Summer cruise Done!

Well thats it we got back to our home mooring at Norbury Junction yesterday.

Just the 5 locks at Tyrley and they were all in our favour as a boat at the top lock saw us entering the previous one and waited.

Linda did most of the steering once I had navigated us through the narrow Woodseaves cutting, that was probably the longest stretch of steering she has ever done. Only problem was due to being a bit over careful at a bridge. A boat was coming the other way and slowed for us but as Linda steered past them we got a bit to close to the towpath and ran aground, the boat we were passing found the mud on the other side of the canal too, it happens to all of us.

IMG_0077Weather wise it has been good only the one very heavy shower, all the other rain managed to be overnight or while we were in a pub, who cares if it rains when your not standing out in it? Not me.

Couple of annoyances, the little 300 watt inverter I use to charge my laptop (everything else on the boat is 12 volt). Laptop has an 85 watt PSU but every time I tried to use it without the engine running the would run for 2 or 3 mins and then complain (loud beeping) about being overloaded. Now this could be the boats leisure batteries getting to the end of their life but everything else was just fine, TV and fridge and all the lights just ran fine and the solar panel controller was telling me the batteries were putting out 12.8V or it might be the inverter, its cheaper the replace the inverter than the batteries so I will try that first.

The other annoyance has been the TV signal for most of the holiday we have not been able to get a reliable signal the omnidirectional arial even with a booster it just cant handle a weak signal, so I think its off to Maplin for me to look at something I can fit on an extendable pole.

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Summer cruise day 12

Audlem to Market Drayton

We did the Audlem lock flight from outside the Shroppie Fly to top lock in 2 hours (12 locks), thats not bad considering half the locks were set against us, we have done it quicker but that was with the help of a lock keeper going ahead and setting them all in our favour.

The view from tonights mooring

The view from tonights mooring

As is usual in Market Drayton the TV signal is useless but at least the mobile signal is reasonable.

I think the grey building in the photo used to house the offices of the Challenger boat share scheme before it folded. Only reminded of it as one of the now rather tatty looking boats passed us a back at Chirk a few days ago.

Well I guess that will have to do for now, starting to hear the others waking up so that means the dogs will want to go for their morning walk.

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Summer cruise days 8 to 11

Well due to the evil mobile blackspot that I mentioned in a previous post I decided to not update during the reverse of that section. We are now back in Audlem right outside the Shroppie Fly, popped in to grab a swift beer and find out if there was a table for tonight. Good news and bad news, first the good, it seems that the fly is going to get a refit, yes they are keeping the old boat bar but removing the boat roof to make it a bit brighter. plans are on the wall and look like quite an improvement. Bad news is the landlord and the chef have had a bit to a falling out so there is no food today. Shroppie fly used to have free wifi now its just a BT broadband access point. 🙁 Now I remember some posters hear last year about fibre for Audlem, I guess that has not happened yet.

BT exchange kit in the bunker

BT exchange kit in the bunker

We did the Hack green “Secret” bunker tour this morning, was exactly what I expected some seriously ancient comms gear in there (some of which we have at work) and some decommissioned nukes, it was never a launch site but it did add to the overall cold war experience.

IMG_0120

Could you live on this?

Going backwards with this post Yesterday we did the last bit of the Llangollen canal and back through Nantwich were we saw this proper heath robinson boat, it was there on the way up last week too so it has also out stayed it 48 hour visitor mooring time. It looks like this might be someones home.

Mobile is still useless. Its messing me about with swapping from 3G mode to H both with reasonable signal but its swapping modes every minute ish. when it does this it goes through a reconnect sequence and everything stops. Lets see if it stays connected long enough to post.

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Summer cruise day 7

Pontcysyllite Aqueduct

Pontcysyllite Aqueduct

A day of twos:

  • 2 New Marton Locks
  • 2 aqueducts Chirk and Pontcysyllte
  • 2 tunnels Chirk and Whitehouse

We did all but the locks twice.

Pontcysyllite is 126ft above the river dee, there is no railing on the non tow path side as you can see in the pictures. First time I did this several years ago it was quite a white knuckle ride now I get to laugh at the walkers holding on to the handrail as if a 208 year old well maintained structure is going to fail at any second.

River Dee below the edge of the Pontcysyllite aqueduct

River Dee below the edge of the Pontcysyllite aqueduct

The Title picture is us crossing the 4 year older and much less scary Chirk aqueduct back from Wales to England.

Now moored up at the Poachers Pocket thats been renamed to the very pretentious sounding “Perfect Poachers Rotisserie” Will it live up to this name? We will find out later. I will give them one thing the free wifi is pretty good, I’m sitting a good 150ft from the pub and still have full signal and it feels pretty fast too. Well it is compared to the next to useless mobile service I have had to endure for the last few days.

Here is a speedtest just so you get the idea.

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Summer cruise day 5 and 6

I am writing this post in Evernote again for reasons that will become clear. In this connected world you would expect that between two towns (Whitchurch an Ellesmere) you would get at least some useful data service. Well iPhone on O2 is flipping between GPRS (o) and EDGE (E) I can’t even get a login prompt. Why even give the symbol if it can’t pass packets?

Mifi on 3 says no network and Linda’s iPhone on EE is saying no service.

Not been able to refresh my timeline on twitter for 10 hours now and worst of all I can’t do much about it, I really hope there is some working network when we finally get in to Ellesmere tomorrow lunchtime.

Anyway on with the usual update.

Day 5: Grindley brook was really slow going we sat between locks for two hours, later discovered some idiot in a hire boat had left paddles open at both ends of a chamber on the staircase and managed to ground the boat in the next chamber up. Now you could say it was the second boat that was at fault for not checking the paddles, but this lock flight is manned by a full time lock keeper and usually a volunteer too. There were two on duty, so where were they you ask? Well they were sitting in the hut having a cuppa.

We ended up moored almost in Wales the border seems to follow the canal for a bit.

Day 6: It was much further to Ellesmere than we thought, a good 2 hours cruising and there was no where to moor except the short arm that heads in towards town. This turned out to be the first shallow bit we had encountered, we gave up and used pins right on the outside of the bend. Not the best place judging by the damage to the pilings.

We left Ellesmere after stocking up on the essentials (Bacon, Sausages etc) just 6 more miles to The Jack Mytton Inn for some good food. Well just before we get to Mad Jacks  the skies darkened threatening rain, just a few spots if we are lucky…

We were almost rammed by a Canaltime boat running at full throttle round a blind bend under a bridge, apparently they did not hear my horn (probably due to the noise of his engine) I pointed out that rain did not suspend the speed limit, nod grumble chunter from him. Just after that the rain went a bit Noah on us for about 5 mins then a rainbow and the sun was back out right as we arrived at the pub.

We are all full of good food and cider now, I think it might have to be an early night, tunnels and aqueducts to do tomorrow. The weather is not looking good for Chirk so it might be a short day and hide from the rain in a pub. Such hardship!

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