This is Steve & Viv Carter's log of the trips and travails on the narrowboat Adagio – liveaboards from October 2015. Then back to the shore, in Trefin, Wales from November 2019. "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." (Mark Twain)” email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
With the morning sun streaming it’s bounty of solar energy onto the hungry panels, we are staying put. A day of rest. Well, after a bacon butty or two, we may do a few chores. Viv has rearranged the towel cupboard and I’ve pumped out the drippings from the stern gland and mopped out the bilge. Such fun. Any requests for more boat porn? You seen the stern gland, how about the Victron charger/invertor? Or the inside of the infamous weed hatch or the Jabsco macerator! Wow. Pix to follow.
Toby’s out on the towpath, I put a sign up saying “Toby, I’m friendly”
Another wee animal was going peep, peep, peep
And here’s where we’ll be soon . .
You can see how far it is to walk, Adagio, 3rd boat along!
Well blow me down me hearties, Black Bart be a watching us! ☠
Best make an early start tomorrow, we was only two ships here this morning, now there be thirteen!
Twelve locks and the devil’s own tunnel to contend with! Aaarrrrrrrggghh!
We moved on to Wheelock – taking on water but the main reason was to visit the big pet shop across the road because our Boggle was out of Kibble! So chance to restock with Gelert Country Choice and some of those dehydrated sausages he loves, yes, it all revolves around the dog!!
Beyond Wheelock starts what they call “Heartbreak Hill” – the long flight of 26 locks all the way to Harecastle tunnel. We did 14 today and only moved, horizontally, by 4.5 miles in 5.5 hours! But we did lift the boat up around 140 feet! A feat indeed. And we felt every inch – they may be narrow locks and in most cases duplicate but they were all against us and they were heavy & stiff:
Lock 58 – showing the duplicate system – aiming to move the coal barges quicker I guess. Notice the very busy M6 – one lane was at a standstill. Haven’t driven a car for, let me see, oh yes 56 days! Here’s our final mooring – deja vu – we were here on day 15, in the rain.
Discovered the marvellous Broughton Arms . . Here’s the pub, oh, just let me see, 100 yds away. Think we can manage that.
And for the more cartographically minded, here’s the guide book with all those locks on . . . and the ones to come.
Well, the plan was to stay put . . . maybe, or just move up a bit. I had plans to visit Steve Wedgewood at Kings Lock Chandlery, to ask advice about that leaking stern gland. I’d already bought the spare part (£140) three+ weeks ago. He reckoned it ought to be done and said move the boat up! So I jogged back and set to moving the boat thru the 4 locks. There was another boat (another Aqualine boat too, also 8 yrs old) already there having a new alternator fitted so we had to wait. And wait. These simple hour jobs on boats are never that. Anyway, when Mike came to have a look at the stern gland and how it was tucked away and hard to get at, he rubbed his chin and said he really wasn’t happy, if there was a “panic stations”, it could all get a bit serious. Hmm and to be honest, I was relieved. No need to worry about a stern gland being replaced in situ and bucketfuls of canal water gushing in!! Here’s a picture of the thing:
The rubber bit slips over the end of the boat and the prop shaft comes thru the whole widget – there’s two rubber seals that keep the water out – in theory! That silver screw on top is where you have to squeeze in some (expensive) silicon grease every 250 hours. Something the previous owner forgot or just didn’t know. Most don’t!
Anyway, it was now gone 3 and time we was off. It was warm and we had 3 or 4 more locks and some miles to do before we end for the day. Heading towards Wheelock. We found a nice rural spot about a mile out and hearing that it was all moored up in the town, decided to moor here! In the end so did 3 other boats!
With the rain falling, our thoughts go to Plan B, when the dog’s gone, 4 months in La Isla Bonita (Tenerife):
Well, in the end we did push on to Middlewich as the rain eased off, a bit.
Thru Northwich and round on to the bottom of Big Lock.
First, we chugged through some delightful scenery near Bramble Cuttings and honest, we saw a kingfisher – just a flash of blue as he flitted from side to side . .
Honest he was there . . and here’s Bramble Cuttings, lovely spot.
And here we are in Middlewich – not a great place really and the locks are pretty awful – this large bottom lock leaks like a sieve and the next three are always very busy. Still, chance to shop and have a beer.
Not too early a start, away by 0930ish, off we chug to Marbury Country Park, mooring on rings by the milepost (8 miles to Preston Brook). Only 6 miles today then but we did two tunnels. Saltersford is one way, so you get 20 mins from the half hour to go thru. Barnton is also one way but you have to peer in to see if anything is coming thru! Such fun. No not really. Was in a bit of a grump today; worried about the leak and if anything else would go wrong. Then there were four boats at the water point, what were they all doing?? Well, they were members of the Mersey Boat Club, in convoy and taking on water. Anyway got to the mooring by lunchtime, which was nice. No photos today because I can’t be ars*d and I’m not sure anyone is really reading all this! OK, I relent – it was a great sunset and shed loads of geese flew over too:
A quiet day after all those Margaritas! With poor TV reception we ended up watching Swordfish on DVD again! After a day cleaning and tidying (more re-blacking the scrapes), we took the dog back down to the river Weaver and Dutton locks. We got Toby his swim and a decent stroll too. On the way back I chatted with Chris, the CRT lock keeper, full of knowledge about the lock and the traffic on the river. There were just two of us moored but as time went by, two became six, seven if you count the workboat!
Good grief, I turn round and two more turn up. There’s nine now!
No wonder CRT Chris describes up here as the motorway! The Weaver is a desert in comparison.
We did hang around to see if two approaching narrowboats would go through the locks but no, one tied up for the night and the other took piccies then turned round and went back! Shame. It’s a massive lock (see posts passim) and uses half a million litres of water ( or was that gallons?) on every fill.
Off to Anderton and that mooring at Marbury country park.
Away by 0845. Chugging back along the charming Bridgewater canal. Taking on water at Stockton Heath, then on past Daresbury (nuclear research – lots of no mooring, don’t even think of it signs) and then through the Preston Brook tunnel and round to one of our favourite moorings at Dutton Breach (I know another dangerous place – the reason why there’s a good view is because all the trees and bushed were swept away down the hill during the breach!!)
Well, it is our anniversary, so Viv made up some Margaritas.
I think it was three in the end! I know that all the tequila’s gone.
A quiet day today. Well, it is Sunday. We took Toby up thru the Dingle and around the lake plus a swim or two. Being our 35th anniversary tomorrow and knowing we wouldn’t be anywhere with a pub or a restaurant, we decided to have a take away to celebrate. We chose the Lymm Lounge as their menu looked quite a cut above the usual and very good it was too! Recommend it. We re-visited the Brewery Tap – Viv had another paddle of 3 beers (Heritage Trail, Stout & the Porter) – favouring the Heritage beer the best.
We listened to another episode on iPlayer (radio) of Tim Vine’s bonkers comedy programme then played two hands of crib. I know, actually making our own entertainment!
Our thanks to our friend David Thomas & his old friends from the Wirral, Keith & Carol, who joined us at lunchtime on Day 33 for the trip down the Liverpool Link. Keith had his video camera and shot a few sequences as we traversed the various docks. These videos have just been sent to us and uploaded to YouTube. Hopefully a record of our trip (to look back on in our dotage) but also maybe an inspiration to other boaters to visit Liverpool or at least a bit of guidance as to where this link goes!
Just an hour’s chug to the town of Lymm. We found a mooring place OK, just as well for a few hours later there were 18 boats moored up! It is Saturday, I suppose. The leaky stern gland was still leaking and when we stopped, it carried on dripping! Woe. So technically we were sinking. Time to panic, maybe. I don’t know if it’s my nervy mind but I’m finding a lot of things unsettling- the boat is a tough old bird but there’s always something needing sorting. This gland is not leaking at the shaft/gland interface as was thought but from the seal behind, maybe a Vetus design fault? Anyway, I put some of that expensive silicon grease in the wee hole and the drip stopped instantly. Panic over. For now! I’ve put some of that self-amalgamating tape around it to see it that will do. Time will tell.
We visited the Brewery Tap for some of their excellent beer. Toby got a short walk but lots of splashing about in the brook below us.
We met a lovely couple on Veinarde (lucky, in a French dialect), Ian & Vera. Always good for a natter with fellow boaters. He even brews his own, excellent stout! They are based up here on the Bridgewater.
Lots of comings & goings; both late and very early. I guess the norm for this time of year. I thought, how nice, all quiet by 0030. But I spoke too soon. We are moored on top of a bridge with a longish tunnel and so were treated to a raucous ensemble of inebriated youths, sing and screaming from 0130 to 0230 in this echo chamber. I fell back asleep dreaming of another canal breach and a tsunami consuming these oiks! Maybe Sunday night will be quieter.
We always seem to moor dangerously – on the site of the Bollington breach yesterday and now on top of the tunnel . .
Hmm, a stag do? Or just a good night out? Two hire boats full of “sailors”