Monday, 31 December 2012

Another year over

Since my last post we have moved a whole mile!

We stayed close to Leighton Buzzard as it was a convenient place for Tony to come an collect us for our Christmas visit to Peterborough. It has the added bonus of shops and boaters facilities. We, like the rest of the country, have seen some rather wild weather.We have had great amounts of wind and rain, at the worst the brook that runs beside the canal burst it's banks but luckily the canal is on a slight embankment where we are moored so it was the field on the opposite bank of the brook that flooded. Water levels in the canal were up about ten inches and did overflow onto the towpath in places.

We had a very nice couple of days with Mandy, Tony and the grandkids. All the usual Christmas festivities were enjoyed with good food, good drink and good company.

We now have to do a quick run, for this time of year, to get through Marsworth Locks by Sunday at the latest. The weather today has been more of the same but from tomorrow there is supposed to be some improvement.

2012 has been a fairly good year, apart from the weather, no major crisis apart from our alternator problems  although we now seem to have a problem with our fridge/freezer. It's chilling but not enough, oh dear!

Happy New Year to everyone, hope it's good one!


In 2012 we travelled 876.9 miles, 675 locks,  55 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 2078.6 miles, 1761 locks, 111 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 71 tunnels

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Update - Now at Leighton Buzzard


We stayed a few days at Fenny Stratford. Saturday night saw the canal frozen again and we had snow,not a lot but some. We did a bit of Christmas shopping,a bit of bargain shopping and of course some grocery shopping. Our best bargain was an LED striplight from IKEA, list price £30 reduced to £4.90 because the 12v/240v transformer was missing. That's the bit we chop off and throw away because we run on 12 v!!

On Monday the canal had mostly thawed and in mid afternoon Phil on Hyperion came past. Phil is our coal and diesel supplier when we are down near Watford, he doesn't often come as far north as Milton Keynes. When he came back on Tuesday we topped up with diesel and had a couple of bags of coal from him too.

On Wednesday night the canal froze again but as another boat had come north and the ice didn't seem very thick we decided to make a move on Thursday. Bad move!! Even where the ice had been broken by the other boat it was hard going and they had only come about a mile. Once we reached virgin ice it was virtually impossible to make progress,after about another 500 yards we gave up and moored. It had taken us an hour and a half to travel less than one and a half miles and one lock.

Friday was exceptionally windy so even though the ice had thawed we didn't move. Saturday dawned sunny and mild, we made our way past Stoke Hammond,up through Soulbury Three Locks and onward to reach Leighton Buzzard. We are moored near Tesco at the moment, but it isn't cat friendly so we won't stay here very long.

This weeks journey's 7.5 miles, 6 locks and 1 swing bridge

So far this year we have travelled 875.9 miles, 675 locks,  55 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 2077.6 miles, 1761 locks, 111 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 71 tunnels

Saturday, 1 December 2012

The Milton Keynes icebreaker

Today was our first real taste of winter, we woke up to a frozen canal and a very heavy frost. the ice wasn't thick enough to stop us travelling so we decide to head for Fenny Stratford. We crunched our way slowly along the long straight at Cosgrove and across the aqueduct. The ice was breaking up ahead of us and we were pushing huge sheets of it up on top of the unbroken ice. Even though it was less than a centimetre thick it was very solid. Once we were through the bridge by the Galleon the ice disappeared for a while, the canal is a bit more sheltered there.

We continued to encounter patches of ice for the next hour or so but once we reached Great Linford the ice had virtually disappeared. It was a cold day but we fortified ourselves with cups of coffee laced with Baileys and we had my homemade Lentil and Bacon Soup to look forward to when we moored. It took us about four hours to reached the 14 day moorings at Fenny Stratford and managed to get moored right on the end.

We are planning to stop here for a few days, we want to visit IKEA and do some Christmas shopping as well, plus our normal shop of course.

Today's journey 10.2 miles

So far this year we have travelled 868.4 miles, 669 locks,  54 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 2070.1 miles, 1755 locks, 110 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 71 tunnels


Friday, 30 November 2012

Not a lot happening


We have moved every day this week but not very far and nothing noteworthy has happened so I haven't bothered to blog every day.

Wednesday was Mandy's birthday, my presents,  via Amazon and card, posted at Buckby Flight arrived on time so I was happy about that. It was quite a chilly day so we didn't travel far, we stopped briefly at Weedon for bread and milk then carried on as far as Bugbrooke for our overnight mooring.

Thursday was cold but beautifully sunny, I don't mind the cold if it is dry so I took the tiller and let Ray stay in the warm for a while. We pulled in just before Blisworth tunnel to check our tunnel lights then carried on through to Stoke Bruerne. Surprisingly,we didn't meet anyone coming through the tunnel but there were three boats in the tunnel heading our way. Blisworth tunnel is reasonably dry compared to some but the water was pouring down the ventilation shafts like a waterfall.

I was impressed to see a working blacksmith at the tunnel end, it's good to see craftsmen on and beside the canals. We moored at Stoke Bruerne for Thursday night and continued our journey down through the locks today.

This morning very frosty but again very sunny. We set off down through the locks,there is still a lot of water about from the recent rains. The water was flowing over the gates at the second lock like a waterfall. when we were partway down I realised that there was another boat following us so I reset the locks for him and we waited for him to catch up so we could share the last couple of locks. There was ice on some of the side ponds but none on the cut.

We met NB Vectis at the bottom lock, we have met them before around Rickmansworth. They told us there was ice on the canal near Cosgrove. We decided that if the canal is starting to ice up it was better to travel in the middle of the day and carried on to below Cosgrove Lock. At Cosgrove we encountered a meeting/photoshoot  of the Buckingham Canal Society and were included in their photos.

Since my last post we have travelled 19.7 miles, 8 locks and 1 tunnel

So far this year we have travelled 858.2 miles, 669 locks,  54 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 2059.9 miles, 1755 locks, 110 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 71 tunnels

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Enduring Buckby Flight

Heavy overnight rain cleared by this morning leaving us with that horrible fine drizzle that just slowly soaks you through. As the weather forecast was for more of the same we wrapped up warm, donned our waterproofs and got on our way.

There wasn't much sign of other boats on the move,we were soon at Norton Junction and round the turn onto the main line.The top lock of Buckby Flight was against us, a fair indicator that the rest of the flight would be. I think these may be some of the hardest locks on the entire canal network, after the narrow locks of Foxton and Watford the gates were, inevitably, going to feel heavy but even taking that into account these locks are hard work. In summer I have walked the flight but today I got back onboard between locks.

At the fifth lock we met a boat coming up the locks,the only boat we met today. As there was so little movement on the canal I left Ray sitting in the sixth lock while I dashed to the postbox which is just across the road to post Mandy's birthday card. I wouldn't be able to do that in the summer!

Ray stopped on the lock moorings below the bottom lock while I went to the chandlery for some milk, I decided I deserved chocolate after enduring Buckby Flight so bought a couple of Mars bars as well. No, I didn't eat both,one was for Ray.

We continued about half a mile beyond Whilton Marina and are moored sandwiched between the railway and the motorway. Homemade Scotch Broth warmed us up nicely.


Today's journey 2.7 miles and 7 locks

So far this year we have travelled 838.5 miles, 661 locks,  54 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 30 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 2040.2 miles, 1747 locks, 110 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 70 tunnels

Monday, 26 November 2012

Watford Locks and beyond

We braved the rain this morning to head to the services then down through Watford Locks. We decided to stop before we reached Norton Junction and the Grand Union mainline. Previous experience tells us that the visitor moorings at the top of Buckby Flight are often fairly full and Although my knee seems to be OK now I didn't fancy having to go down any more locks today.

We followed a couple from California on a hire  boat down through the locks, I felt like apologising to them for the English weather!

We think we will probably aim to reach Berkhampstead or Hemel Hempstead for Christmas. Berkhampstead would mean about 30 hours cruising which is only an average of just over an hour a day. Our main aim is to get beyond Tring summit as there is a closure at Marsworth just north of there from early January. The only other closures that could affect us are towards the end of January and into February. We can't plan for the weather of course.

Today's journey 2.4 miles and 7 locks


So far this year we have travelled 835.8 miles, 654 locks,  54 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 30 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 2037.5 miles, 1740 locks, 110 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 70 tunnels


Sunday, 25 November 2012

Another day,another tunnel


This morning was still very windy but the rain had gone and we had sunshine, I'm still excused major boating duties but my knee is much improved so hopefully by tomorrow I will be feeling my normal self.

Today's journey was a straightforward one to take us to the top of Watford Locks. The fact that I was out of action didn't matter much as there weren't any locks, just cruising and Crick Tunnel to negotiate. Ray is still loving our new tunnel lights. We still haven't met any incoming boats in a tunnel so we don't know whether they are likely to dazzle incoming steerers.

We have the M1 for company now and it stays with us for the next few miles. Something obviously happened this afternoon on the motorway as the traffic was at a standstill. I'd rather be here than there!

Today's journey 5.6 miles and 1 tunnel

So far this year we have travelled 833.4 miles, 647 locks,  54 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 30 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 2035.1 miles, 1733 locks, 110 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 70 tunnels

Saturday, 24 November 2012

A little more progress

Last night was very cold, we put off moving until lunchtime in the hope of a rise in the temperature. It didn't rise much and within half an hour of setting off the rain started again, earlier than was forecast. I have currently opted out of boating duties as I slipped slightly yesterday, it didn't seem much at the time but my knee became increasingly painful and by bedtime was swollen up like a balloon so I am staying off my feet as much as possible.

I did keep Ray supplied with coffee but the rain increased and without my company he was feeling increasingly miserable so after only an hour and a half we were moored up again. We still haven't reached Yelvertoft.

Tomorrow is supposed to be dry so we will hope for the best, at least we aren't suffering the floods that much of the country is experiencing although the canal is getting very murky as the water runs off the fields and the fields are looking more waterlogged every day.

Today's journey 4.6 miles


So far this year we have travelled 827.8 miles, 647 locks,  54 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 29 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 2029.5 miles, 1733 locks, 110 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 69 tunnels



Friday, 23 November 2012

Backwards and Forwards


Last night the wind and the rain continued and we went to bed with the sound of the rain drumming on the roof. At about one o'clock I woke up to silence, no wind, no rain and when I looked outside I could see the stars. The day dawned clear and bright, not a cloud in the sky but it was distinctly chilly.

We didn't rush to be on our way this morning as Rachel had said she would ring us when the washing machine arrived and all we had to do was go to Welford to post Margaret's birthday card, turn round and head back to North Kilworth. Rachel rang as Ray was on his way to the postbox so we headed back to collect the machine. We left Merlin moored near the junction with the Welford Arm so it would be easier to turn Morgana back round when we reach North Kilworth Wharf. We decided to buy a new leisure battery as well so after fuel, washing machine and battery, plus two birthdays (Margaret and Mandy) we are officially broke until the end of the month!

We rehitched Merlin and carried on in the autumnal sunshine for another hour or so then moored for the night. I had hoped to get close to Yelvertoft but the clouds started to roll in and we were soon losing the best of the light. Tomorrow's weather forecast is OK until the afternoon so we should make some progress.

Today's journey 7.1 miles and 2 locks

So far this year we have travelled 823.2 miles, 647 locks,  54 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 29 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 2024.9 miles, 1733 locks, 110 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 69 tunnels

Thursday, 22 November 2012

The Welford Arm


After two days of rain today is at least dry, it is very, very windy however. We needed to move on because our diesel was running a bit low.so we braved the wind and headed for North Kilworth. For once we were both happy to have to go through a tunnel, at least it wasn't windy in there.

While we were moored for a couple of days we did the usual chores including the washing. My old faithful twin tub which we bought about eight years ago has decided that it is overworked, the spinner doesn't want to spin properly. As it only cost about £80 it has done well. When we stopped for diesel and coal at Kilworth Wharf I asked if they had one or knew where I might get one. Rachel very kindly offered to order one for me for next day delivery. So we have decided to take a short detour down the Welford Arm for tonight and go back to collect the machine tomorrow.

This is a new bit of canal for us, when we last travelled the Leicester branch of the Grand Union we didn't bother with this detour. We had expected to reach Welford as the arm is only a mile and a half long but the wind was so strong we gave up and moored after about half a mile.


Today's journey 4.7 miles and 1 tunnel

So far this year we have travelled 816.1 miles, 645 locks,  54 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 29 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 2017.8 miles, 1731 locks, 110 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 69 tunnels

Monday, 19 November 2012

Foxton Locks to Husbands Bosworth


We've had a lovely weekend the highlight of which was a visit from Keith and Leesa. My lovely son treated us to Sunday lunch at the Foxton Locks Inn, very tasty and enjoyable. It was so nice to see them.

Foxton Locks Inn


Foxton Locks
We spent Saturday doing bits around the boat and going for a walk up the locks. It is probably about six years since we were last here. As well as the locks there are the remains of the inclined plain boat lift here. The inclined plane was a system which bypassed the locks. There were two sets of rails set on the hill, each set of rails had a caisson ( a watertight container) Two boats were loaded into the caisson at either the top or bottom of the incline (or both) and were then winched up or down with the other caisson acting as a counterbalance. Not a brilliant description but if you're interested there is information online about it. There are plans to restore the inclined plane but I'm not sure I will ever see it working. It was built to ease the congestion at the locks as a journey up the plane took about five minutes compared to over an hour using the locks.

The remains of the Inclined Plane


This morning we made our way up through the locks and almost as far as Husbands Bosworth, the weather forecast is for some wet and windy weather so our journey will probably not continue for a couple of days.

Today's journey 2.9 miles, 10 locks and 1 swing bridge

So far this year we have travelled 811.4 miles, 645 locks,  54 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 28 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 2013.1 miles, 1731 locks, 110 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 68 tunnels

Friday, 16 November 2012

Foxton Locks

We are expecting a visit from Keith and Leesa on Sunday so decided that we would moor at the bottom of Foxton Locks for the weekend. The Foxton Locks Inn looks like a good place to eat and there is easy access to the canal by car.

Today's journey was a short uneventful one apart from a minor excursion into the bushes on the offside by me after Foxton swing bridge. Morgana didn't want to behave herself and refused to turn towards the towpath, perhaps she didn't want to pick Ray up!

We did think about taking Morgana to the top of the locks tomorrow but the forecast is for showers so we think we will leave it until Monday.

Today's journey 4.1 miles and 1 swing bridge

So far this year we have travelled 808.5 miles, 635 locks,  53 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 28 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 2010.2 miles, 1721 locks, 109 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 68 tunnels



Thursday, 15 November 2012

Farewell to Market Harborough


Our planned stock-up shop happened today rather than yesterday, mainly because we found some non-grocery bits and pieces we wanted on yesterday's shopping expedition which meant we couldn't manage the groceries as well. So, this morning, we had another expedition into town to do our grocery shop. We are now well stocked for about a fortnight. That should see us through to Milton Keynes, we will just need the usual fresh bits en route. Ray also picked up my Christmas present which he had ordered from Tesco Direct and was delivered to the local store.

The moorings in Market Harborough are really nice, there isn't a huge amount of traffic along the towpath, mainly dog walkers and nothing to suggest that it is a hangout for the local undesirables. We can't really afford to pay for winter moorings but if we could I might be tempted. There are the full range of services at the end of the arm, a good range of shops in the town, some nice independents and five supermarkets! Lots of choice on price and product range.

Once we got back from shopping we topped up our watertank, emptied the loo, dumped the rubbish and started to make our way back towards Foxton as we had spent our 48 hours on the moorings. As it was getting late we didn't get very far.

Today's journey 1.9 miles

So far this year we have travelled 804.4 miles, 635 locks,  52 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 28 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 2006.1 miles, 1721 locks, 108 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 68 tunnels

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

2000 miles!!


We made our way to Market Harborough today, by doing so we clocked up 2000 miles since we started travelling. We saw more boats on the move today than we have for ages. When we reached the junction with the Harborough Arm I got a bit confused. I knew we had to turn left but there were two bridges that aren't on my map. I realised that since we were last here (and since the map was printed) a new basin has been created for some private moorings and there is a bridge across the basin entrance. There is also a new swing bridge across the canal to give access to the moorings.

After sorting out that bit of confusion we carried on towards Market Harborough. There are so many leaves floating on the water at the moment, they get dragged onto the prop and clog it. Normally we get a clue that this is happening, Morgana slows down without us reducing the revs. A quick bit of reverse thrust sorts things out. About 2 miles from Market Harborough we slowed down, Ray thought it was just leaves so gave a quick burst of reverse, when he engaged forward gear the engine stalled! We stopped and he checked the prop, we had picked up a large rag which had jammed things. Once that was clear we were able to reach the moorings.

After a cup of coffee I took a stroll into town, my brother had told me I should be able to get haricot beans at Waitrose so I went to investigate. I now have haricot beans soaking ready to make homemade baked beans. We will do a serious shop tomorrow.

Today's journey 9.3 miles and 2 swing bridges

So far this year we have travelled 802.5 miles, 635 locks,  52 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 28 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 2004.2 miles, 1721 locks, 108 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 68 tunnels

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Rosehips = syrup and wine


Yesterday's maintenance proved what we had both suspected, one of our batteries has failed. We had noticed that our power was less than it had been previously and it was the obvious cause. Another expense when we find a chandlery.

While Ray fiddled with the batteries and the bilge I did a bit of baking, a bit of crafting and a bit of tidying. I baked shortbread, one of Ray's favourites, I don't normally eat shop bought shortbread but I do eat my homemade. As a consequence it was all gone by bedtime!



More decorations


We made good progress today, the locks were mostly close together so we were able to do our normal routine of me walking on to set the next lock. We also had our first opportunity to test our new tunnel lights which we bought ages ago in Tamworth. They are fantastic, brilliant literally and figuratively, such an improvement on the old one. My only worry is that we might dazzle any incoming boats! Not that that was a problem today, we only met two boats, neither of them in the tunnel.

Like so many days the weather deteriorated as the day went on, after we had gone through Saddington Tunnel we looked for a mooring spot. We found one where there were loads of rosehips and Ray picked enough to make a gallon of wine and about a litre of rosehip syrup. We need to buy a load of sugar be able to do anything with them. So that will have to wait until we reach Market Harborough which will probably be on Tuesday as the weather tomorrow is supposed to be a bit yucky.

Our two little boys, 12 days old
The kittens are growing fast and now have their eyes just about open, we have established that they are both boys.

Today' s journey 4 miles, 5 locks and 1 tunnel

So far this year we have travelled 793.2 miles, 635 locks,  50 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 28 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1994.9 miles, 1721 locks, 106 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 68 tunnels

Friday, 9 November 2012

Morgana Le Fey and the very windy day


After a night of being gently 'serenaded' by the sound of passing goods trains we continued our journey along the Leicester Section of the Grand Union. Our autumn/winter cruising plan is to travel for about two hours per day. This means we don't get too cold or wet when the weather is nasty. If the weather is particularly bad we take a day off.

Today started fairly mild but windy, we weren't planning to go far but the trip included seven locks. We made fairly rapid progress even though the locks were against us.The locks are close together in a group of four then a group of three. I was able to walk on and set the next lock while Ray closed up the previous one. As we negotiated the sixth lock we saw the rarity of an incoming boat at the next lock so I didn't have to walk on to set that one.

The view from my window

The sun was shining beautifully but the wind speed had increased substantially so we decided to stick to our original plan and find a spot to moor.The wind was blowing us onto the towpath side of the canal so strongly that once we had stopped Morgana didn't move an inch even before we had tied our mooring lines. We enjoyed the autumn sunshine looking across the fields towards Wistow but the weather has deteriorated this evening and it is now raining.

We have a 'boat maintenance ' day planned for tomorrow so it won't matter if the rain carries on.

Today's journey 2.5 miles and 7 locks

So far this year we have travelled 789.2 miles, 630 locks,  50 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 27 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1990.9 miles, 1716 locks, 106 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 67 tunnels

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Kilby Bridge


We started out fairly late this morning under grey skies, the weather was fairly mild, but it was very gloomy..

I've never thought of Leicestershire as being particularly hilly but the are a lot of locks between Leicester and Market Harborough. At least we have now escaped from the urban sprawl of Leicester.

Yet again we only saw one other boat on the move today. It is surprising how many people use the towpath around suburban Leicester. There was just one boat on the 48 hour moorings at Kilby Bridge. We stopped for the services there but moved on about half a mile to get away from the road, our cats don't have a lot of road sense so we play safe. For an autumn/winter day we made good progress today.


Today's journey 4.5 miles and 8 locks

So far this year we have travelled 786.7 miles, 623 locks,  50 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 27 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1988.4 miles, 1709 locks, 106 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 67 tunnels

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Leicester


We spent two nights on the moorings at Castle Gardens. Yesterday we both went into Leicester Market,we invested in some thermal underwear at a very reasonable price and also spent some money on some very good value  fruit and vegetables. Ray went back to Morgana while I did a bit more shopping including some fabric remnants suitable for rag rugging at 3 for £1. I got about 4 metres of fabric for £2, excellent !

I searched unsuccessfully for dried haricot beans, I tried supermarkets, health food shops and a couple of small groceries. I could have chickpeas, pinto beans, black-eyed beans, kidney beans,in fact just about any sort of beans except haricot. Ray even went to Tesco this morning for me before we left, without success. Have they all been bought by baked bean manufacturers?

It was a bit windy but sunny today, not long before we left our moorings a CART workboat with a dredger on board went past. This meant that the locks were set against us as we followed them and they, annoyingly, left the top gates open at all the locks so I had to close the top gates before I could set the lock for us.`

We actually met some holidaymakers at Kings Lock,the first we have seen for a while. We were keen to find a cat friendly spot for tonight as the kitties have been shut in since Monday morning. As we approached Blue Bank Lock I spotted a good stretch of bank and we were pleasantly surprised to find there were mooring rings so that was the end of our day's journey.

Today's journey 4.5 miles and 4 locks

So far this year we have travelled 782.2 miles, 615 locks,  50 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 27 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1983.9 miles, 1701 locks, 106 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 67 tunnels

Monday, 5 November 2012

Visiting great, great, great uncle Samuel's clocktower

For the benefit of those who don't know in addition to my enthusiasm for the canals, my indulgence in any form of craftwork that takes my fancy and my passion for food (cooking and eating) I am also a keen family historian.

We are now in the center of Leicester on the moorings at Castle Gardens. The Barfields, ancestors of mine on the maternal side, lived in Leicester in the mid 1800's. Most notable of these was Samuel Barfield, younger brother of my great, great grandfather Thomas. Samuel was a sculptor and his work includes the figures on the clocktower in the center of Leicester. Was my great great grandfather Thomas equally noteworthy? Well, no, his claim to fame is the fact that he went bankrupt twice that I know of, has so many alias and variants of his name that my brother calls him 'pick-a-name' Barfield. When Thomas was living in Leicester he went by the name of Henry Anderson, I'm not sure if this was because he was hiding from creditors or because his well respected brother didn't want to be associated with him! He eventually disappeared from Leicester leaving a wife and three children and we have no idea what became of him after that.

Last Wednesday was, of course, Hallowe'en and Nimue decided that was a good day to give birth, she again had three kittens but one was very weak and unfortunately didn't survive. We have named the remaining two Trick and Treat.




It was on Wednesday that we also had a visit from the Hobbins clan,we had a nice bit of lunch on board then everyone, apart from Ray, went into Leicester for a bit of shopping. When we got back we all headed for the Hope and Anchor for an early dinner before the Hobbins had to head home.

A combination of the weather and my reluctance to travel through Leicester at the weekend meant that we stayed at the Hope and Anchor until this morning. When we reached Birstall Lock,the second of the day the water level indicator was on the red, but as the current wasn't very strong we decided to carry on, there is only about a mile and a half before the mainstream of the River Soar is bypassed after passing through Belgrave Lock. We negotiated that stretch without any problems, there was actually a boat heading downstream,a fairly rare sight at the moment.

When we reached Belgrave Lock we found that the other boat had left the lock gate open, which was handy because we could steer straight in, but had also left the paddles up which was a bit annoying. The route into Leicester from the north passes between some nice lakes and parkland on the west and an industrial and residential landscape to the east.

We will spend tomorrow going shopping, particularly in Leicester market then we will head out of the city on Wednesday. It is a fairly long haul to escape to the countryside so I  hope the weather is kind.


Today's journey 5.7 miles and 5 locks

So far this year we have travelled 777.7 miles, 611 locks,  50 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 27 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1979.4 miles, 1697 locks, 106 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 67 tunnels

Monday, 29 October 2012

The Hope and Anchor


The sun was shining this morning and it was a lot warmer than previous days. We made our way towards Mountsorrel Lock and met Rob on board The Raven shortly before we reached there. We shared locks with him all the way to the Hope and Anchor, he even waited for us while we took on diesel at Sileby Mill. It is easier and more sociable sharing locks.

The early morning sunshine deteriorated, the clouds rolled in and it is now raining. At least we are not suffering as much as the American East Coast. I feel sorry the couple we met upon the Trent & Mersey, they live on the Outer Banks in South Carolina and aren't due to fly home until Halloween.They must be worried about their home and also wondering whether they will be able to fly home on Wednesday.

We will be here until at least Thursday morning, maybe longer, moorings are few and far between around Leicester so we will be hoping for some decent weather for that run.

Today's journey 5.8 miles and 4 locks

So far this year we have travelled 772 miles, 606 locks,  50 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 27 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1973.7 miles, 1692 locks, 106 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 67 tunnels

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Barrow Deep Lock

After an extra hour snuggled under the duvet because of the end of British Summer Time we got our act together and headed for the center of Loughborough. We filled up with water above Bishop Meadow Lock, our water tank not the boat! Then we carried on as far as the Albion and moored to go shopping.

Loughborough Wharf has changed greatly since last time we were here but that was over six years ago. Then it was a bit of a building site. There are now mooring pontoons,a sanitary station and room to wind, a great improvement. If we had known that we would have saved ourselves a bit of a walk!

After the usual raid on Tesco it was back to the boat and on our way again, we had barely moved and the rain started. I was intrigued to see that Pillings Lock Marina has a self serve, pay at the pump,reddiesel pump, but as using it would have meant negotiating our way in and out of the marina and staying in the rain even longer we decided to give it a miss on this occasion. We had thought we would reach Sileby today but changed our minds and stopped after we had worked through Barrow Deep Lock. I'm sure the bollards here can't all be intended to be lock moorings, it's quite a long stretch. Anyway there is plenty of space if anyone else is on the move as we are a fair distance from the lock.

Today's journey 4.6 miles and 4 locks


So far this year we have travelled 766.2 miles, 602 locks,  50 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 27 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1967.9 miles, 1688 locks, 106 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 67 tunnels

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Loughborough

Today was a very cold and windy day so we decided not to go very far. We were originally planning to reach the Hope and Anchor near Syston on Sunday night but as it will be Wednesday before the Hobbins come to visit we have decided to take out time reaching there.

We need to get some diesel soon but East Midlands Boat Services are a bit expensive and we have been told Sileby Mill are fairly reasonable on price. We shared Zouch Lock with a couple who are based at Barrow and then carried on to the moorings below Bishop Meadow Lock.

We will stop in the center of Loughborough on our way through tomorrow for a quick shopping trip and then it will be on to somewhere between Barrow and Sileby for Sunday night.

Today's journey 4.4 miles and 1 lock

So far this year we have travelled 761.6 miles, 598 locks,  50 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 27 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1963.3 miles, 1684 locks, 106 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 67 tunnels


Friday, 26 October 2012

Kegworth


Today felt positively wintery, the temperature didn't manage to reach 50F all day. Earlier the wind wasn't very strong but now it is quite blowy and the leaves are raining down on Morgana. We left Trent Lock and turned onto the River Soar, the cloud factory AKA Radcliffe Power Station was working hard and we cruised up through the floodlock past all the moored boats at Redhill and into Ratcliffe Lock.

It was cold but dry and we made good progress, there were a few other boats on the move and of course we met one, a Dutch barge, on a bend with a fallen branch narrowing the river. After that we reached Kegworth Deep Lock,which fills very slowly and then moored not far beyond that in time for a late lunch.

Although we cruised for less than two hours we decided that we like this spot so didn't bother to move on. I think tonight will probably be the first night that I keep the fire in overnight this autumn as a heavy frost is forecast.

Today's journey 4 miles and 2 locks

So far this year we have travelled 757.2 miles, 597 locks,  50 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 27 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1958.9 miles, 1683 locks, 106 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 67 tunnels

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Back to Trent Lock


Today was grey and overcast, but thankfully not too windy and dry apart from a little light drizzle.We had debated which was going to be easiest, going down through Castle Lock, winding and coming back up through Castle Lock or unhitching Merlin and turning Morgana on the ropes where we were moored. We decided that the lock option was probably easiest so that was what we did. With virtually no traffic on the canal I was able to work Morgana down and then hold the lock while Ray went to wind. No sign of anyone else on the move so no problem.

After that it was back through the Nottingham suburbs to Beeston and back onto the river. Our journey upstream  took us rather longer than the downstream one but as there hasn't been any significant rain recently  the current wasn't too bad and we managed to maintain about 3 mph all the way. We shared Cranfleet Lock with a GRP cruiser who was heading for Sawley and we moored just before the floodgates at Trent Lock.

We soon warmed up with a bowl of butternut squash and sage soup each and I had a beef casserole cooking in my slow cooker while we were travelling so lots of cold weather comfort food.

Today's journey 9 miles and 4 locks

So far this year we have travelled 753.2 miles, 595 locks,  50 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 27 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1954.9 miles, 1685 locks, 106 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 67 tunnels

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Nottingham

We are back in Nottingham after nearly six years.Last time we did the journey between Sawley and Nottingham it was upsteam with Destiny, our previous boat, fighting to battle the current with the river almost in flood. Yesterday's journey downstream was a joy compared to that even though it was raining part of the time.According to Ray's handheld GPS device we managed over six mph at one point! I had forgotten how uninspiring the route into Nottingham is once you reach Beeston, very industrial.

We spent Sunday at Sawley and got the washing done as I always have reservations about city centre moorings at the weekend. I've been busy creating more Yule/Christmas decorations,a scarf which is colourful enough to cheer up the greyest day and starting another rag rug. Photos to follow! I went into the city centre shops today, much is the same as it was when we left. I spent a bit of money in The Bead Shop, not a lot as it isn't long since I went to Spellbound and bought some glittery gold fabric off the market. I have an idea for a 'starry night' theme rag rug and wanted something to add into make it sparkle a bit.

Even though I was very warm walking around today I have decided it must be autumn as we have had homemade soup three times in the past week and my stockpot is bubbling on the stove. Tomorrow will be stock-up day and then we will head back upstream on Thursday.


Yesterday's journey 9.4 miles and 3 locks

So far this year we have travelled 744.2 miles, 591 locks,  50 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 27 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1945.9 miles, 1681 locks, 106 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 67 tunnels


Saturday, 20 October 2012

Annoyed with myself !!


We continued our breathtaking rate of progress today. It was a nice day for cruising but I didn't want to spend Saturday night in the center of Nottingham so we only moved as far as Sawley Cut, we will move to Nottingham either tomorrow or Monday.

My seasonal crafting is coming along nicely, these two designs of Yule/Christmas decorations have come off the 'production line'














            Tis the season




It was nice to see Derwent Mouth Lock in daylight with the river level 'on green', last time we came through there the river level was just on the red and it was pitch black, that was in January nearly six years ago when we moved from Nottingham to Watford. I was surprised that the floodlock at Sawley needed to be worked through, an extra lock today!

For the second time this year I managed to leave my windlass behind, this time it was too awkward to go back for it and I doubt if it would still have been there as there were quite a few boats on the move. Ray has been to the chandlery and bought me a new windlass but I'm still annoyed with myself !

Today's journey 2 miles and 3 locks

So far this year we have travelled 734.8 miles, 588 locks,  50 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 27 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1936.5 miles, 1678 locks, 106 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 67 tunnels

Friday, 19 October 2012

Lazy Days!


We certainly aren't going to set any records for distance travelled at the moment our journey yesterday was one of our shortest. We shared the locks at Weston and Aston with a couple from North Carolina who were coming to the end of their holiday afloat but had another couple of weeks left before they return to the USA.

We decided to moor before we reached the long term moorings at Shardlow and were glad we did. There were some workmen felling some trees and in exchange for a couple of cuppas they cut some wood into nice manageable chunks for us and it is now neatly stacked on our roof.

We took a day off today and I have been making Yule/Christmas decorations and working on a beaded bracelet I am making for myself. Ray has fitted the new tunnel lamps we bought in Tamworth but it will be a while before we need them.

Yesterday's journey 4.4 miles and 2 locks

So far this year we have travelled 732.8 miles, 585 locks,  50 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 27 tunnels
In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1934.5 miles, 1671 locks, 106 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 67 tunnels

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Swarkestone


After surviving yesterday's windy weather we did a couple of hours cruising today to take us just past Swarkestone Lock.

I taught a couple of holidaymakers the 'two windlass trick' for stiff paddle gear. This consists of placing two windlass opposite each other on the spindle so that two people can work one paddle, great when the gear is hard to work. The advantage of now being on a stretch where there are broad locks means that we can share locks and share the work.

It was an uneventful day, only a couple of hours cruising but the cats are happy because they can go and hunt mice and climb trees this afternoon. Ray managed to pick up some windfall wood so the top of Morgana is beginning to look as if we are in winter mode.

Today's journey 6.6 miles and 2 locks

So far this year we have travelled 728.4 miles, 583 locks,  50 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 27 tunnels
In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1930.1 miles, 1669 locks, 106 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 67 tunnels

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

In Windy Willington

Our plans for the weekend got postponed because of the weather forecast which threatened rain for Saturday, then frustratingly it didn't rain until early evening, which wouldn't have mattered.

We stayed at Branston Water Park until Monday morning when we moved the short distance down through Branston Lock and moored just beyond the A38 bridge so we could go and do our weekly shop at Morrisons. I know a few boaters take advantage of Internet shopping for their groceries but apart from a few basics my shopping tends to be made up  as I go along depending on what seems the best deals. I suppose there might be a time when I need to do an online order.

Once the shopping was done we carried on through Burton-on-Trent and Dallow Lock, the last of the narrow locks we will encounter for a while, then it was a straight run to Willington. Even at this time of year the 48hr moorings where almost fully occupied so we stopped a little bit beyond them. The cats aren't happy because they aren't allowed out as the railway line is very close to the canal here. Gwynie seems to have recovered from her injury as Tamworth now but she did have us worried for a few days. I don't think they would want to go out today anyway because it is blowing a gale outside, the wind is whipping up the surface of the canal into waves.

Because of the weather we decided to stay here today but we did walk to Midland Chandlers at Mercia Marina to get so undercoat for Morgana and a couple of other bits. Walking there was fine as the wind was behind us but walking back was hard work!

Yesterday's journey 6.6 miles and 2 locks


So far this year we have travelled 721.8 miles, 581 locks,  50 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 27 tunnels
In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1923.5 miles, 1667 locks, 106 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 67 tunnels




Thursday, 11 October 2012

Grey Day

I don't know about the rest of the UK but here in what I suppose counts as the East Midlands it has been a very grey day. It hasn't rained much just a few very light showers but it has been cold and miserable all day. I don't think my solar panels are making much contribution to my power supply today!

After giving up any hope of even a ray of sunshine we started out a bit before eleven this morning to make our way to Branston Water Park. Our first lock was Bagnell Lock which takes you down to the village of Alrewas. I have fond memories of Alrewas as it marked the end of my first couple of days of single-handed boating nearly six years ago. I was travelling in the opposite direction on that occasion and wanted to get through the river section below Alrewas Lock before a severe storm hit which was predicted to (and did) cause flooding.

We passed through Alrewas Lock and the river section without any repetition of the high winds and strong currents that made my last journey a bit scary! It was an easy journey down through the remaining three locks to reach Branston Water Park. We did have the amusement of overtaking the traffic on the adjacent A38, now that is a bad traffic jam if it is faster by narrowboat! We got a few waves from the truckers as we cruised past.

We may be stopping here for a few days as we may, subject to the weather, be having visitors at the weekend.

Today's journey 6.4 miles and 5 locks


So far this year we have travelled 715.2 miles, 579 locks,  50 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 27 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1916.9 miles, 1665 locks, 106 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 67 tunnels


Wednesday, 10 October 2012

On the Trent & Mersey

We spent Sunday moored near Tamworth and did a bit of shopping including a couple of new tunnel lights, our old one was a bit feeble. We thought about staying longer as I wanted to go to Spellbound Beads in Lichfield. However, either by accident or cruelty Gwynie was injured on Sunday evening. She was having difficulty moving, her tail was droopy and she was obviously in pain. I suspect she has been injured either lower back or upper tail. Even though she seemed a bit better on Monday morning I didn't want to stay where there might be someone around who would deliberately injure a cat.

We moved the short distance to Hopwas and I was able to get a bus from there to Lichfield on Tuesday morning. While I was out Chris, who we bought Merlin from, came past and had a quick visit with Ray. Gwynie has improved greatly but is still moving awkwardly. At least she doesn't seem in pain any more and she cuddled up to Ray in bed last night, purring like mad.

This morning we pulled pins and headed for Fradley Junction, en route we spotted this very unusual 'haystack'.


I'm not sure whether it is art or just a bored farmer! We also spotted two kingfishers, it isn't very often we see one but two is a rarity.

When we reached Fradley it was fairly moored up as usual so we decided to carry on round the junction onto the Trent & Mersey. We moored after the fourth lock before we reached Alrewas.


Monday and today's journeys 11 miles, 4 locks and 1 swing bridge


So far this year we have travelled 708.8 miles, 574 locks,  50 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 27 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1910.5 miles, 1660 locks, 106 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 67 tunnels

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Tamworth

Today we reached familiar territory again. Our journey took us along the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal, through Curdworth Tunnel which must be one of the shortest tunnels on the canal system. It might even be the shortest, it is only 57 yards long. After that we made our way down the eleven Curdworth Locks which stretch over two miles of canal. We were following NB Hermione for the first eight, as her owner was a single handed boater I told him to leave the bottom gates and I would close them behind him when I reached the lock to fill it for us. Kindness and courtesy pays off because he very kindly set the ninth lock for us even though he was stopping at the pub for the night.

As I was waiting for the tenth lock to be ready for us a boater from the moorings spotted Morgana's name and came out to say "I'm guessing you must be pagan with that boat name". I had already spotted triple moon symbols in his window so I wasn't surprised. Apparently he is one of the organisers of the Mercian Gathering, a pagan meeting that takes place annually near Nuneaton.

Once we were though the locks it was about four miles to our intended mooring at Tamworth. It was quite a shock to us to suddenly keep meeting other boats, we had over a week with no traffic and now there was loads. It was a bit like going from a country lane onto a motorway! We passed under this unique footbridge near Drayton Manor. The towers have spiral staircases inside!


We then passed this very autumnal looking cottage as we approached the junction, the Virginia creeper was a glorious colour. We have noticed that the trees are beginning to show some hints of orange and gold, with a few leaves drifting down into the cut.


After a close encounter with another boat who's intentions were unclear, but provided much amusement for the boaters moored at the waterpoint, we were back on the Coventry Canal. From there it was just a short distance to our mooring. On our way we saw 'The Little Chimney Company' butty, his stainless steel chimneys look really good, I think he might have a customer when I can afford a new chimney!


Today's journey 8.4 miles, 11 locks and 1 tunnel

So far this year we have travelled 697.8 miles, 570 locks, 49 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 27 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1899.5 miles, 1656 locks, 105 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 67 tunnels

Friday, 5 October 2012

Escape from the city


Our plan was to make a really early start this morning but our feline alarm clock let us down. Gwynie can normally be relied on to wake us at sparrow fart, she does this by walking across my head then purring loudly whilst nose to nose with Ray. If that fails to elicit a response she starts gently patting Ray's eyelids! This morning Ray woke at 7.30 without a cat in sight.

We indulged in our morning cup of coffee, got dressed and were on our way about an hour later than planned. The first leg of our journey took us down through the nine Rushall Locks to the junction with the Tame Valley Canal. I'm glad I wasn't attempting these locks single handed, on two of the locks the bottom gates swung shut unless you leaned on them. It was enough of a pain having to haul Morgana part way out of the lock with the rope so that we could both be on the lockside keeping the gates open until the boat was preventing them from closing. Single handed you would have had to either tie the gates open or wedge them open! Note to self, only attempt Rushall Locks single handed going up!

As a boater you often hear tales of the local yoofs throwing stuff at boats from bridges but today was the first time I experienced it personally. A group of four brainless teens who should surely have been in school, decided to drop something on me as I passed under a bridge, thankfully they were lousy shots! I flashed them a two fingered salute and headed off down the cut.

Once we joined the Tame Valley Canal we could tell we were in a city environment, lots of rubbish, bottles, cans and even a three seater sofa floating downstream! We soon reached the top of the Tame Valley Locks where we met a CART worker who told us the leak between locks 7 & 8 was fixed and that we should find most of the locks full. Not only were the locks full so were the pounds and in some places the towpath, well I haven't been to the seaside for a paddle this year. We found the Perry Barr Locks very well maintained and made rapid progress. We had been told it was possible to moor overnight between locks 11 & 12 but decided that as it was only mid afternoon we would carry on and get out of the city environs.




Spaghetti Junction from the canal
Our journey took us underneath Spaghetti Junction, past the canal junctions which would take you into the heart of Birmingham and onward through three more locks past Minworth to our overnight mooring spot. We encountered our first boats that were obviously cruising, although moored at the time, in a week!

As I knew we would have a long day today I was sensible and prepared a Lamb Tagine yesterday for tonight's dinner and put it in the slow cooker while we were cruising. I'm ready for dinner!


Today's journey 12.5 miles and 25 locks

So far this year we have travelled 689.4 miles, 559 locks, 49 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 26 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1891.1 miles 1645 locks, 105 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 66 tunnels

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Sunshine!

We sat out yesterday in the wind and the rain, our little weather station was registering gusts over 20mph, but because the sensor is fairly low down it tends to be a bit sheltered. It was still very breezy when we pulled pins this morning but the sun was shining. I've found a possible candidate for the location for the next annual family picnic. Opposite the entrance to the Cannock Extension Canal is a large park, loads of space,comes right down to the canal and has a pub.

We made our way to the services at Brownhills and took advantage of the shower there, topped up our water tank,dumped the rubbish and emptied the loo. I made a quick dash across the road to Tesco for some bread and milk and then we were on our way. We were soon on the Daw End Branch aka the Amazon, the reeds grow so far across the canal that they were brushing both sides of the boat. It was like being in a film, I half expected scantily clad natives to emerge with blow pipes and poison tipped darts! We were soon among the industrial sprawl of Aldridge before heading back out into countryside past Park Lime Pits Country Park.

We reached Longwood Junction where the Daw End Branch joins the Rushall Canal and the arm which used to serve the Hayhead Lime workings and is now moorings for a boat club in mid afternoon. We had hoped to moor below the first two locks of the Rushall locks but on investigation that proved to be impractical so we are moored on the 48hr mooring above the top lock.

We should have been continuing our journey down the Rushall Canal and along the Tame Valley Canal tomorrow but the work that was being done on the Perry Barr Locks has been extended by a day so we will be having another day off tomorrow as there is a distinct lack of moorings after this point.

Today's journey 8.6 miles

So far this year we have travelled 676.9 miles, 534 locks, 49 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 26 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1878.6 miles 1620 locks, 105 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 66 tunnels

Monday, 1 October 2012

The Cannock Extension

We had a lazy weekend on the Anglesey Branch, it was such a nice spot to moor.


The view at Anglesey Wharf

We thought about moving on yesterday but it was very windy so we stayed put. We were quite surprised when a hire boat came past us yesterday,it is the only moving boat we have seen in four days! I did use the time well and have completed another rag rug.

Rag Rug 2, made from curtain material


By doing that we left ourselves a bit short of time to get through Perry Barr locks before they dewater the pound between 7 & 8 for investigation on Tuesday and Wednesday so we have backtracked to take a look at the Cannock Extension. It's only a mile and a half long, in the days before so many of the canals were closed it connected via the Hatherton Canal to the Staffs and Worcester at Hatherton Junction. It is currently being restored by  Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust,as is the Lichfield Canal which used to stretch between the Anglesey Branch  at Ogley Junction and Huddlesford on the Coventry Canal. Both have had some work done on them but there is so much to be done I doubt if I will ever cruise them!


Ogley Junction

The Cannock Extension is dead straight,as well as linking to the Hatherton Canal it used to serve the Brownhills Colliery and the old colliery basin now provides some private moorings. As it was starting to rain we did an about turn and have moored about halfway along for the night. We were rewarded with a beautiful rainbow.
Our rainbow






We now have a couple of days to travel at most 11 miles and 9 locks,so we will see what the weather brings. We haven't decided whether to do both Rushall (the nine locks) and Perry Barr flights on the same day.It's quite a lot of work but from the top of Rushall  it is all through built up areas so probably not the best of moorings.

Today's journey 6 miles


So far this year we have travelled 668.3 miles, 534 locks, 49 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 26 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1870 miles 1620 locks, 105 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 66 tunnels

Friday, 28 September 2012

On the Curly Wyrley

Today's journey along the Wyrley & Essington Canal proved to be far more pleasant than I expected. I had reservations about such an urban waterway but it was remarkably free of rubbish, the inevitable empty beer cans and drinks bottles but only one traffic cone and no supermarket trolleys! The canal twists and turns, at times doubling back on itself, the distance by canal is double the "as the crow flies" distance.

Apart from one stretch near the M6 the water remained incredibly clear, we cruised along watching the fish among the reeds and waterlilies. There was a mix of scenery from housing and industry to woodland and farmland. The names of some of the bridges bear witness to the area's industrial past, we passed under Brick Kiln Bridge, Goscote Works Bridge, Pelsall Works Bridge and York's Foundry Bridge. There are several small basins and disused arms off the main line of the canal, all of which served the the local industry.

We bypassed the Cannock Extension Canal as we wanted to reach Anglesey Basin for an overnight mooring and we had made a rather late start. Our plan was for Mandy, Tony and the kids to join us tomorrow and visit Chasewater Country Park but unfortunately they have a problem with their car so the visit is off.

We could carry on our journey over the weekend but as it will take us through a large amount of suburban Birmingham I think we will leave it until Monday. We might go back and explore the Cannock Extension or we might just be lazy!

Today's journey 15.6 miles


So far this year we have travelled 662.3 miles, 534 locks, 49 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 26 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1864 miles 1620 locks, 105 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 66 tunnels

Thursday, 27 September 2012

The old Bentley Arm

Having spent yesterday doing not a lot, reading and rugging, we had and early start this morning ready for the long haul up to Wolverhampton. I think it takes longer to rip up the fabric strips and cut them to length than it does to make the rug. Rug number 2 is about half complete.

The morning had a definite autumnal feel with quite a lot of mist hanging around the canal. We struck lucky with the first ten locks of the flight being in our favour, actually had to empty the eleventh and thought we would have the remainder of the flight against us. As we were working up through the lock a boat entered the lock above on it's way down so not only was the lock in our favour, I didn't even have to nudge the gates open to get in!

We only met one more boat coming down. The water here is crystal clear, whether that is down to water quality or just that the lack of traffic means the silt on the bottom doesn't get stirred up I don't know.

Anyway we had a good journey,we managed the 22 locks (including the stop lock at the junction) and 2.6 miles to the services at Broad Street basin in three and a half hours. The early part of the journey was in glorious sunshine but towards the top of the flight the sky clouded over and we had a brief shower.

After we dumped the rubbish and emptied the loo we decided to head for the moorings at the, now disused, Bentley Arm. Tomorrow we will head for the Anglesey Arm and Chasewater.

Today's journey 4.2 miles, 22 locks and 1 tunnel


So far this year we have travelled 646.7 miles, 534 locks, 49 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 26 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1848.4 miles 1620 locks, 105 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 66 tunnels

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Up the junction

After spending the day yesterday watching the rain and rag rugging we pulled pins and headed for Autherley Junction. After less than a mile we encountered a tree down, almost blocking the canal. We were able to squeeze past on the towpath side, engine in neutral to avoid fouling the prop as we drifted over the submerged branches. It had fallen from the offside so the trunk was that side.

I spent the remainder of the journey warning any oncoming boats of the hazard, and giving helpful advice to hirers about putting the engine in neutral. I also phoned C&RT to tell them about it but I think they had other things to worry about as the Trent & Mersey has breached near Preston Brook and also suffered erosion at Croxall Flash. As a result the canal is closed from Middlewich to Preston Brook. Glad I wasn't heading that way!

We managed to get to the junction before the rain stated again, in fact we even managed to get to Morrison's before the rain started. Unfortunately we didn't manage to get back to the boat before it started! Tomorrow looks wet again so that will be another going nowhere day!

Today's journey 4.9 miles

So far this year we have travelled 642.5 miles, 512 locks, 49 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1844.2 miles 1598 locks, 105 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 65 tunnels

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Ready for the weather!

We stayed at Wheaton Aston yesterday and moved the vast distance (not!) to Brewood today.

As I have mentioned before we don't want to tackle the Wolverhampton and Birmingham suburbs at the weekend so our original plan was to go up the Wolverhampton 21 on Monday, however the weather forecast has meant a change of plans.

I walked to the shop before we left to pick up milk, bread and bacon, then back to the boat for bacon sandwiches before we left. There were a few hire boats about, I feel a bit sorry for them when the weather is bad. Our journey was uneventful, not as lucky as last time, we met three boats at bridge holes and one at the Stretton Aqueduct which slowed us down a bit but we weren't going far anyway.  We reached Brewood in time to watch the Singapore Grand Prix, and before the rain started. At the moment the rain is persistent but not too heavy but it is forecast to be a lot worse tomorrow. Tuesday might be better, I'll wait and see! At the moment Wednesday is forecast to be awful too!

Our revised plan is to stay here for a couple of days and watch the rain, possibly move to the junction with the Staffs and Worcester on Tuesday then sit and watch the rain again on Wednesday! It looks as if Thursday will be the first day when I would contemplate tackling 21 locks!

I've managed to finish the rag rug I've been making from old jeans, terrible pun warning, I suppose you could say that it is 'jeans ethically modified'. Well, I did warn you! It looks rather good actually.



Two days of rain watching will probably inspire more creativity!

Today's journey 3 miles and 1 lock

So far this year we have travelled 637.6 miles, 512 locks, 49 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1839.3 miles 1598 locks, 105 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 65 tunnels



Friday, 21 September 2012

A dent in the bank balance!

We waited until nearly eleven this morning for the rain to stop before heading for Wheaton Aston. Our timing today was very good, we managed not to meet any oncoming boats in the narrow Cowley Cutting. That luck continued, every time we met a boat it was on a nice wide stretch not at bridge holes or opposite moored boats.

We weren't as lucky with the weather, about an hour into our two hour journey the rain started again, by the time we reached Wheaton Aston we were both cold and drenched. Even wearing waterproofs you still feel wet. After filling up both our diesel tank and jerry cans, a total of 156 litres of diesel and buying a gas bottle we were feeling rather broke as well! As the rain hadn't stopped we reversed back across the canal into a convenient gap between moored boats and decided we had done our bit for the day!

I'm now sat in front of a nice warm fire with a cup of coffee and a chocolate muffin, feeling a lot better! It's our first real fire since spring, we've lit the stove a few times but not a proper blaze until today. It's beginning to feel quite autumnal although the leaves are still all green.

Today's journey 4.9 miles and 1 tunnel

So far this year we have travelled 634.6 miles, 511 locks, 49 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1836.3 miles 1597 locks, 105 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 65 tunnels


Thursday, 20 September 2012

Pork pie at last!!

Ever since we first came to the Shroppie we have been hearing about the pork pies available from the butchers at Gnosall and we have never managed to time our visits so that we were able to buy one. Today, at last, I managed to buy one and I wasn't disappointed. It was possibly the best pork pie I've ever had, can't quite decide between this one and the one I bought in Skipton.

We had a slow journey today, there are always so many moored boats along the canal here. We stopped at Norbury to top up the watertank then continued our leisurely journey to Gnosall. The weather was kind to us, the rain held off until after we had moored and done our shopping. We stocked up with cheap cakes and biscuits and the aforementioned pork pie.

The weather forecast is for rain, showers and more rain so we will probably just make a bit of progress  each day so that we reach the junction on Sunday ready for our assault on the flight on Monday!


Today's journey 5.1 miles

So far this year we have travelled 629.7 miles, 511 locks, 49 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 24 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1831.4 miles 1597 locks, 105 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 64 tunnels

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

High Offley

We've had a prolonged stay at Market Drayton, Ray was still suffering on Monday morning so he made a doctor's appointment for Tuesday. The diagnosis was tendonitis or a slight muscle strain, so he is under orders to take things easy. At least it wasn't anything serious.

We moved on the High Offley today and moored near the Anchor where we spent six weeks frozen in nearly two years ago. There were a few boats on the move so the five locks were relatively easy. That was followed by a slow cruise through Woodeaves cutting, the site of the rockfall in early 2011.

Today I have given advice about being a liveaboard, buying a boat, good places to moor and recommended George's sausages!

We are only two very easy days cruising from the Wolverhampton 21 and I don't want to tackle that at the weekend, travelling around Birmingham is something better done on a weekday so we will head up the flight on Monday. That leaves us with a couple of days to waste so we will see what the weather brings before decide which days to travel.

We will stop for our usual diesel fill up at Turner's at Wheaton Aston on the way through.

Today's journey 9 miles and 5 locks


So far this year we have travelled 624.6 miles, 511 locks, 49 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 24 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1826.3 miles 1597 locks, 105 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 64 tunnels

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Market Drayton


Yesterday was a very windy day so we stayed at our mooring and didn't even consider moving.

Ray wasn't feeling too good this morning so we made a fairly late start, but as we were only planning a short journey it wasn't a problem. I think he's probably pulled a muscle but it he's still suffering on Monday he might have to go to the doctor's. The sun was shining and the wind had dropped so it was a nice day to cruise. I let Ray have a restful time and took the tiller most of the way, just handing over for the locks so I could do the hard work there!

No cakes at the farm shop at the top lock at Adderley, they might have had some at the farm but I couldn't be bothered to walk over, very lazy of me!

We had a very easy cruise to Market Drayton and were moored by early afternoon.

Made a smashing casserole with the Pork and Wholegrain  Mustard Sausages that I bought from George's Pork and Poultry and lock 15 at Audlem, absolutely gorgeous!! Anyone passing through Audlem flight should definitely shop there!

Today's journey 4.5 miles and 7 locks

So far this year we have travelled 615.6 miles, 506 locks, 49 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 24 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1817.3 miles 1592 locks, 105 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 64 tunnels

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Locks not miles

We have been visiting with Barry and Alex, who now have Pharoah dogs as well as their Chinese Cresteds and Pugs, so we have been mugged by dogs instead of cats for a couple of days.

While we were here on the mooring we met a couple from Redhill on the River Soar. John builds boats and we had a look at his which was on it's maiden voyage. Very nice, all fitted out in oak, all I need is a big lottery win!

I walked down to George's yesterday and bought 'Pork with Wholegrain Mustard' and 'Welsh Dragon' sausages with some potatoes, leeks and red onions. George's Pork & Poultry are at the Whitchurch Boat Rally this weekend but will be trading at lock 15 at Audlem as well.

Today it was time to move on, we only went as far as the moorings between locks 2 and 3, which is where we collected all our damsons last year. A bit too late for any this year, there are a few but not enough to be worth the effort of collecting them. Tomorrow we won't be moving as there are high winds forecast then we will head for Market Drayton on Saturday.

Today's journey 1.5 miles and 10 locks


So far this year we have travelled 611.1 miles, 499 locks, 49 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 24 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1812.8 miles 1585 locks, 105 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 64 tunnels

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Audlem

Our journey to Audlem was fairly easy.There was quite a queue to come down Hack Green Locks but only one boat ahead of us going up. This meant that I had very little work to do as there were lots of other people on the paddles and gates. I had a nice chat at the bottom lock and recommended the Llangollen as the nicest direction to head in to someone who was out on his first trip. After that it was a very easy cruise up to Audlem,

I had another nice chat at George's, the "shop" at the bottom lock and the lady there helped us through the lock. I'll walk back down later in the week to get some supplies as I don't really need anything at the moment.

Two more locks saw us onto the five day mooring opposite The Shroppie Fly where we will stay for a few days to give us a chance to visit Barry and Alex. As it was still early I went across to Audlem Mill and bought some crafty bits, including a gauge for cutting fabric for rag rugs, I should be able to cut stuff up a lot quicker and more evenly now.

Today's journey 5.1 miles and 5 locks


So far this year we have travelled 609.6 miles, 489 locks, 49 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 24 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1811.3 miles 1575 locks, 105 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 64 tunnels

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Feels almost like home!

Today we travelled until we reached Nantwich, just beyond actually. We spent so much time around this area last year, we know it so well. After having shopped in Chester on Wednesday and knowing I can shop in Audlem there was no reason to go into Nantwich. We did see a couple of people who remembered us as we passed through.

My brother had suggested that I might like to visit Beeston Castle while I was moored near there and it was only about half a mile from last night's mooring spot so would have been an easy walk. Apart from the uphill climb that is! Although I can walk for miles on the flat, hills and I don't go to well together. I didn't think my dodgy knee would be up to it.

At Beeston Iron Lock we met up with another boat who waited for us at Beeston Stone Lock and then we shared locks up through Bunbury. We parted company at Calverley where we stopped for the services, they were heading up the Llangollen. It was so nice to meet someone who wasn't in a rush.

We did another boat that wasn't rushing, a day boat out of Nantwich Marina. Once you reach Barbridge the journey is fairly slow anyway because of the moored boats but they managed to acquire a convoy of five boats including us behind them. I didn't mind too much but it was very slow going.

We made the most of the lovely weather, it's all supposed to change again next week, if you can trust the forecast. We will probably take a few days off when we reach Audlem and visit Barry and Alex.


Today's journey 9.9 miles and 5 locks

So far this year we have travelled 604.5 miles, 484 locks, 49 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 24 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 1806.2 miles 1570 locks, 105 swing bridges, 61 lift bridges and 64 tunnels