rain moored on 72 hour moorings at Ellesmere Junction since Wednesday afternoon, so today we made a move.  One result we had at Ellesmere was to contact the Ellesmere Info website and suggest that it would be helpful if the site included the location of recycling points and today we've had reply to say "that's a good idea we'll do that"

Border Counties Maintenance Yard at Ellesmere.

The sign below is at the Ellesmere Services, it warns that the Canal beyond Trevor is shallow, however, a boater who has been all the way to Llangollen in a narrowboat with a much deeper draft than is recommended has placed a report about the journey next to it, the boaters sign has been there for 12 month and it suffering from a bit of water ingress but you can still read that they had very little trouble.

Todays journey included 2 locks at New Marton, the Chirk Aquaduct, and the Chirk Tunnel, with both the Aquaduct and Tunnel we were following the slowest boater ever, progess is slow at the best of times due to the narrowness of the channel and going against the current, a couple of times things got so slow we were in Neutral.

Pleased to see plenty of hire boats around up here helping to keep Canalside business's going and hopefully one or two crew members may get interested in Canals.

At 3 o'clock we moored for the night opposite Chirk Marina, we'll check the weather tomorrow before deciding if we move on  or stay here. 

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Orrible Day

Wednesday, 24th,August 2011
Queens Head, Montgomery Canal to Ellesmere.
7.5 Miles 3 Locks and a Double Staircase Lock.

We left our mooring at Queens Head this morning allowing plenty of time to get to Frankton Locks which opened at noon.

The owner of this boat moored at Queens Head is obviously a fan of the Big One.

Signs of the huge amount of work it took to restore this section of the Montgomery Canal.

We turned into the the Weston Branch arm services and struggled to tie up due to the strong wind, once secured I emptied the Cassettes at the service block. This service block is possibly the best kept services I have ever used and a credit to whoever looks after it, be it British Waterways or the Shropshire Union Canal Society volunteers.  The guide books are a bit confusing as to whats here, so for other boaters heading this way it has water taps, toilets, including disabled and elsan disposal there is also a skip for boaters rubbish, you could say it's the full Monty (get it, Monty Canal, never mind).

We were 4th in the queue at the first of the two single locks as the Lock Keeper organized things, by now the wind had picked up again and the skies were darkening at the second lock it started to rain hard.

Plaque on the upper single lock.

Clearing the top lock in the heavy rain Jayne disappeared inside to dry out and get the kettle on, we turned right and headed back towards Ellesmere, it rained all the way only stopping as we moored up, we will be here for a couple of days. 

Book Boat Banned in Bristol

Wednesday. 24th August 2011
Moored at Queens Head, Montgomery Canal.

Just read on the BBC news site that Sarah Henshaw the Bookboat Lady, has been banned from operating in Bristol, the official reason seems to be Healh and Safety but it also mentions that the other traders might be getting upset. It's all on.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Lunch at the Pub.

Tuesday, 23rd August 2011.
Moored at Queens Head, Montgomery Canal.

Today we had visitors, my Mother and my Aunt and my Aunts Husband, after a couple of hours spent on the boat chatting we popped over to the Queens Head Pub for lunch, we sat in the Conservatory area had an excellent meal, we were surprised how busy it was considering it was mid-week.

The Pub opposite the 14 day moorings (fortunately theirs a bridge)

There is another pub further on down the Canal which was recommended by Adam, however the Navigation at Maesbury Marsh will have to wait until next time we are down this way.

I have just booked to go back up Frankton Locks on Wednesday we have decided to head back to Ellesmere as we need to visit a post office, we were too late when we got there last Saturday. 

How Deep

Monday, 22nd August, 2011
Moored at Queens Head, Montgomery Canal.

One thing that's been on my mind coming along the Llangollen Canal is how deep is it,  various bits of information say a maximum draft of 2 feet at the Llangollen end but I know people who
have travelled the whole length in boats that draw more than that with no problems.

I though the Montgomery Canal may also have been a problem until Sunday morning when the first boat up Frankton locks leaving the Montgomery was nb George a 1929 Royalty Class working boat complete with a 20hp Bolinder engine, this boat must need at least 30 to 33 inches of water to operate, they turned left and headed for Llangollen, another good sign, George is normally moored at Weedon on the Grand Union Canal so they've had long journey.

George makes the turn towards Llangollen.

George is also famous as the Pirate Boat at the 2010 Stoke Bruerne Gala.

nb George arrives at the 2010 Gala carrying the Pirates

Today has been a maintenance, cleaning and general fiddling day.  I started with a look at the propeller (through the weed hatch this time) and removed a couple of bits of plastic bag from around the shaft, then the oil was drained from the Generator, while that was draining the bolts on the Python Drive coupling got checked, the Generator was then filled with fresh oil and fired up.

While alI this was going on Jayne was dusting inside the boat, she managed to break the lid of our very small Measham teapot, not a real one, unless they were made in China.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

On the Monty.

Sunday, 21st August 2011.
Ellesmere to Queens Head Visitor Moorings, Montgomery Canal.
7.5 Miles, 3 locks and a Double Staircase Lock.

Reversed back to the junction this morning and turned to moor at the services, a near perfect manoeuvre, just as well as 2 hireboat Captains were watching.

Arrived at Frankton Junction and tied up on the moorings at 9.45 which left plenty of time for breakfast before the Lock Keeper started at 12 noon, there were 3 boats already there including a German family on a Black Prince hireboat.

The Lockie arrived 20 minutes early and removed the padlocks and chains from the paddle gear, we had booked to go through but some people hadn't, it's only a quick phone call to a helpful and pleasant Lady at British Waterways and it's done, but it appeared some older boaters think these simple rules don't apply to them.

Bottom of the Double Staircase

The restricted access and short 7 mile length mean that there are very few boats here,  we had a slow cruise to our planned mooring, there are signs to advise boaters that the speed limit is 3 mph, we averaged 2.5 mph once past the locks according to my Garmin Etrex, as expected if you get to close to the edge your draging on the mud.

The short arm to the disused Weston Branch, now moorings and service Block.

The moorings here are 14 days, when we arrived there wasn't a space big enough but a crew came out of the pub after 10 minutes, got on there boat and went, so we slotted in OK.
No Digital TV signal here and trees were in the way for the dish so we have reversed back to the winding hole and turned around, just, it isn't very deep, and moored back in the same spot, we now have a convenient gap in the trees to pick up the satellite.

We have Visitors coming on Tuesday and will probably stay here until Wednesday then move back towards Frankton Junction and moor in a quieter place, it's a bit close to the A5 here.

Note on Booking the Locks.  Some guide books tell you that you need to give 48 hours notice but this is out of date,  the lady I spoke to at British Waterways said you can book up to 10 am on the day you want go through.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Spoke Too Soon.

Saturday 20th August 2011.
Grindley Brook Visitor Moorings to Ellesmere.
13.5 Miles, no Locks 5 Lift Bridges.

I said on the last blog that we had timed our journey well and there wasn't many boats around, well today moored here at Ellesmere Junction it has been manic all afternoon.

We left last nights mooring at 8.05 and worked our way through the 5 lift Bridges arriving at Ellesmere at around 2.30, we turned up the arm hoping to find a mooring but 2 hire boats had just beaten us to it taking the last of the available space so after turning around at the end of the arm we went for plan B and moored on Visitor Moorings between the junction and the bridge.

The local Boatyard/Marina, Blackwater Meadow Marina seems to have quite a few hireboats, being Saturday they started coming out just after we arrived and carried on all afternoon.

British waterways have plans to ban camping on the towpath, it's news to me that this is a problem, so when I passed a hiker who had camped over night by bridge 35 I asked if she was aware that her hobby could soon be illegal, she had heard about it and said that it's a pity that British Waterways couldn't find something more useful to do with their time, couldn't agree more.

However the new Bye law will not apply to Fishermen so there's an answer, carry a small collapsible fishing rod in your rucksac.

With all the things BW need to sort out and they worry about this. 

Tomorrow I will be up and about early, reverse the short distance back to the Junction making plenty of noise with the Bow Thruster when passing sleeping hireboaters, moor at the service block to empty and fill up as necessary then get down to Frankton Junction and onto the Montgomery Canal.

Jayne Issues an ASBO

Friday, 19th, August 2011.
Ravensmore, Bridge 11 to Grindley Brook Visitor Moorings.
9.25 Miles, 10 Locks, 3 Staircase Locks 3 Lift Bridges.

After a very peaceful night we set off at 9 o'clock and arrived at today's first lock, Baddiley No3 about 20 minutes later, after securing the boat we both walked up to the lock and found it almost full, before emptying it we had a good look for any boats coming the other way, we spotted one in the distance so levelled the water and opened the top gate. 
They came down in the lock and I took No Direction in as the bottom gates were now open, the crew from the downhill boat closed the bottom gates for us and Jayne opened the top paddles, as the lock was filling a lady person from the next downhill boat arrived, the next thing we see is a Glass Fibre cruiser heading towards the lock as fast it could, producing a bow wave like a cross channel ferry, I expected it to crash into the lock but at the last second it was slammed into reverse causing a loud roar as the outboard leg came out of the water, the steerer then jumped out threw a rope around a bollard and strode up to the lady person who turned out to be his wife, the language was terrible, really bad, from both of them, they were criticising the boat in front for leaving the gates open for us which they had then closed and wasted a lock full of water, they didn't speak to us, Jayne walked off towards the next lock and I pushed the top gate open with the boat and left them to their ranting.
But the performance wasn't finished yet, as I looked back the madmans wife was running (more waddling actually) along the towpath back towards the previous lock, it turned out that they were so angry that the bottom gates had been left open there windlass had been thrown down and forgotten, until of course they arrived at the next lock, Ho Ho.

So for this disgraceful behavior the crew of a Blue and White Glass Fibre Cruiser  Petronella, BW reg number 108581 Jayne has awarded a  Canal ASBO.

I have just checked the number on BW licencing site and it's not licenced, now there's a surprise.

OK, back to the rest of the day which was quite pleasant, Jayne caused a bit of a traffic jam at Wrenbury lift bridge which I think she enjoyed and I struggled getting the boat into the locks due to the fierce flow of water exiting the bypass weirs. The Canal is used to carry water from the river Dee at Llantysilio to Hurleston Reservoir so the Canal flows like a River.

We seemed to have timed our journey well as 95% of the boats today are heading in the opposite direction, mostly hire boats returning to Wrenbury and Nantwich, we even went up Grindley Brook Staircase locks with only a short delay.

Tonight we are on Visitor moorings above the locks, tomorrow we will get to Ellesmere where we can shop and visit the Post Office as Jayne has a package to post.

After mooring this afternoon I called British Waterways to book a Passage through Frankton locks for Sunday, the first 2 are staircase, operated by a lock keeper and only open between 12 noon and 2 o.clock.

Jayne's behind there somewhere lowering Wrenbury Church Lift Bridge, one of the Hydraulic ones.

Friday, 19 August 2011

B.W. Checking Licenses.

Thursday 18th, August 2011.
Audlem Mill to Ravensmoor (well very close)
11.25 miles 11 locks.

We left our mooring at 9 this morning aiming to be at the bottom lock when the little shop opened, we were there but George wasn't, we hung around on the lock moorings for a while but no one showed up.

Someone's overslept.

At the first of the two Hack Green locks we meet a boat coming up, at the second there was a boat coming out of the lock but an impatient hire boat crew closed the gates and emptied the lock wasting the water.

We came up the Hurleston locks without problem, not all boats do, Pete and Dave on nb Hyskier got stuck in the second lock last year for 2 hours as their boat is a bit on the fat side.

Looking down the Hurleston Flight.

At the top lock the lock keeper came out with his note book and checked our Licence was valid so we shouldn't see to many un-licenced boats on the Llangollen, not like the Shropshire Union which seems to have plenty.

Tonight we are moored in a quiet spot 3 miles along the Canal from Hurleston Junction not a bad spot as we have good Internet, HD digital for the TV and phone signal.

Tonight at 6 o'clock we had a very heavy shower which lasted 45 minutes but the forecast is OK for tomorrow.

Do not disturb.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Halted by the Aroma of Food.

Wednesday, 17th, August 2011.
Adderley to Audlem.
2.6 Miles 12 Locks.

Well, we almost managed the 15 locks of the Audlem Flight today, we were going well until  approaching the Shroppie Fly pub with the smell of food wafting along the Canal and, with a mooring right outside Audlem Mill a short distance from the Pub we found ourselves unable to go any further. 

We did well coming down the Locks meeting an "up hill" boat at almost every one including Lynne and Paul on Piston Broke.

nb Piston Broke. (sorry for the poor quality)

On yesterdays blog we mentioned  the Farmers wife selling produce at Adderley top lock but as the Internet signal was poor I didn't manage to find a link to their business but we have today, it's called Adderley Wharf farm Shop.

There's another Enterprise here at Audlem, George's Pork and Poultry is situated by the side of Lock 15, it's an impressive website for a small concern.

Just back from the Pub, they certainly don't hold back on the portions, glad we decided to skip the starter.

Weather forecast keeps changing, at the moment it looks good for the next 5 days, lets hope it's right.

Shopping Done

Tuesday, 16th August, 2011.
Market Drayton to Adderley.
4.5 Miles, 5 Locks.

We woke to rain this morning so our shopping trip was delayed slightly until it passed over, got to Morrisons at 9.40 and ordered Breakfast in the cafe, en route we past an Asda store where the Piston Broke crew gave up waiting to be served at the one and only check out.( I did check all the trollies to try and find your pound coin Lynne.)

Back on the boat with everything packed away we moved to the water point between bridges 62 and 63 and topped up the water tank, it's the slowest tap I have ever used, my body produces more pressure after 2 pints.

Arriving at Adderley top lock I dropped Jayne off under the bridge and waited as a boat was coming up the lock, I spied they had left one of the bottom gate paddles up and called Jayne on the radio, she pointed out the  error to the Captain who seemed more interested in the produce for sale at the little hut where the farmers wife sells vegetables, meat and cakes, we bought some home made fruit cake. 

We are moored on the Visitor Mooring below Adderley bottom lock, hope to get down the 15 Audlem locks tomorrow.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Diesel Prices and Mooring Rings

Monday, 15th August 2011
Wheaton Aston to Market Drayton.
18.5 Miles, 5 Locks.

We didn't go for Sunday lunch at the Hartley Arms after all, Jayne knocked up a Quorn Shepherd's Pie instead.

Monday morning we shuffled across the Canal to the jetty at Turners Garage and filled both fuel tanks, Red Diesel, base price 71.9p a Litre, off we go and we pass Norbury Wharf, Red Diesel at 70.9 a Litre, it's usually the other way round Turners are normally 1p cheaper.

We had an isolated trip with no sight of a boat going our way, in front or behind us, we arrived at Tyrley locks dumped a bag of rubbish in the bins then went down the locks, we are now moored on Market Drayton Visitor moorings, yes that's right ,the place  where the mooring rings are spaced so that if you tie the front of the boat up to a ring their isn't another anywhere near the rear of the boat so you end up hammering a mooring pin in, Grrrrrr.

All boaters know this building but for the others, The former Cadbuys Wharf at Knighton

The locks on this Canal seem to have Cills that come a longway out from the gate, need to take care with a 70ft boat.

Cattle lying down can tell you a lot about tomorrows weather, so I've heard.

In the morning I will get Jayne's scooter out as we are going shopping, as an incentive for good behaviour I have been promised breakfast at Morrisons.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Digital TV

Saturday 13th August 2011.
Moored at Wheaton Aston.

The Digital TV signal is brilliant here, we even have the HD channels through our little Omnimax aerial despite being in a shallow cutting and surrounded by trees, our new television has a built in HD decoder so no extra boxes required, at Kings Bromley Marina which is further south we have Digital but the signal is not powerful enough for HD, it is due to be boosted to full strength next month.

Apparently the Digital switch over started in the north and is progressing south which is unusual as thing normally start in the south and then go north before they run out of money once past halfway.

Short blog today as it's 5 o'clock, our visitors have arrived and we are going over the pub.

PS.  Back from the Hartley Arms, the food ( and Bank's Bitter ) was so good and well priced that we may be going back tomorrow for Sunday Lunch.

Early Start

Friday, 12th August.
Hatherton Junction to Wheaton Aston.
13.5 Miles, 2 Locks.

As we have arranged to have visitors whilst moored at Wheaton Aston on Saturday I thought an early start was called for to ensure that we found a space. The alarm was set and we left Hatherton Junction at 6.05 this morning.

After an hour or so we had to stop to move an unoccupied boat which had drifted across the Canal. At Autherley Junction we turned right onto the Shropshire Union Canal and into the shallow stop lock, once through the lock it was a steady plod to Wheaton Aston where we dropped into a mooring opposite Turners Garage.

The only time we have been on the Shroppie before was in 2008 but we only did about 3 miles to the first winding hole (turning area) so this was our first opportunity to cross the Stretton Aqueduct which carries the Canal over the A5, I have travelled under it many times as my Mothers side of the family are from Shrewsbury.

Approaching the Aqueduct

Looking west towards Shrewsbury.

After mooring up we went for a short walk to get a loaf and ended up in the Hartley Arms, as we intend to take our visitors there on Saturday we thought an advanced visit was required to check on the Beer choice and menu, both look ok, I had heard that it was expensive but the prices on the menu are just normal pub food level.  

Friday, 12 August 2011

Summer Weather

Thursday,11th, August 2011.
Deptmore Lock to Hatherton Junction.
9.5 Miles, 11 Locks.

Had some heavy rain overnight, enough to wake us up, we got ready to move off at 9 o'clock just as the rain started again so we waited for it to blow over but approaching our first lock of the day, Deptmore it threw it down so we got wet anyway.

That was the last of the heavy rain, we worked through the rest of today's locks and with a few boats coming towards us had quite an easy day, we were grounded on the lock moorings below Filance lock due to the water being 10 inches down, we drifted free when Jayne emptied the lock and the water surged out, once above Gailey we emptied a Cassette and dumped the rubbish.

Tonight we are moored opposite Hatherton Marina just before Hatherton Junction.

Hatherton Junction, we will be taking the right fork tomorrow, the left fork will hopefully one day be the restored Hatherton Canal

Crowther Marine called today and our new Propeller is ready for collection, if we could have got our hands on it before we left we may have been able to find a boatyard with a drydock to fit it while we were out, but it will have to wait now, it will probably get fitted next spring when we drydock No Direction for Blacking. 

This is what we are getting :   A 20 inch prop manufactured with wider blades to produce the same thrust as a 24 inch prop.  Cast in magnesium bronze, fully machined, disc-ground and balanced, wow.

Hopefully we will be able to cruise at the same speed but at lower revs and the "Singing" noise will be a thing of the past.

No Direction resting tonight ready for an early start on Friday, we want to get a mooring at Wheaton Aston for Saturday/Sunday.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

On the Move

Wednesday, 10th, August 2011
Kings Bromley to Half Mile Before Deptmore Lock.
15.5 Miles, 3 Locks. 

Left the Marina at 7.45 today,  from Handsacre we were being followed by a boat that didn't appear to be slowing down when passing moored boats so was slowly gaining on us, we arrived at Armitage tunnel and had to wait as a boat was coming through, the following boat came up close and asked a dumb question " are you waiting to go through".

We stopped for a break at Wolseley Bridge visitor moorings, only for 20 minutes to have a cuppa and toast, we had moored just in front of a unlicenced fibre glass crusier, we soon had a tap on the boat, it was the owner of a moored Narrowboat we had passed, he noticed us mooring up, he warned us that the occupier (note I didn't say owner) of the Crusier was allegedly a know thief and if you stay here tonight you will probably loose something.

Allegedly Dodgy Bloke.

The boater who warned us didn't expect any problems due to the huge Dribbling Rottweiler sat on his boat.

While we were having our break five boats went passed all heading the same way as us so we expected a queue at Colwich lock and we weren't disappointed, only 50 minutes delay, next lock, no queue, same at Tixall lock.

Weather has been poor today, cloudy, heavy rain showers and windy, we've moored just passed Stafford Boat Club south of bridge 96,  Living in Sanity Again is moored on the Private club moorings, very nice, it's obviously not run by the IWA (in joke).

We've just watched Timothy Spall : All at Sea on BBC4, a journey around the coast of Britain in a Dutch Barge, tonight they battled the Irish sea, next episode they get to Liverpool.

Rain has been constant tonight, hope the weather picks up tomorrow we have 11 locks to do
Unusual boat for the Canal spotted today

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Ready to Go

Tuesday, 9th August 2011
Moored in Kings Bromley Marina.

Water tank's full and enough fuel to get us to Wheaton Aston (cheap fuel) so we will be off in the morning, the last time we turned left out of the Marina was May last year, hope I can remember the way to Great Haywood.

No Start time planned, just go when I get up,(after a least 2 mugs of tea), Jayne can stay in bed for a couple of extra hours.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

A Sad Reminder

Saturday, 6th August 2011
Moored in Kings Bromley Marina.

I have added a new blog to our blog list, nb Waiouru.   We've been following it since it was brought to our attention by Bruce on his blog,  words fail me, it just makes me angry and along with the problems the Piston Broke crew are having with the work recently carried out on their boat it acts as a sharp reminder that there are a few people out there best avoided.   Rant Over.

We confess that our only input into the beautiful flower boxes adorning the front and roof of our boat is to water them every couple of days, the plants were chosen and planted by our  "gardener" Sonia, she, along with her other half Phillip are visiting us on Sunday afternoon so I'll get the boxes onto the jetty for her to have a fiddle with, (or what ever gardeners do).  Sunday evening we're off to the Old Peculiar at Handsacre for a meal and a couple of pints.

Tuesday, Jayne has a Hospital appointment and on Wednesday morning we're off cruising again, destination the Queens Head on the Montgomery Canal.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Not Many Days Like Today

Monday/Tuesday, 1st/2nd August 2011.
Festival Weekend.

The IWA Festival is normally held over the August bank holiday weekend, a 3 day event, this year it was held at the end of July, one of the reasons given for moving it was that the traders who attended wanted it in July.

Friday being a working day the Festival opened at noon and closed at 7pm, the attendance appeared low, however Saturday required an overflow car park to be opened up, Sunday the numbers were down again, I spoke to 2 traders who said it had not been a good show for them and 1 said he would not be coming back if the event was held in July again.

There will be no Festival next year as the IWA volunteers who make the show happen will be manning the British Waterways moorings in London for the Olympics, we did hear that the 2013 Festival will be at Newbury but nothing confirmed yet.

Some of the local residents whose gardens back onto the towpath where the visiting boats were moored, really entered into the event, one had a Barbecue set up on Saturday and Sunday with proceeds going to Macmillan Nurses , another selling cold drinks over the weekend supporting St Giles Hospice and another selling eggs and other produce.

On Sunday morning as I was walking along the towpath the Lady selling the eggs asked if I would like to buy some, but we didn't need any, then she asked when we were moving the boat and could she and a Friend have a ride on it when we turned around, so at 8.30 on Monday morning we had 3 passengers for the trip down through Dallow lock to Horninglow basin to turn and back to our weekend mooring, I think the real reason they wanted to be on the boat was to check out all the gardens which you can only see from the Canal.

The 3 Passengers

After turning round we moored up again for some breakfast, which turned out to be a good idea as we were to have a long wait until our next meal.

We slowly made our way through the moored boats and headed back towards Kings Bromley, we had slight delays at the locks which is to be expected in July/August, at Wychnor lock there was a bigger queue, this was the slow filling lock that had delayed us almost 3 hours last Wednesday, the delay today was about 45 minutes.

Kildare enters Alrewas Lock.

A strong boom to keep boats away from the weir on the River Trent at Alrewas.

We were behind the Historic boats President and Kildare  all the way back which included passing through Fradley Junction with plenty of photographers and Gongoozlers outside the pub and on the bridge over Junction lock, as it takes twice as long to get President and Kildare through the locks, our journey back was taking longer than expected.

We cleared Shadehouse lock, only 1 more lock to go now, we could see President and Kildare in the distance, the Canal goes straight for about 3/4 of a mile here, we could see something was wrong, President had got stuck on the mud, being a Steamer with a slow reving engine it needs a large diameter propeller, 36 inches and therefore needs over 3 feet of water to operate in, unfortunately the canals aren't dredged these days and this was the result.

A long range fuzzy shot of the crew trying to get off the mud.

We stopped about 100 yards behind the grounded boat and waited for 30 minutes, they had untied the butty which only takes 15 inches to float and moved it with a pole, they then sent a crew member down to us and asked if we could squeeze through the gap between them and the bank, we got through OK as we only need 27inches of water, then they asked if we would try and pull President off the mud, we attached the tow rope to one of our rear dollies and gently took up the slack, piled some revs on and bingo after a few seconds we started to move it, unfortunately the butty wasn't attached to President so we can,t claim to have towed them both.

Yes, it moves.

Once President was floating freely again I threw the tow rope to one of the Presidents men on the towpath and carried on to Woodend lock, tied up and allowed President to go straight into the open lock.

Kildare is pulled into the lock

After the crew had worked both boats through the lock we took No Direction through, we passed them after they had reversed in the new Ownashare Marina just before the A515 bridge where they had arranged to moor overnight.

We now have a week in the Marina before we set off again.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Saving The President

Monday, 1st August 2011.
Shobnall to Kings Bromley.
14 miles and 15 Locks.

Just got back from the Festival at 9.15 pm after an eventful day so just a taster blog tonight, I will do a fuller one tomorrow.

This is the view of President, the Historic Steamboat from the rear deck of No Direction as we tow it,  yes you did read it correctly.

More Tomorrow.