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.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

We Feel Really Sorry - - - -

- - - for all you lot who still have to go to work in weather like this, but don't worry we're enjoying it for you.

Yesterday evening we helped put a large Marquee up in one of the fields which will be used this weekend as part of the Village at War Festival, don't know what's going in it but we will find out Saturday.

Today we went for a walk, Stoke Bruerne is a real visitor honeypot, there's always plenty of people around, some with tape recorders (or the modern equivalent) pinned to their ear as they follow the tour route down past the locks one side of the canal, cross over the bridge at back up the other side to the Village.

We went up towards the Tunnel and had a look in the Blacksmith's workshop, it's run by Bob Nightingale in a building know as the "Tug Store" close to the Tunnel, Bob is hard of hearing due to forty years of hammering and banging so he needs to see your face for a bit of lip reading.

He has various bits of his work on display and we bought these "things" in the picture below.

They are for mooring up against Piling or Armco what ever it's called, we normally use chains which pass around the Armco and the mooring rope goes through a ring on the chain, the problem is that you have to get down really low to get the chain in position, I toppled into the Canal three years ago whilst mooring at Weedon and nearly went in again a couple of days ago.

These mooring legs, as I have now decided to call them, drop down through the Armco and due to their length and weight stay in position, you can also pass the rope through the eye before you drop them into the Armco, I have only seen one other boater using them although the Blacksmith did say that some hireboats have them.

While I carried our "mooring legs" back to the boat Jayne stayed around the Museum area, there was a reporter/cameraman with his equipment set up taking videos of what was going on, he was interviewing Geraldine from the Cheese Boat as we went past and then he caught Jayne and asked her a few question's, the last time I saw him he was stood in front of the camera doing his final piece, a very professional one man reporting crew, he was from Anglia Television which is broadcast in this area so we will watch the local news tomorrow night.

This afternoon we sat out on the towpath next to the boat watching the world go by, the whole length of towpath between locks 15 and 16 is now full with moored boats so we will probably have someone moored along side soon, with this weather forecast to last over the weekend it looks like it's going to be busy.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

2 For 1 For 1

Monday/Tuesday, 26th/27th September, 2011.
Braunston to Stoke Bruerne.
21 Miles 15 Locks + 4 locks to turn round.


We left Braunston around 9.30 and found another boat waiting in the first lock of the Braunston flight, this was good timing as British Waterways are asking boaters to share these locks due to water shortages, we went up the six locks together, we met two hire boats coming down at one lock with the crew opening the bottom gates for us, some hireboat crews know exactly what they are doing.  Through Braunston Tunnel, it was the driest we have ever known it with no water coming down the ventilation shafts or through the brickwork.

I spotted this wide beam on Sunday but didn't see it come past,but it must have done as it was at the top of the Braunston Flight. 

We stopped on the visitor moorings at the top of Buckby locks  for a late breakfast/early lunch, I also filled the water tank and emptied the cassettes. There was a Lockeeper on duty trying make sure boats shared the locks, again, due to water shortages however he must have missed the hireboat crew who came up the top lock on their own, tied up on the lock moorings and went to the pub for lunch. 

Convenient mooring for the pub.

With the top lock full we went in and waited for another boat, one soon arrived but wanted to fill the water tank so we had a 20 minute wait, the hireboat crew were watching closely whilst eating their lunch outside the pub, when the other boat had finished filling the tank they headed for the lock, one of the hireboat crew jumped up and came to see what was going to happen as I don't think he knew two boats could fit in the same lock.

We went down the rest of the flight with the same boat and carried on to Weedon for the night,  there's a Marstons 2 for 1 Pub next to the Canal, the Heart of England so we decided to have a meal there, we went in at 6.05 and ordered a starter and main, on the next table was a elderly gentleman who was on his own, when his order arrived there were 2 X Steak and chips on separate plates, well it was 2 for 1 with no mention that there needed to be 2 people dining, he polished off the first plate and then slid the second one into position and enjoyed that one as well.

No such luck for us as, having waited 30 minutes for the starter and then another 45 for the main we enquired where it was, the waitress returned to say that it was just being " Plated Up", (sounds like an industrial process), another 10 minutes past and still no food, then another member of staff arrived to say it would be another 10 minutes, "No it won't mate we're off", they didn't charge us for the starters, I think they were too embarassed.


After a quick stop at bridge 32 so that we could get to the "One Stop" shop in Nether Heyford for milk we had a very pleasant journey, sun shining, blue skies and very little wind, through the Blisworth Tunnel, (this one was very wet) and back out into brilliant sunshine.

Always plenty of Gongoozlers at Stoke Bruene top lock.

We went down 4 of the 7 Stoke Bruerne locks to where we could wind (turn around) then back up 2 and moored in what is known as the long pound below lock 2, we will be here until after the weekend.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Around Braunston.

Sunday, 25th September 2011.
Moored at Braunston.

Walking around Braunston Marina and the Junction today, here are a few pictures.

The 1937 Narrowboat Dover, subject of a Television Series about it's rebuild in 2005, perhaps the rebuild wasn't that good after all as it's now out of the water having the hull over-plated.

The large property at the Junction is going to auction, guide price £190,000 +, it doesn,t seem to have any road access though.

Couldn,t find any info on Savills website about it.

Move over Fatty

A Broad beam boat came down from Wigrams Turn and moored outside Midland
 Swindlers Chandlers, they didn,t come past us so they must have gone back towards Wigrams.

There's been a Lock Keeper on duty at Braunston bottom lock this weekend to ensure that 2 boats share the double locks to save water, I walked up and spoke to him this afternoon, I asked if there was someone at the top lock telling boaters to share the locks but surprisingly there wasn't, so you could come down the locks on your own but not go up !! we will find out in the morning when we go up the flight.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Settled For The Weekend.

Saturday, 24th, September, 2011.
Hillmorton to Braunston.
6.5 Miles.

At honeypot moorings such as Braunston we try to arrive  between 10.30 to 11.30, the hire boats from the previous night will have gone and hopefully we find a slot, so it was today as we rounded the bend off the Oxford and spotted a suitable space on the visitor moorings just before the pub.
Two moorings ahead of us is nb Hyskier owned by Pete and Dave, they were just returning from the shop as I was on my way for some fresh bread.

First job after lunch was to re-align the front fender which had moved to the side a bit then the engine had an oil change and new filter.

Tonight we visited the Boathouse with Pete and Dave and had a very good evening.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Brass Monkey Weather.

Friday, 23rd September, 2011.
Nuneaton to Hillmorton.
21.25 Miles 4 Locks.

Yes it was cold, I started off at 7 o'clock and didn't think it was to bad but an hour later the wind had picked up and it was bitter.

We had a fairly trouble free journey, British Waterways are repairing the towpath at Ansty and had 2 work boats almost blocking the Cut but we squeezed through.

You always know when you are approaching Sutton Stop (Hawksbury Junction) the locals glow.
Why do people do this to their garden ?.

Is it a toy lorry or a real one?.

Bridge 15 on the North Oxford Canal which was  demolished in May is being tidied up nicely,
just needs a bit of graffiti to finish the job.

This was it in May when we went past.

Not that many boats around until we reached the outskirts of Rugby then it increased, we past Paul off nb Piston Broke, looked like he was walking back from the shops, Lynne must be away for the weekend.

We arrived at Hillmorton Locks at 3.10 and were second in a queue, as I waited on the lock moorings at the second lock while a boat descended, a "Canal Break" hire boat came out of Grantham Boat Services, the steerer had obviously received next to no training or instructions and started heading for the lock even though a boat was about to emerge, I shouted to the crew that there was a queue for the lock which seemed to surprise the steerer who selected neutral, I then told him that if he wished to slow down or stop then reverse would be good, eventually he got the idea and reversed back allowing the other boat to leave the lock and we went in.

Due to water shortages (they are back pumping at Hillmorton) only the towpath side of the dual locks were open, there was a British Waterways lock keeper there but he didn't seem very interested as he had taken his life jacket off and was eating a yogurt, perhaps he had finished for the day.

We are now moored on the visitor moorings above the top lock, after we had tied up 2 "Willow Wren" hire boats went past full of male twenty somethings, half of them standing on the roof with bottles of Lager. (Lager, a beer like substance, credit to Jim on Starcross for that description)

Tomorrow we hope to moor at Braunston amongst the brass polishing rivet counters for the weekend.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Off Again

Wednesday/Thursday, 21/22nd September, 2011.
Kings Bromley Marina to Nuneaton..
27.25 Miles, 16 Locks.


We left later than planned on Wednesday, found a queue at Woodend Lock, our first of the day but at the next lock the queue had disappeared, it's just a very slow lock, we stopped for the night at Fazeley after a day battling the strong wind.


We had an early start today and got to Atherstone bottom lock at 10.45, no queue, we had a steady climb up the flight meeting a few boats coming down, we used the side pound at lock 6, the only one that works, a boat pulled out from a mooring in front of us as we approached lock 5 so that slowed us a bit but we still cleared the 11 locks in 2 hours 20 minutes.
We used to think the Atherstone locks were a pain but we've now done them so many times we quite like them.

Along the visitor moorings above the locks stands this sign.

A local walking their dog said that they have never seen a British Waterways boat moored there and they think  that it is the person who owns the house who has put it there to deter boats from mooring at the bottom of there garden, if they have, it certainly looks like the real thing.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

A Good Night

Tuesday, 20th, September 2011.

Tonight, along with our friends Debbi and Tony  who also have a boat at Kings Bromley Marina went to the Old Peculiar at Handsacre (by car), a good family run pub just a short walk from bridge 58 on the Trent and Mersey Canal, Jayne and Deb said their Gammon was a bit salty, Tony's steak was ok and my curry was excellent.

The beer wasn't bad either.

Tomorrow we are off Cruising again, destination, Stoke Bruerne.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Ready For Take Off.

Tuesday, 20th September, 2011.

The picture below was taken back in April, the resident Marina Swans had produced 7 eggs.

7 to start with.

In May there were 5  (1 behind the adult on the right.)

5 hatched but only 3 made it through the summer, they have now grown to be almost the same size as there parents.

The 3 that made it.

This week we have watched them being shown how to take off by the parents, when they have mastered this the adults will chase them off the Marina, they will then have to fend for themselves.  

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Double Yokers

Sunday, 18th, September, 2011.

When we bought a dozen eggs from Georges Pork and Poultry who trade from the lock side at Audlem bottom lock they were advertised as double yokers, I was interested how the owner, Amy George, could tell they were double yoke eggs, I had visions of the poor chickens being fed some Frankenstein type drugs but the answer was very simple, she goes by the size and so far her judgement has been spot on as every one has been a double yoker.

Another Fine Example from Amy's Chickens.

After breakfast Jayne dropped me over at Atherstone locks where I assisted getting Nutfield and Raymond up the flight in 2 hours 45 minutes which was good going, it also meant that Jayne only had 2 hours shopping/spending time in Tamworth before she had to pick me up, which was also very good!!!.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Boating Again.

Friday/Saturday, 16th/17th September 2011.

Friday I had offered to help get Historic boats Nutfield and Raymond from Atherstone to the Huddlesford Boat Gathering which was taking place on Saturday.

The boats were being brought from there home mooring at Braunston Marina by 3 other crew members and were due to be at the top of the Atherstone lock flight Thursday evening ready for an 8 o'clock start on Friday.  Jayne dropped me off by car at 7.45 and I walked up to the top lock and found that the boats weren't there, they were running late due to a hold up at Hillmorton, they arrived at 8.30 and we started down the flight.
We had expected a lot boats to be using the flight with the restricted opening hours introduced by British Waterways due to water shortages, but found very few, we got both boats down in 3 hours.

We past Alvecote Marina with it's usual collection of old boats.

We arrived at Huddlesford about 4.30, turned the boats around and moored in our allocated spots, Jayne arrived in the car to pick me up but we all decided to spend the evening eating and drinking in the Plough, I read somewhere that it's closing down, we won't miss it, not one of our favorites.

Saturdays weather was sunny with short sharp and very heavy rain showers but there were still plenty of people around in the afternoon, 4 o'clock we started to pack up and the boats left at 5, I will be back at Atherstone on Sunday morning to work them through the 11 locks and then leave the rest of the crew to take them back to Braunston.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

A Trip To Oldham.

Thursday 15th September 2011.

This is our new Crowther Propeller.

Today we drove up to Oldham to collect our new Propeller from Crowther Marine, hopefully it will cure our noise.

Crowthers are situated in an huge old Textile mill, "Belgrave Mill No 1" to be precise, which is now used by a number of smaller businesses, they are quite difficult to find but as with most specialists companies they don't need to be on a main road.

The other Mill close by is "Maple Mill", looking at these old buildings it is easy to imagine what a hectic smoky place it was at the height of the textile industry.  

Crowther Marine, hidden away.

The whole process of propeller manufacture used to take place in the factory, but Health and Safety regs brought an end to the pouring of the molten metal, that is now done elsewhere, the rough casts are then machined and balanced here.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Last Day

Sunday, 11th, September, 2011.
Deptmore Lock to King's Bromley Marina.
16 Miles, 4 Locks.

We are now back at King's Bromley Marina after an uneventful journey.  Only four locks today, but that was enough in the strong wind, the weather saved the worst until we turned into the Marina then the rain started and the wind increased, fortunately the wind direction helped as we reversed onto our jetty making it look like we knew what we were doing.

Well maintained Lock Cottage at Tixall Lock.

We have a busy week ahead with boat cleaning and fettling, the Huddlesford Boat Gathering (but not in our boat) where I will be with "Nutfield and Raymond" and then getting ready for our trip to the Stoke Bruerne "Village at War Weekend".

Saturday, 10 September 2011

An early Start

Saturday 10th September 2011.
Wheaton Aston to Deptmore Lock.
22.75 Miles 12 Locks.

Off at first light today up to the water point and filled up, then it was up Wheaton Aston lock and a long steady cruise to Autherley Junction, it's a tight turn if you want to go left.

At Gailey lock the Viking Afloat fleet were being lined up for the next hirers.

Yellow Peril's lined up.

We kept up a steady pace through the locks and stopped just short of Deptmoor lock, tomorrow we will get back to Kings Bromley Marina.

Friday, 9 September 2011


Friday, 9th September 2011.
Gnosall to Wheaton Aston.
5 Miles.

Short journey today in nice sunshine.

Entering Cowley Tunnel.

When we arrived at Wheaton Aston a boat was moored on Turners fuel Wharf  filling up so we moored opposite on the Visitor moorings, we needed bread and milk so I walked to the Spar shop in the Village.

After lunch, about 1.30 we moved over to Turners and filled up, the Red Diesel was 71.9p Ltr base price, this was good news as we had passed Norbury Wharf yesterday and the price there was 73.9p. we then shuffled back across to our original mooring.

However when we walked over to the Hartley Arms this evening we noticed the price had gone up 1p to 72.9p, Friday afternoon inflation.

The fuel consumption of No Direction since we filled up here in August has been 1.54 Ltrs per hour, we will measure it again after we have fitted our new Crowther propeller.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Watching The Fuel.

Thursday, 8th September 2011.
Market Drayton to Gnosall.
13.5 Miles and 5 Locks.

I have been keeping an eye on the fuel level as we head back, we want to get to Turners Garage in Wheaton Aston to fill up as they are much much cheaper than any of the boatyard's and Marina's along the Llangollen canal, we filled up at Turners on the way up to Llangollen, we also filled two jerry cans, one of which we have used, but as we only have a two hour cruise tomorrow we will be OK.

We arrived at Tyrley bottom lock this morning and followed another boat up, we had a helper, a man walking his dog stayed with us all the way up the flight closing one of the bottom gates at every lock, I think he liked chatting to boaters and having a play with the locks, never mind his help was appreciated.

After clearing the top lock we pulled over to use the services then moved 100 yards onto the Visitor moorings for breakfast.

Today we passed through Woodseaves Cutting, glad I didn't have to dig it out.

Tonight we are at Gnosall, a Village with two Canal side Pubs, The Boat Inn and The Navigation, we chose the Navigation and weren't disappointed, we had an excellent meal, in fact Jayne claimed her Steak and Chips was the best pub meal for a long time.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

It's Still Blowing.

Wednesday, 7th September 2011.
Audlem Mill to Market Drayton.
6 Miles 17 Locks.

A boat came past this morning heading down the locks so we got going hoping the 12 remaining locks of the Audlem flight would be in our favour which they were, after clearing the flight we carried on to the visitor moorings at the bottom of the Adderley flight where we stopped for a late Breakfast, the wind along this section was very strong pinning us to the bank when we tried to move off.

We worked up the Adderley flight and stopped at the top lock to buy homemade cakes from Alison who runs Adderley Wharf Farm Shop.

We are now on Visitor moorings at Market Drayton where it's been raining all evening.

Shall we go or shall we stay.

Tuesday, 6th September 2011 (My Birthday)
Hurleston Top Lock to Audlem.
9 Miles, 9 Locks.

We sat drinking tea this morning debating if we should move or stay on our mooring, the reason, the gale force winds which had kept Jayne awake most of last night (not me though) and was still howling, after a hour or so we decided we would move.

Going down the 4 Hurleston locks worked out ok as plenty of boats were coming up heading for the Ellesmere Boat Rally next weekend.

Nantwich and Border Counties Yacht Club, Strange thing to have on a Canal.

We headed down the Shropshire Union Canal through Hack Green Locks and passed the Secret Bunker, no time for a visit on this trip but we will try next time, the wind was still very strong making boat control difficult in the exposed sections.

We arrived at Audlem bottom lock and found that Georges Pork and Poultry were open for business on the lockside, we bought a dozen eggs, double yokers apparently, we will let you know.

Amy George of "Georges Pork and Poultry" at the bottom lock.

As Jayne was setting the third lock up, the one before the pub where we wanted to moor I asked over the radio if there was any room for us, yes she replied theres only one boat here, as we moored up I spotted that the other boat was Starcross belonging to Jim Davies who's blog I have been reading for years, nice to meet you at last Jim.

Starcross heads for the lock.

As Jim was single handed on this trip I went ahead and assisted him down the 3 remaining locks of the flight.

Tonight we went to the Shroppie Fly for a meal, remembering the huge potions they serve up I chose from the smaller "Nostalgia Menu" and had Scampi and Chips in a basket, pub food in a Basket, real seventies stuff.

Tomorrow we hope to get to Market Drayton.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Plenty Of Water Here.

Sunday/Monday 4th and 5th September 2011.
New Marton Locks to Hurleston Top Lock.
32.25 Miles, 14 locks, Triple Staircase Lock, 8 Lift Bridges.


We had a good run on Sunday despite it being the busiest day of the trip so far, got through the only two locks of the day at New Marton early before anyone else was about.
Passing the Jack Mytton Inn at Hindford I counted 14 Hireboats on the moorings or very close, there are certainly plenty of hirers around.

After a quick shop at Ellesmere to re-stock the freezer we got going again, we wanted to be at Grindley Brook locks for Sunday night which we managed. 

Not all the Llangollen Canal is tight and twisty, this is the section over Whixall Moss.


We moved the short distance to the Grindley Brook services, while we were there an Austrailian crew on a hireboat arrived and started to prepare the staircase lock, they almost got it right, apart from emptying the top chamber into an already full middle chamber.

Decending the Staircase.

Plenty of water coming down the side weirs making entering and leaving locks difficult.

Jayne holds the gate shut as another boater presses the button to lower Wrenbury Lift Bridge.

Today we've had heavy rain showers and very strong wind making steering difficult, tonight we have moored above the Hurleston locks, we had intended to drop down these today but gave in to the wind. 

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Three Times In One Day.

Saturday, 3rd September, 2011
Trevor to New Marton Locks.
7.5 Miles.

We had a quiet night moored in the Trevor arm considering it was close to a path used by the locals, the only noise we heard were the crew from the boat moored in front of us attempting a Barbecue. 

We had arranged for Jayne's friends to arrive around 11 o'clock today, they have rented a cottage in Llangollen for the weekend so we texted them the post code of the pub, they found the pub and us.

Once all were on board we turned the boat around and headed for the Aquaduct, no boats coming in the opposite direction so off we went.

5 Women on a boat and no one steering, that's because he had to jump off and take this piccy.

The plan to stop at the Aquaduct Inn fell through as there were no moorings, anyway it looked a steep hill to expect Jayne to get up so after winding (turning around) we headed back to the Aquaduct where we followed a hireboat across, back at the Trevor end we carried on down the arm back to last nights mooring which was still vacant, there are moorings closer to the junction but these are all occupied by Anglo Welsh hireboats Friday afternoon and Saturdays.

The entrance to the arm is a bit tight due to the Hireboats, but is was Saturday which is their busiest day.

By now it was lunch time so we all walked over to the Telford Inn for a meal which was ok but a little on the expensive side, Jayne and I then returned to the boat and set off over the Aquaduct again to start our journey back to Kings Bromley Marina, now it was drizzling, by the time we passed through Chirk it had turned to rain.

Crossing  the Chirk Aquaduct, this one is dwarfed by the railway Viaduct

Tonight we are moored above New Marton Locks, tomorrow Jayne wants to stop at Ellesmere and re-stock the freezer, it's 3 hours from here to Ellesmere so a 7 o'clock start should see us at the supermarket when they open at 10.

Friday, 2 September 2011

View From The Bottom.

Friday, 2nd Septenber 2011.
Llangollen to Trevor.
4.75 Miles.

Out of the mooring basin today and stopped at Llangollen Wharf to use the services, exceptionally slow water tap, we then carried on to Trevor only meeting 1 boat in the narrow section, a hired day boat, they reverse 10 yards and we managed to pass.

A Horse Drawn Boat service operates from Llangollen Wharf along the piece of Canal that we can't use. 

The guide book says 14 day moorings at Trevor but most are occupied by Anglo Welsh hireboats, as we continued down the arm under the last bridge the Canal splits into 2 at the old Canal/Railway basin, we took the right fork and moored on the only mooring space, the left fork is home to trip boats, both are dead ends.

Left or Right ?

We chose the right side.

Once we were secured I went for a walk following the path which leads down towards the River Dee under the Aquaduct, if the Pontcysyllte Aquaduct looks impressive from above the view looking up at it is staggering.

Only halfway down the path yet.

The foundations in the River remind me of Tower Bridge in London

Leaning over the edge to try and  get a good shot, then !!!!

Disaster !!!

Managed to snap this one on the way down but no harm done as I landed on my head!

We have arranged for our Visitors to arrive at 11 o'clock tomorrow, Jayne's idea is that we cross the Aquaduct, stop for Lunch at the Aquaduct Inn, and the bring our guests back to Trevor, however my idea is that we go for lunch and then tell our guests to walk back to Trevor.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Still In Llangollen.

Moored in Llangollen Mooring Basin.

We paid for 48 hours mooring when we arrived on Monday but we liked it so much we paid for another 48, this was only allowed as the Basin is not very busy.

Moored in the Basin

Today we did a little shopping and then spent an enjoyable few hours on the platform of Llangollen Railway Station, sitting in the sun drinking Coffee while the volunteers who run the Heritage railway went about their work, I could have sat there all day. 

Looking down the track from the footbridge.

It doesn't go that far anymore.

At 12.33 the train arrived and a surprising number of passengers got off, of course the guard and porter were dressed in the correct uniforms
Fancy an Engine Driving Course, they range from £200 to £395

Chuff, Chuff, Chuff.

Later this afternoon I cycled a couple of miles along the towpath to Horseshoe Falls, the place where the Canal gets it water from, the water then travels 44 odd miles to Hurleston Reservoir from where it is then supplied to taps in Chester.

Horseshoe shaped weir.

What a brilliant piece of engineering, keeping the Canal at the correct level and, moving water to the Reservoir, all this and it doesn't use any power.

Any water that doesn't go over the Weir goes through this Culvert under the Valve House.

And comes out here, you can tell by the turbulence that a serious amount of water is coming through.

Tomorrow morning we are off back to Trevor where we hope to moor until our visitors arrive on Saturday.