We have left the Bridgewater Canal and are now on the Trent and Mersey. We left the boat at Oakwood Marina over Christmas while we returned to Kent. On our return we continue down the Trent and Mersey Canal and turn onto the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal.
We emerged from Preston Brook Tunnel and through Dutton Stop lock, which is the only lock until we get to Middlewich. We moored up just north of bridge 213, which was a lovely rural mooring where we stayed for 2 nights. on 10th November we moved down to Barnton, passing through Saltersford Tunnel (424 yards) and Barnton Tunnel(572 yards) and moored just south of the tunnel. we were expecting Ryan from Bickerstaffe boats the following day to service our Vetus Engine. Good local moorings on rings but there are no facilities nearby.
On 12th November we cruised down to Marbury Country Park, passing the Anderton Boat Lift (a 50ft vertical link down to the River Weaver). This magnificent engineering structure was built in 1875 and has a visitor centre and an exhibition and is one of only two boat lifts in the UK. I will discuss this further in a future blog. There is also full boating facilities here which we of course made use of.
Marbury Country park had excellent short term moorings and we stayed here for 2 days, taking in a lovely autumn walk down to the reservoir.
On 14th November we moved down to Northwich and topped up our provisions at the local Co-op which was 5 mins away and Lidl which was a bit further into town. We stayed here for 3 nights as we were unable to move on due to some really high winds, even though the moorings weren't great as they were not far from a chemical factory which dominates the sky line.
On 17th November we moved down to just north of Middlewich and stopped at a lovely off side mooring called Bramble Cutting, where there were picnic benches and BBQ facilities, we stayed here for 2 nights. Pat had the opportunity to get some drone footage done while I took the opportunity to clean that side of the boat. I wonder who drew the short straw here! In fairness though because it was such a beautiful sunny day we also managed to repaint the rubbing strip just to cover up some of those ugly scratches.
This video actually covers a period of 7 weeks as we did not leave Middlewich until 31st December when we returned to the boat following a visit to Kent. During this time we had a get together with other Bickerstaffe boaters on 1st December and a visit from my brother and his partner on 8th December. We cruised down to Wheelock facilities (not shown) as there is only water taps and refuse disposal in Middlewich and no Elsan facilities. We were booked in Oakhurst Marina until 31st December. The changing of the seasons is clearly seen in this video as it starts on 7th November where Autumn is still evident and completes on 31st December when winter is apparent. We move through Middlewich taking in the 4 locks and onto the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal where we spent New Years Eve.
Our Narrowboat Quest this vlog is our cruising journey of the Bridgewater Canal and our life aboard our narrowboat off grid.
5th November 2018
We moved from Lymm to Stockton Heath today which was a good place to pick up some provisions as shops are near the canal. The following day we had an early(for us) start, heading towards Preston Brook Tunnel, some absolutely lovely lock free scenery and cruising. It's very much a shame that under a CRT licence we only get seven days so we didn't stop as long as we would have liked.
We had been cruising for about 2 hours when the heavens opened and we had torrential rain, the next place to moor was outside Midland Chandlery under the motorway bridge so we pulled in and spent a rather noisy night under the bridge. Of course we also paid the obligatory visit to Midland Chandlery.
The next day the 7th November we continued our journey, heading towards Preston Brook Tunnel. The tunnel is single canal and is timed so that you get a 10 minute window each hour to enter the tunnel which takes approximately 20 minutes to pass through the 1239 yards going southbound and onto The Trent and Mersey Canal. The start of the next exciting chapter.
On this video we explore Manchester around the Castlefield Basin area. we then continue our journey down the Bridgewater Canal, stopping at Lymm.
We stayed in Castlefield Basin for 2 nights, exploring Manchester City. Castlefield Basin was a pleasant surprise, nice moorings although noisy at times. Lots of pubs and cafes in the area with alfresco dining. A regular haunt for artists, as we saw several each day sitting on the benches and grassy areas painting or drawing the sights in front of them. The old warehouses around the basin have been renovated into offices or homes and the basin was busy with narrowboats coming and going. The city centre is about 15 mins walk away. Visited the Science and Industry Museum, for a free museum was OK but wouldn't necessarily have paid to go in.
We left Castlefield on 3rd November and travelled down the Bridgewater Canal. Once through the Rochdale 9 locks we were on the Bridgewater Canal so only had 7 days on our Canal and River trust Licence. This canal is managed by a consortium of 8 local authorities and The Peel Group and is described as Englands first Canal.
We moored up by Dunham Town Bridge and took a 20 min walk to the National Trust Property of Dunham Massey Hall. This lovely property is well worth a visit with beautiful gardens and an ancient deer park, perfect for an autumn walk.
On 4th November we continued to cruise down to Lymm, where we moored up in this great little village , with a small co-op for daily provisions. We took a walk up to the dam along the little footpath by the village pond called the Dingle and enjoyed a beautiful walk around the dam taking in the vibrant autumn colours and wild life.
Arriving in Manchester and tackling the Rochdale 9 Locks and arriving in Castlefield Basin.
Thursday 1st November and we were on the Rochdale Canal. The weather was beautiful, a lovely autumn morning but still a bit on the cold side, we were heading towards the famous Rochdale 9 locks. These locks take you through Manchester City centre and cover just a mile and half linking it with the Bridgewater Canal at Castlefield. The locks pass through car parks, office blocks, retail buildings and several pubs and clubs. The best known part of the Rochdale 9 is the section alongside Canal St, in the area known as Manchesters Gay Village. This section of the Rochdale Canal also links to the Ashton Canal forming part of the cruising ring "Cheshire Ring"
When we arrived at Lock 84, the start of the Rochdale 9 heading West, another boat followed us into the lock. He was a single handed boater who had booked a volunteer lockie to help him through the locks. We were very grateful to have his assistance as some of the locks were difficult access and several lock pounds were overflowing. Some of the locks were chain operated and needed a windlass to operate the paddles. ~Lock 85 was underneath a car park and we were pleased to get back out into the sunshine. Other locks I was unable to walk alongside so I had to get back onto the boat and off again when we approached the lock. The last lock Dukes Lock was overflowing so much that the lockie had great difficulty in opening the gates. By the time we exited the lock we had quite an audience of gongoozlers watching from the bridge. It took us 4 hours to cruise the one and half miles of the Rochdale 9. We moored up in Castlefield Basin on the Bridgewater Canal.