Book 14

Canal Cruising 2018

An eBook and website by Cyril J Wood


The title photograph shows sunset over the Bridgewater Canal at Walton


This section of the Canalscape Website is dedicated to the memory of my friend John Moult who died in February of this year



Click here for the latest entries or on the required section below to follow links

Chapter 1 - Canalmanac 2018 Part 1

  Chapter 2 - Easter Escape Cruise 2018
  Chapter 3 - Canalmanac 2018 Part 2
  Chapter 4 - Summer Cruise 2018


Chapter 5 - Canalmanac 2018 Part 3

Canalography 2018


Return to Introduction


Chapter 1 - Canalmanac 2018 Part 1 (in preparation)

Winter Mooring by canal artist Pete Tuffrey

Our first trip up to Agden in 2018 was on Saturday the 13th January. We arranged to meet Paul and Ollie Savage up there but we were delayed due to a screw in one of the car's tyres and the complete tyre having to be replaced. After an hour and quite a few pounds lighter we left for Agden. When we arrived at the moorings Alan Savage had the kettle on for a cuppa before we went down to check on the boat. When we had caught up with the latest news and finished our cuppas we walked down the moorings to out boat and checked that everything was okay.

Front view of Squirrel on its moorings on a grey, winter's day

It was a grey day and I was please to see that the solar panel was charging half an amp... not a lot but enough to keep the batteries ticking over. Even so I started the engine and let it run for an hour or so whilst I did a few jobs. When we had completed all we set out to do we had another cuppa with Paul and Ollie and discussed our plans for the forthcoming year including a trip to Crick Boat Show and the dates for our summer holiday cruise along the Llangollen and Montgomery Canals. With our cuppas finished and the boat put back to bed we loaded the car and set off for home.

2018 started off sadly for Lymm Cruising Club. First we had the death of Leo Pollard. Leo was a past Commodore, Chairman and Vice-President of Lymm CC and one of the characters of the Club. Leo had suffered with poor health during the last few years which spurred him to sell his narrowboat Lady Dinah and become a non-cruising member.

Leo Pollard - Vice President of Lymm Cruising Club

Not long afterwards the death of John Moult was announced. As well as being a personal friend, John was a past Commodore, Past President and the last post he held was that of Harbourmaster, a position that he held for twenty six years. John and his wife Beryl are lifetime members of the Club and had blue and yellow (the colours of Lymm CC) blood running through his veins. There is not a single member that hasn't benefited from his experience, expertise and knowledge. I first met John and Beryl in 1989 and over the years have spent many happy hours in his presence and shared many a laugh with him. I enjoyed being in his company, feel honoured to have known him and to have classed him as one of my friends. He will be greatly missed by Ange and myself as well as his family and members of Lymm CC.  Our thoughts are with Beryl and the family at this time and I have dedicated this section of Canalscape to his memory.

John Moult and his Ferguson tractor

John's Humanist funeral the following week was officiated by Lymm CC's Development Officer Kate Clarkson at Altrincham Crematorium. Afterwards, the wake (appropriately named) was at Lymm CC's Clubhouse which was full of past members, present members, friends and family. We all gave John a good send-off, remembering the good times that we spent in his company. There was a board on the stage with photographs attached to it. Many of them were taken by myself. which proved to me that my work here is done!

John doing what he liked best - working on his beloved narrowboat... Don Ross

A few days after John's funeral I was in Liverpool having a warranty inspection done on the car. The Kia main dealers are on Sefton Street close to the Albert Dock and directly opposite them is a side street that leads to Liverpool Marina. I had to wait for a couple of hours whilst the car was being attended to so I thought that as I was in the area, had not visited Liverpool Marina and just happened to have the Leica with me it would be rude not to go for a walk and take some photographs of said marina. Access by water is via Wapping and Queen's Docks but when I reached the quayside I was taken by surprise when I saw the size of it... huge... and that is just the first part in Brunswick Dock. There is another part in the adjacent Coburg Dock that is equally huge.

The inland entrance to Liverpool Marina is via Wapping and Queen's Docks

First view... narrowboats, wide-beams, yachts and sea-going cruisers moored adjacent to each other

The main basin looking towards the River Mersey entrance lock

At the far end of Brunswick Dock is a lock that gives access to and from the River Mersey. This lock is quite unusual as it has a near square chamber spanned by a lift bridge and possesses radial lock gates. Whilst I was there a cruiser came off the River Mersey into the entrance lock and I photographed its progress.

The basin off the River Mersey giving access to the entrance lock

The entrance lock has unusual radial gates and a lift bridge over the lock chamber

Close-up of the unusual radial lock gates

The unusually square lock chamber with a cruiser waiting to access the marina

Once the water levels are equalized the gates can be opened allowing the cruiser to go to its berth

I hope that you enjoyed this quick excursion around Liverpool Marina as much as I did. I had always meant to visit the area but didn't have the opportunity to do so. When you are moored on the jetty in Salthouse Dock now you know what is at the other end of the docks. Oh... and just in case you were wondering... the car was given a clean bill of health! Readers wanting to know more about the Liverpool Link can click on the title to go to the part of the Canalscape Website that is dedicated to the history, building and geography of the Liverpool Link.

A well wrapped-up Ruby in the snow whilst out for a walk

We are deep in the grasp of a really cold spell and there is actually snow on the Wirral (see photograph of Ruby above)... usually unheard of. Needless to say, the Leica came out to play to capture the photographic opportunities that presented themselves. One of my snow photographs taken at Carlett Park, Eastham was used as a weather photograph on the ITV Granada Weather Photograph and is reproduced below along with the original un-cropped photograph for your delectation!

A screenshot of the Granada Weather Forecast showing my photograph of Carlett Park in the snow...

...and the original un-cropped photograph

Spare a thought for the workmen on the narrowboat in the photograph below. When we venture out in conditions such as this it is because we want to (or to take photographs)... they did it because they had to make a living. I don't envy the guy on the bicycle either. One slip and he's definitely getting a change of clothing! Also, they didn't have to worry about damaging the hull blacking in the ice!

Icebreaking in a narrowboat

(Photograph - Waterways World)

The bargain of the week came courtesy of Aldi Stores. I hade seen on Facebook reference to Polypropylene braided rope that was one of Aldi Stores' "Special Buys". As we were in need of new mooring ropes it seemed to be just what we wanted. The rope was 15mm thickness and came in a 10 metre length... just enough to make two mooring ropes from and all for £3.99! When Ange was out shopping I asked her to keep an eye open for it and, guess what? She bought the last length from our local Bidston store and went to the Moreton store the next day and bought the last three they had in stock. So now I even have a couple of lengths spare for future use. Well done Ange!.

The Aldi "Special Buy" 10 mtrs of 15mm Polypropylene braided rope

Even though the rope is braided and is made from Polypropylene, once cut to length the ends can be sealed with heat or heat-shrink tubing. I don't think that it would be possible to purchase rope such as this for such a price elsewhere. It seems to have been a long winter and I can't wait to fit it the new mooring ropes. My thoughts are now turning to the jobs on my "to do" list that I want to do when the weather gets a bit warmer.

The new mooring rope in place... just the right length!

Ange had an engagement party to attend in Burnley the following weekend so after she had left Ruby and I headed up to Agden to spend the weekend on the boat and do a couple of jobs in preparation the Easter Cruise. It was raining when we arrived on Saturday afternoon so any jobs had to be inside ones. I renewed a couple of audio cables connected to the stereo and also fitted a new charging cable for my phone which was a different fitting to the previous one. this took me nicely up to teatime after which we relaxed watching TV. Next morning, the first job was to fill the fresh water tank. Whilst it was filling I fitted the new mooring rope which turned out to be exactly the right size. I only put a small amount in the tank so that I could check for leaks before filling the tank fully. After turning off the water tap filling the tank I turned on the boat's fresh water pump and opened a tap to get rid of any airlocks, Eventually, when the pressure had built up, water was only trickling out of the taps. My first thought was that there was a fault on the pump but, by a process of elimination, I discovered that there was a blockage in the pipe-work between the tank and the pump. I remembered that we had a similar problem when we first bought the boat. Even though the tank is made from stainless steel, a small section of pipe (socket) between the stainless steel outlet pipe and the plastic pipe-work union was made of steel.

Close-up of the fresh water tank outlet pipe... the centre section of pipe is the one I suspect is blocked

Due to electrolytic action caused by dissimilar metals being in contact with each other, I thought that the blockage lay here and corrosion had blocked this small section of steel pipe. I tried blowing through the pipe with a length of flexible hose but this was to no avail. The only other alternative is to empty the tank completely, remove the individual pipe-work fittings and replace the offending section of pipe. In preparation for this I left the tap and pump running for a while to empty the small amount of water in the tank but, due to the low trickle rate this would take quite a while and as I had to leave for home I put this task off for another day.

I booked a day off work mid-week and returned to Agden to replace the blocked fitting on the day that Stephen Hawking died. He was one of my heroes and I will admit to shedding a tear when I heard of his death. The night before I awoke at 3.30 am with a "light bulb moment". Instead of waiting for hours whilst the fresh water pump struggled to empty the tank I thought why not insert a length of hosepipe into the tank through the filler and connect it directly to the pump. Accordingly, whilst packing the car with the tools that I might need, a length of hosepipe was also packed. I had previously purchased a small pipe wrench specifically for this job due to the confined space that I would be working in. Ruby accompanied me to keep me company and "pass me the tools" and as soon as we arrived I tried my "light bulb moment" solution to emptying the tank which worked perfectly.

The hosepipe with one end inserted into the water tank filler and the other attached to the fresh water pump

Once the tank was empty I re-attached the original pipe to the pump to empty the "dregs" out of the tank. After a cup of coffee with Alan Savage we returned to the boat and started to strip-down the offending pipe work. I assembled my tools including the new pipe wrench, disconnected the pipes from the pump and as soon as I touched the tank outlet pipe it came away in my hand, Closer inspection proved that the offending fitting, known as a socket, was indeed corroded internally which was preventing the full flow of water to the pump. The corrosion had not only affected the inside of the fitting, the unseen threaded exterior was also corroded but could not be seen until removed. Part of it remained in the output pipe from the tank which I cleaned as best as I could and started to reassemble everything but using a flexible hose between the remains of the socket and the tank outlet. I am grateful that the socket broke in two as it did instead of happening when the water tank was full. This could have flooded the interior of the boat and would have done a lot of damage. I was relieved when the pipe work was completed. The hoses were a tight fit and I did not have any Jubilee Clips of that size but at least the bulk of the work was completed. One more job to tick off the list! Having to work in such a confined space was challenging. I had scraped my knuckles and arms in numerous places and working through such a small access hatch made me feel a bit like a gynaecologist!

The water pump and tank pipe work

The following day there was a disastrous breach on the Middlewich Branch of the Shroppie. The breach took place at the River Wheelock Aqueduct just past the last houses on the way out of Middlewich before Stanhope Lock. The aqueduct appears to be intact but the adjacent embankment looks to be most affected. Due to the severity of the breach it will take many months to complete remedial work and, as well as disrupting the Four Counties Ring, it prevents access to the Northern Shroppie and the Llangollen Canal unless a lengthy detour along the Trent and Mersey/Staffordshire and Worcestershire/Southern Shropshire Union Canals. Our plans to cruise the Llangollen and Montgomery Canals on our Summer Cruise are now in jeopardy so "Plan B" will be to ascend Heartbreak Hill and pass through Harecastle Tunnel to the Caldon canal which, to be honest, we have wanted to cruise in its entirety since first visiting it a few years ago when we managed to cruise as far as Stanley Moss. We will now have to wait and see how Canal and River Trust get on with restoring through navigation before making any concrete plans... watch this space for developments.

The breach on the Middlewich Branch of the Shroppie just outside Middlewich

(Photograph - Dominic Devaney)

That weekend we had planned to go on Lymm Cruising Club's Opening Cruise to Grappenhall but there was a bad weather warning in place plus we had snow and icey winds in Wallasey. Usually, when we have snow it indicates even worse weather conditions elsewhere. As it was also Michael (my stepson's) birthday and Ange had something planned we thought it best to stay at home. However, the following weekend I went up to Agden with Ruby to complete the fitting of the flexible hose on the fresh water tank. Initially, there was a leak from a plastic coupling elbow adjacent to the water shut-off valve but this was cured with silicone sealant. I then fully filled the water tank ready for our Easter cruise.

The completed water tank coupling

Alan and Phil Savage came to the boat to measure-up the rear seating fittings and when I spoke to Alan that evening on the telephone he told me that the brackets for the seating were completed and ready to go. All that remains is some fine tuning and painting then another job can be ticked off the to-do list. The weather was great... blue skies, warm sunshine, etc. and was the first day this year that I can honestly say that I could work outside in shirt sleeves and feel the heat from the Sun. Ruby had a fine time playing with her doggy friends running up and down the moorings. When she got home she slept for the rest of the day... exhausted! The next day I renewed our C&RT licence for six months which will cover most of the cruising season up to the end of September. With these jobs completed we were now all ready for our Easter Cruise. We had planned to cruise to Burscough then turn right down the Rufford Branch to Tarleton but, as is always the way, our plans don't always work out as will be discussed in the next section... Easter Escape.


To be continued in... Canalmanac 2018 Part 2


Click to return to Contents


Chapter 2 - Easter Escape Cruise 2018

When it was time for our Easter Escape we were ready for the break. It had been a long winter and spring was on its way.  The Thursday before Good Friday there was a Federation of Bridgewater Cruising Clubs 2019 Annual Rally meeting. In 2019 the rally is being hosted by Lymm CC and Ange had volunteered to co-ordinate the Rally HQ (as she did previously in 2014) along with Wendy Savage. Wendy's husband Paul had volunteered to be Mooring Officer and would be assisted by his uncle and the previous Rally Mooring Officer... Alan Savage and myself. We arrived at our mooring at tea time and after we had eaten left Ruby on the boat whilst we attended the rally meeting. Next morning I fitted the first of our cast iron seats on the aft deck which exceeded my expectations regarding comfort. One would not have expected a cast iron seat to be so comfortable.

Cast iron tractor seat in position

With the last of our things transferred from the car to the boat we set off in bright sunlight. We made good time and by mid-afternoon we had passed the Trafford Centre, crossed Barton Swing Aqueduct and were winding our way around the bendy section at Patricroft and passing beneath the railway bridge where England's first "proper" canal is crossed by the World's first passenger railway... the Liverpool to Manchester Railway. It is unusual to be able to take a descent  photograph this bridge as it is usually in shadow but on this day the light was in the right direction. Before reaching Worsley we passed along a stretch of canal that, when I had my fibreglass cruiser, hated as it was extremely weedy and it would be a miracle to be able to pass along this stretch without clearing the propeller.

The original Liverpool to Manchester Railway Bridge across the Bridgewater Canal at Patricroft

The previously weedy stretch of canal approaching Worsley

After a brief stop at Worsley we made our way to Boothstown were we planned to moor for the night. As it was Good Friday Paul had cooked us a beautiful evening meal of salmon on spinach with potatoes and vegetables washed down with wine... lovely! The next morning dawned bright but was quite cold. After breakfast we set off and were impressed with the way that both sides of the canal approaching Astley had been improved and tidied up.

The bank-side improvements on both sides of the canal approaching Astley

Soon we were passing through the outskirts of Leigh where we planned to stop at the Aldi store adjacent to the canal. Just before we stopped I was devastated to discover that the padded black Tamrac case for my Leica lens equipped Panasonic TZ6 camera (which is normally to hand when I am steering) had, unbeknown to me, blown into the canal. This in itself wouldn't have been much of a calamity but the camera's spare battery was also in the case. The case is normally hanging up just inside the rear doors but I had been using the camera, hadn't hung the case back up and not noticed when it blew away. Lesson learnt!

Moorings in Leigh convenient for the Aldi supermarket

Ange negotiating Plank Lane Lift Bridge

With the refrigerator and food cupboards suitably replenished we set off again, stopped traffic at Plank Lane Lift Bridge (where there were now boats occupying the new marina adjacent to the housing development) and made our way to Dover Lock where we planned to moor for the night. When we arrived at Dover Lock we were surprised to discover that the adjacent pub and restaurant had now closed but all was not lost... the "Sweetie Boat" was moored there and we just had to pay it a visit. Ange had brought a bunch of lilies with her and we were impressed with the way that they had opened in such a short period of time. That evening we had another beautiful roast dinner and were later joined by Paul's sister Wendy (not to be confused with the other Wendy that is Paul's wife).

The wide selection of confectionary available on the "Sweetie Boat"...

...and even something for Ruby

The beautiful lilies that Ange had brought with her

After breakfast the next day we waved goodbye to Wendy and set off for Wigan. It was even colder that the previous day so we all wrapped ourselves up well as the locks approached. At Poolstock Bottom Lock one of the upper gates wouldn't open fully. Paul did some fishing and retrieved a blue wheelie bin form the canal which was preventing the gate from opening. After a quick stop at the sanitary station we descended lock 86 and noticed that the former Canal and River Trust Wigan Offices had now been transformed into a hotel. Below lock 87 a new floating pontoon-style landing stage had been installed and was put to good use whilst we stopped for lunch.

Paul and the wheelie bin he fished out of Poolstock Bottom Lock

The new pontoon-style landing stage at Wigan adjacent to Trencherfield Mill

With our stomachs topped-up we continued on our way and before too long we were negotiating Dean Locks which nestle in the shadow of the M6 viaduct.  Soon after passing through these locks we decided to moor up for the night in the beautiful River Douglas Valley... one of my favourite stretches of canal. I didn't feel very well the following morning. I felt as though I was getting a cold... not surprising considering how cold it was the previous day. We set off but not long afterwards it started to rain so we moored up for the day after Appley Bridge Deep Lock. I was sent to bed with Paracetamol tablets and Nurse Ruby came to keep me warm!

Nurse Ruby looking after yours truly whilst not well

Burscough Wharf

Roast dinner with Wendy, Paul and Ange on board Squirrel

The rain was in for the day and we all had a relaxing day listening to the pitter patter of the rain on the boat's roof. The beautiful roast dinner helped as well. I was feeling much better the next morning so we carried on past Parbold and negotiated a couple of swing bridges before we arrived at Burscough. We had originally planned to turn right at Burscough and head down the Rufford Branch to Tarleton. As we were behind schedule we decided to carry straight on, visit the sanitary station and shops before turning around and mooring for the night close to the Rufford Branch Junction. We had tea in The Ship Inn at Lathom where we were treated to a beautiful meal... and Ruby came with us as well!

The queue for the powerless Glover's Swing Bridge at Burscough

Coffee break whilst resealing the bathroom mushroom ventilator

The sun came out the next day and we set off for Glover's Swing Bridge just after the Rufford Branch Junction. As we approached the bridge we noticed that there were boats already moored there and we were told that the bridge was out of action due to a power failure. We pulled in and after speaking to the Canal and River Trust as well as the electricity board personnel we were told that the bridge should be back in operation around 4.00pm. It is co-incidental to report that we were held up at the same bridge in 2009. It was the same problem... the electricity supply had been interrupted only this time it was the underground cables that had been severed and not the overhead ones as in 2009. This enforced wait gave me the chance to catch-up on a couple of jobs, I had noticed that the mushroom vent over the bathroom was leaking so I removed it, cleaned-up the location and gasket before re-seating the ventilator. This was a bit of a fiddly job that required copious quantities of WD40, coffee and chocolate biscuits! With this job completed I removed the fresh water pump which had a small amount of seepage coming from the main seal. No doubt this was caused by disturbing the pump when attending to the water tank problems a couple of weeks previously. With these jobs and lunch completed more boats joined the queue for the swing bridge including a few fresh from the Lancaster Canal via the Ribble Link and Rufford Branch. The bridge was operational ahead of schedule at 4.00pm. It was like the start of the Indianapolis 500 motor race with the uttering of the immortal words "Gentlemen... start your engines!" We set off in the late afternoon sunshine and moored for the night below the junction of the upper and lower routes at Appley Bridge.

Secluded Appley Bridge mooring... one of our favourites

The mist rising above one of the disused upper level locks at Appley Bridge

The sun was shining the following morning and the mist rising over the canal promised a fine day. After breakfast we set off for Appley Bridge Deep Lock. Whilst the boats were rising in the lock I took the opportunity to take a few photographs of the upper level waterway, lock and the solar powered water level recording unit for monitoring lock usage and canal water levels... the first one I had seen.

Appley Bridge Upper Level Canal and Locks

Solar powered lock usage and water level sensor recording unit

The picturesque Crooke Village

We made good time and were soon passing through Dean Locks, Crooke Village and the outskirts of Wigan. We were to have visitors in the shape of Michael, his "friend" Amy and Shannon who were going to meet us later that afternoon at Dover Lock. With the lock behind us we cruised along the beautiful River Douglas Valley in sunshine that you could actually feel the heat from. next navigation feature was the swing bridge at Appley Bridge followed shortly afterwards by Dean Locks. Above the locks the canal winds its way to Crooke Village, past the moorings of the Douglas Valley Cruising Club and to the outskirts of Wigan. We made mincemeat out of the locks and moored for a quick lunch on the new pontoon moorings by Trencherfield Mill and a quick visit to the sanitary station at Lock 86 just before the Leigh Branch Junction. Needless to say, one of the few boats we met was whilst we were in Lock 86 completing our ablutions! Originally, Michael had said that he would meet us at 4.00pm at Dover Lock but his plans changed and it would now be 3.00pm. We had planned to arrive there at 3.00pm which would give us an hour to tidy up the boat before his arrival. The new time frame meant that we had to tidy up on the go so once the two Poolstock Locks were out of the way Ange and I took turns steering whilst the other did jobs. It got even warmer in the afternoon and we cruised in short sleeved t-shirts it was so warm. My new Buckby can painted by my daughter Lisa even made an appearance on the boat's roof!

The Buckby Can that was painted by my daughter Lisa taking pride of place on the boat's roof

All in all, really idyllic day's cruising. We arrived at Dover Lock dead on 3.00 and no sign of Michael (poor time management... we can be on time in a boat that does 4 mph on a good day!) He did eventually arrive along with his daughter Shannon and "friend" Amy. They stayed for a few hours and afternoon tea before leaving us in peace. As we still had a couple of days to spare we planned to cruise to Castlefield, Manchester, moor there for the day and catch the bus to Bury Market. With this in mind we had a reasonable day's cruising ahead of us. First stop was Plank Lane Lift Bridge shortly after which is a novel use of old lock gates in the shape of a wildlife hide adjacent to the towpath.

Disused lock gates used as a wildlife hide at Plank Lane

Plank Lane was followed by a quick visit to Aldi in Leigh, onto the Bridgewater Canal which makes an end-on junction with the Leigh Branch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Once under way again I found myself looking at the sides of the canal just in case there was a black Tamrac camera case with a spare battery in it floating. Needless to say I didn't see it as it would most probably be well sunk by then. The weather wasn't as warm as the previous day but was none the less pleasant. We retraced our steps through Worsley, Trafford Park, etc and turned left at Waters Meeting in Stretford to head for Manchester City Centre. Along the way we noticed that the previously deconstructed "Container City" in Trafford Park was making a comeback... not doubt because of the success of the nearby Port Salford Container Terminal on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal.

Abstract photograph of some of the containers at "Container City" in Trafford Park

Soon we were cruising along Castle Quay in Castlefield and after turning around adjacent to Grocer's Warehouse we found two 45 foot moorings adjacent to Merchant's Warehouse. Once moored we were bemused by the behaviour of the occupants of an Audi A3 who were inflating balloons using co² refills meant for soda water dispensers, The next morning there were about fifty cylinders strewn over the car park. I wonder where they came from?

Sunset from our mooring on Castle Quay

Nocturnal photograph of our mooring at Castle Quay

We were up early next morning to catch the 135 bus for Bury Market. As it was damp and a bit on the cool side Ruby had her waterproof coat on and we took one of her towels with us to spread over our knees for her to lie on our knees whilst on the bus. Once at the market we walked around looking for the various items we required. Ruby enjoyed looking in the pet stalls as they had display units at Ruby level so she could choose which dog treats she wanted to spend her pocket money on. Half-way through our shopping expedition we found a café in the market and stopped for lunch. My pie was ok but Ange had it with peas and gravy... nice peas Ange. Shame I didn't have a Geiger counter with me! When we resumed our shopping we came across one stall that had a hand towel with a squirrel on it and "Cyril" embroidered beneath it. To say that this had my name on it would be an understatement. Needless to say it ended up in our shopping bag. When we were "all shopped out" we made our way back to the bus station and caught the return 135 bus back to Manchester. On the return journey Ruby seemed quite interested in the Cheetham Hill residents. I had better explain that she does not appear to like black people, people in black clothing, hoodies, etc. Thankfully she fell asleep on our knees and didn't wake up until the bus reached the terminus at Piccadilly Plaza. We then walked through the city centre back to Castlefield and after a cuppa we washed and changed to go to The Wharf for our evening meal. There are quite a few of my photographs adorning the walls inside The Wharf and I couldn't resist to have my photograph taken by Paul next to a couple of them.

The Wharf (previously Jackson's Wharf) pub and restaurant on Castle Quay

Yours truly with a couple of my photograph of Castlefield in The Wharf

(Photograph - Paul Savage)

Wendy, myself, Ange and Paul awaiting our meal in The Wharf

(Photograph - The Wharf Waitress)

We had a lovely meal in pleasant surroundings with good company and we were soon returning to out boats. Next morning we set off after breakfast about 10.00 am to return to our moorings and cruised through the developing cityscape of Central Manchester. There are many new developments taking place adjacent to the canal... not just in the Castlefield area but also around Pomona Dock where we also noticed that construction had commenced on the long-promised Metrolink tram line extension to the Trafford Centre.

The now completed Hulme Lock Development

We made a stop at Stretford Marina to visit the sanitary station and empty the toilets and enjoy a cup of coffee ready for the last part of our cruise back to our moorings. Even though the weather was bright it was quite cold but this did not detract from the cruise back to Agden. We stopped at Dunham Massey for lunch then cruised the last few miles back to Agden. On our arrival at Agden we moored temporarily on the water point whilst we off-loaded our dirty clothes, food and other things not normally left on the boat into the car which was parked a few metres away. Whilst we were there Alan Savage gave me the second cast iron tractor seat to go on the starboard side of the aft deck that he had made the bracket for. It was put in the car along with the first one so that they could be painted at home. With the car full we put the boat back on its mooring and said our farewells to Paul and Wendy before heading down the M56 to home and reality.


Timetable for our 2018 Easter Cruise


- Agden near Lymm to Boothstown
Saturday -

Boothstown to Dover Lock



Dover Lock to below Dean Locks



Dean Locks to below Appley Bridge Deep Lock



Appley Bridge Deep Lock to Burscough



Burscough to below Appley Bridge Deep Lock



Appley Bridge Deep Lock to Dover Lock



Dover Lock to Castlefield, Manchester

Saturday - Castlefield, Manchester all day
Sunday - Castlefield, Manchester to Agden near Lymm

Easter Escape Cruise Epilogue

We thoroughly enjoyed our Easter Escape. It came at a time that we were all ready for a break from the stresses of day to day life and also gave us the opportunity to identify any problems with the boat and rectify them. We had originally planned to cruise to Tarleton at the end of the Rufford Branch where the Leeds and Liverpool Canal meets the tidal River Douglas... the first part of the Ribble Link which connects to the Lancaster Canal and Preston Docks. Inclement weather and me needing to spend a day in bed because of a heavy cold put paid to that plan but we enjoyed the cruise nevertheless. We enjoyed some beautiful locations, good company and good food. I can honestly say that I have put on a couple of pounds whilst we were away! We are now looking forward to the boating season and the delights that it holds for us. Bring it on!


Click to return to Contents


Chapter 3 - Canalmanac 2018 Part 2  (in preparation)

Shortly after we returned home from our Easter Escape Cruise, I received an e-mail from the Inland Waterways Association informing me that one of my photographs had been accepted for the 2019 IWA Calendar. I had submitted a few photographs and the one that they decided to use to illustrate June was a photograph of ex-working narrowboats at Dutton on the Trent and Mersey Canal taken a few years ago and was not necessarily the one that I personally would have chosen. Still, there is no accounting for tastes and I don't suppose for one minute that the judging panel was made of "educated" photographers. Anyway, enough of the big-headedness, I have included the photograph in question below for your appreciation.

Ex-working narrowboats at Dutton on the Trent and Mersey Canal - the photograph used to illustrate June in the 2019 IWA Calendar

The weekend after our Easter Escape Cruise repainting was due to start on Paul's boat Adreva. It was to be painted by Steve and Mark  who painted Squirrel a couple of years previously. I am sure that they did such a good job on our boat was the deciding factor for them painting Adreva. The prepararetory work was due to be undertaken at Lymm CC's Clubhouse and we had arranged to come up to Lymm and help Paul. We were redecorating our bedroom at home and due to the rescheduled delivery of our new bed we had to complete the redecorating earlier than planned and couldn't go to help but Paul sent me some photographs to let me now how work was progressing.

Adreva at Lymm prepared for repainting to commence...

(Photograph - Paul Savage)

...Steve and Mark busy sanding down the paintwork...

(Photograph - Paul Savage)

...and the undercoat applied

(Photograph - Paul Savage)

As well as the redecorating at home Ange and I managed to find the time to paint our new cast iron tractor seats to match the colour of the boat. I had the brainwave to mount them on my Black and Decker Workmate to make the job of painting them easier. We can't wait to mount them on the boat permanently and try them out. Hopefully the next weekend will give us the opportunity to do this.

Our newly painted cast iron tractor seats mounted in the Workmate

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And the weather did give us this opportunity... the weather was fabulous with clear blue skies and hot sunshine. We headed up to Agden for the St George's Day Cruise to The Swan With Two Nicks at Little Bollington. We loaded our stuff onto the boat and had arranged to ferry Paul and Wendy up to Little Bollington but the painters were still working on Adreva so we did a couple of jobs on the boat and went up alone to meet them at the pub later. The jobs that we did included permanently fitting our newly repainted cast iron tractor-style seats on the aft deck and screwing the Beldray bracket for the Kärcher Window Vac adjacent to the Dyson vacuum cleaner bracket.

The repainted cast iron tractor-style seats fitted

Newly installed Kärcher Window Vac Bracket

Cruising in the idyllic sunshine at Little Bollington

With these jobs completed we headed up to Little Bollington in the hot sunshine... idyllic cruising weather and in April as well! When we arrived at Little Bollington there were quite a few boats from Lymm CC there already so we found a mooring the other side of the underbridge near Alan Savage's boat. As soon as we moored Ruby was off to call for her friend Woodsey.

Woodsey and Ruby playing on the towpath

Soon after Miss Be Havin' arrived and their dog Fudge joined in the fun as well and they spent most of the afternoon running along the towpath whilst we chatted to other Lymm CC members as well as sharing a cuppa with Alan and Lin. Our table for eight people in the Swan With Two Nicks was booked for six thirty and so we got washed and changed. When Alan and Lin plus Colin and Beryl were ready we headed for the pub. Even though I have been on the Bridgewater Canal for over thirty years I had never walked down to the underbridge, along the footpath to the village or visited this pub so, needless to say, the Leica came as well.

Little Bollington Underbridge leading to the Swan With Two Nicks

The Swan With Two Nicks at Little Bollington

I took a few photographs of the underbridge as well as the pub and saw a couple of locations to photograph in the future when there is more greenery on the trees and in the fields. When we arrived Paul and Wendy were already there and after a catch-up over a drink on how the repaint on Adreva was going we went inside for our meal.

Preparation work on Adreva's aft deck and rear bulkhead and...

(Photograph - Paul Savage)

...the first coat of paint on the roof after a rain shower

(Photograph - Paul Savage)

And a very good meal it turned out to be as well. The food was superb with generously sized portions. So much so that I could not finish my main course and most certainly did not have any room for a desert (not like me at all) even though the apple pie and pouring cream looked absolutely delicious! With full stomachs we made our way back down the footpath, beneath the underbridge to the boat for a cuppa before saying farewell to Paul and Wendy after an enjoyable evening in pleasant surroundings with excellent company and good food.

Our party waiting for food

The next morning couldn't have been more different. I didn't think that we would catch any sunburn today! The temperature was cool and the sky was full of grey, threatening clouds. After breakfast we said goodbye to our friends and headed back to our moorings. As soon as we set off it started to rain and it persisted whilst we loaded up the car. It was not until we were half way down the M56 that the rain stopped. Still the  previous day made up for the weather we had experienced that morning. It's funny that in this country whenever we have a hot sunny day we pay for it the next day with rain and clouds. Still, it's only April after all.


To be continued in... Canalmanac 2018 Part 3


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Chapter 4 - Summer Cruise 2018 (in preparation)




Timetable for our 2018 Summer Cruise

Saturday - Agden near Lymm to



















Saturday -  
Sunday  -  
Monday -  
Tuesday  -  
Wednesday -  
Thursday  -  
Friday  -  
Saturday -  
Sunday  -  


Epilogue to Summer Cruise 2018



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Chapter 5 - Canalmanac 2018 Part 3  (in preparation)



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Canalography 2018

Our canal cruising experiences and milestones during 2018

March/April 2018 - Easter Cruise to Burscough and Castlefield, Manchester

Lymm CC Cruises Attended During 2018

21/04/2018 - St George's Day Cruise to Swan With Two Nicks - Little Bollington


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The story most probably continues in

Book 15

Canal Cruising 2019

Finances, time and health allowing!


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or select another book below...




Book 1 - 1959 to 1982


Book 2 - 1983 to 1999

Book 3 - 2000 to 2005

  Book 4 - 2006 to 2007
  Book 5 - 2008 to 2010
  Book 6 - 2010
  Book 7 - 2011

Book 8 - 2012

Book 9 - 2013

Book 10 - 2014
  Book 11 - 2015
  Book 12 - 2016
  Book 13 - 2017
So You Want To Go Canal Cruising? (Coming Soon)
nb Squirrel
Canals on Screen
Canalscape Photography
Photography in One
The History of Lymm Cruising Club
The Duke's Cut - The Bridgewater Canal
The Big Ditch - Manchester's Ship Canal
Shroppie - The Shropshire Union Canal System
The Manchester and Salford Junction Canal
 Mersey Connections
Wonders of the Waterways
2011 Gardner Engine Rally Report
Foreign Forays - Canals of the World
Worsley Canal Heritage Walk
Castlefield Canal Heritage Walk
The Liverpool Docks Link

nb Total Eclipse

Don't Call it a Barge

Canis Canalus

Footnote and Acknowledgements
Site Map
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Updated 22/04/2018