Perfect Harmony

Perfect Harmony
Moored at Huntingdon

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

31st July '12

Here we are on the last day of July - where has the summer gone? It's cold, wet and miserable here after a week of lovely sun.
John has painted the sides of the hull to cover the scratches and knocks of the last year or so and it looks a lot better. He was going to paint the bow and stern this week, borrowing a raft that Jan has (2 boats up) but the rain has stopped play! At least he has the Olympics to keep him happy, not that our medal count is much to smile about. I continue to ignore it as best as possible.....

My bumps and bruises are improving although I managed to put my back out at the beginning of last week, luckily I discovered a fantastic chiropractor and after 2 treatments am OK. I do seem to be a bit of a wreck lately, John was making enquiries at the glue factory I suspect!

We babysat Nellie last week, but she wasn't keen on the experience so I got no new photos of her - screaming fit to burst didn't seem like a good photo opportunity (although thinking about it, they could have been useful when she's a stroppy teenager!).

We went and saw Rob and Michelle in their new house so have an up to date photo of Halden!

here he is at nearly 6 months, very much more of an Owen than anything else at the moment!

We have nothing planned in the next week or so but I'll try to update this when anything happens!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

tues 17th July '12

Weve been home a few days now and settling back into some sort of routine.
I have a PS to add to the whole falling in debacle - John hadn't actually realised I'd fallen in at the time apparently. He'd been talking to me and then turned around to check what was behind us and when he turned around - still chatting to me - wondered where I'd gone! it was only the numbers of observers on the bank that alerted him to something being wrong! Great!

This is the bruise that has come out on my foot where I must have caught the edge of the boat as I went over! Shows how much my knee hurts since I haven't felt this - although I did wonder why I couldn't get comfy in bed!

I went to A&E yesterday and nothing is broken - just badly sprained around the joint so I'm resting it and it's much improved.

Paddy decided to launch himself in the water yesterday - heaven knows why - no duck or anything that I could see to entice him in - anyway it means that today he has a bad tummy and has only just eaten his breakfast (it's teatime) and his tummy has been making monstrous rumbles all day!

John has bought a ladder to fit on the back of the boat and I feel a lot more secure now.

Photos from the last few days of cruising:

this has amused us before as we went past but this time I had a camera - it's south of Stoke and is a sort of boatyard cum whatever you like - an eclectic mix we feel!

Just to prove that the sun DID shine at some point this summer! This is what it's all about......

Flooding on the Trent at Shugborough - we were fascinated by the two colours of the water - it was like this for quite a distance!

Trent in flood just north of Armitage - at Trent Aqueduct. I've taken a picture of this before where you can hardly see any water at all. This is why we knew it was going to be interesting at Alrewas!

I'm going to try to put something on here most weeks to stop regular readers nagging me (Terry) and hope it doesn't get too boring!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Friday 13th July '12

Norwin gets our attention just after 8am by banging on the boat and saying that the locks are open and they are heading off.
We rise in record time and follow him - bless them they have opened the lock for us and so we are on our way.
We find Alrewas not as busy as expected, in fact there were moorings to be had if we had wanted them at that point. We get to the river lock and there are already boats coming up but we are the first two boats seemingly to be going down.
I insist we put on lifejackets - after yesterdays adventure I'm taking no chances!
We actually find the river less difficult than we had expected. GEtting past the weir was not at all traumatic and the narrow bridge, which John had thought would be the worst bit was no problem at all and so we find ourselves over the river and back in the canal system.
The weather is awful and we are wet and cold and hungry - we breakfast in shifts whilst on the move and I make multiple mugs of Bovril! Despite it all we decide that we will get back today so we continue through - at one of the locks we have a queue of 21 boats waiting to go up! Heaven knows how many were behind us, but at least it meant that we were able to get through the first few locks easily.
We arrive home about 2.45pm. and put the heating on, get changed and have a hot drink and some lunch.
It's good to be back but so happy that we did it - where next?

12th July '12

What a day!
We decided to move down as near to Alrewas as possible so we could be ready for when the lock re-opens. Boats coming from there are full of doom and gloom - no space - boats moored all over the place, etc. etc.
So disregarding them all we move off from Rugeley after a quick dash (well hobble as my knee is still giving me some gyp.) to the supermarket to buy a few necessaries while John prepared the boat.
The day warms up decidedly and so we both change jeans for longs and teeshirts and we enjoy a remarkably pleasant trip down.
We stop for water after the narrow bit at Armitage and again hear that Fradley is full. No probs for the interpid crew of Perfect Harmony.
We get down the first couple of locks and then I manage to equip myself very professionally at the top of the Junction Lock in front of all the people with their pints waiting for collisions and pull in waiting for the boat to come up. John dashes off with the rubbish and confirms that the Elsan point is on the right by the cafe. He jumps on and brings the boat in nicely and I tie off the middle rope as per usual. Why all this unnecessary detail I hear you ask. Well, wait for it I reply......
When he had returned from emptying the cassette and he was all ready to go I undo the rope and get to the front for a push off and then walk along the gunnel to join him.
I'd forgotten that I'd put the new fender on the gunnel and I trod on it and slipped (gracefully I hope) into the water!
I was able to stand up in it but it came to my armpits and I struggled to the side where all the people having tea at the cafe were watching - JOY - not only do I fall in but I have to do it in the most public place possible.
They find a life belt and get it around me and I have to walk carefully along the rocks that line the bottom of the basin until there was a bit that wasn't so high and then they haul me out. I am at that point laughing (slightly hysterically I suspect) and JOhn brings the boat over so I jump on and drip my way merrily along the gunnel (sans fender) and join him.
I would here like to thank profusely all the staff and patrons of the cafe who assisted me - I really done know what I would have done without you all!
The next lock is only a stones throw away and one of the observers of my downfall was there and insisted on doing the lock for us so that I could go down and shower. At this point I am freezing and filthy and just realising what a horrible thing had happened. By the time I'm out of the shower I'm in tears.
We moor and along comes Norwin and Sheila in Shell Bell who moor on the same jetty as us. We end up moving on and both mooring further down before the next lock.
John and I are now going to buy a life belt and a rope ladder of some sort as we have realised how vulnerable you are when you fall off the boat. I would NEVER have been able to hoist myself back on board and John would have been hard pushed to have been able to drag me up without some sort of help. A lesson learnt.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

11th July '12

Still having problems with hotspot but coping with iPad! We are definitely unable to get past Alrewas, checked the Waterscape website. More rain forecast so unlikely to be soon I feel. Still water is unpredictable so you never know. I have taken some impressive photos of Trent in flood along the way today, as we run parallel to it. We are moored at Rugeley, which we've never been able to get moored at before. There's a lot of movement on the canal, but lots are going down the Coventry, and we suspect some coming back up are simply going to go back up north. We are going to try to get further down tomorrow and see what the situation is. Rugeley is much smaller than we'd expected and seems a bit down at heel, lots of empty shops and most of the town centre pubs shut. We are moored behind John and Val who we have been bumping into (not literally) for the last few days. They are from Swindon and can't get back to the Kennet &Avon so are going to stay up here to explore the northern canals. Apparently the Thames in unnavigable at present! Lucky it was ok for the Jubilee Pageant. We have had 2 pigeons either fighting or mating (I'm not an authority) outside the boat for ages today. They made so much noise that a flock of young ducks came and made a semicircle around them to watch! Very funny! By the way, John discovered that the plant he thought was giant burdock, was in fact giant hogs weed, thanks Terry, I noticed your comment! It has been quite warm and sunny most of the day so here's hoping the river will go down!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

10thJuly '12

Not had any connection for last few days, but am getting intermittent 3G here. Not had any more early starts and no more accidents. My knee is still swollen and sore but can live with it. We are back at Shugborough after a night at Weston and some decent weather. It has now turned nasty again and we hear that the river section between Alrewas and Wychnor is shut and the licks chained because of the height of the river! We are next to the Trent here and it's running very high and fast so am not totally surprised. Our return is likely to be delayed. We went over the servants section of the house today and it was fascinating. Definitely worth a visit. Luckily I have lots of wool with me, I can be delayed for a while without running out of projects! Paddy is back to refusing to walk as its wet, but strenuously objects to everyone else walking on 'our' bit of towpath... Oh dear. If it brightens up tomorrow we shall head on a bit to see how things are, no real problem, I'd just like a good Internet connection, my wants are few! Oh, we had a small incident. The other night we were both kept awake by a scrabbling sound in the roof. John suspected a mouse and bought a trap in Stone. Hey presto, next morning one dead mouse and no more sounds in the night! Where it came from and how it got in is a mystery, anyone heard of this on other boats?

Saturday, 7 July 2012

7th July '12

We decided on an early start today,to try to beat the weather. Alarm duly set for 7.30 we got up and I took Paddy around the lake and John set off for a run. On my return I decide to be extra useful and remove the sides from the pram cover. Bad move. I get the sides off but as I'm getting back on the boat I somehow miss my fitting and one leg goes scraping down the side of the boat, I land heavily on the other knee and my (frozen) shoulder gets wrenched badly, all in front of some chap walking his dog! I get inside and find the arnica gel and discover that I have lost too much skin to use it, so settle for a couple of giant plasters so it didn't rub on my jeans! Feeling sorry for myself and insome pain John returns, covered in mud, after slipping over! We are not meant for early mornings!!! Ironically when we leave at 9.00am we are the last people on the moorings!all the other boats are long gone.... What is wrong with these people? Do they not sleep? We arrive at the top of Stoke locks and find ourselves third in the queue, but the sun is out, so what did it matter? Amazingly there was an equal number of people coming up and we got through them in under an hour and a half. My idea of heaven when we can leave a lock open and go straight into the next. The sun became hotter and hotter to our amazement, and we got to Stone to find the locks equally helpful. We have moored halfway through them as we were not sure that we'd get a mooring at the bottom. We popped into town and it rained briefly as we returned, but it is dry again now. Who knows what tomorrow might bring? Less than 40 miles till we are back, and I'm quite looking forward to it now.

Friday, 6 July 2012

6th July '12

Hallelulah! Hotspot returned and am back on the computer - first the notes from a couple of days ago.

4th July ‘12

Back to notes on the computer – more or less certain that there’s a fault with my Iphone. Anyone any suggestions?

We had a bit of a lie-in today – unintentional but Paddy didn’t need to go out and neither of us woke up so there you are.

Too late for John to go out for a run but even so it was almost 11.30 when we set off.

The best thing about that was that we arrived at the Fools Nook at lunchtime – I wonder if subconsciously we lay in late to ensure this? Anyway it had started to rain quite heavily so we allowed ourselves an hour or so before heading off again.

Not long after setting out (the weather had dried but was very sticky – not at all nice) we found a boat straddling the canal and the owner having  problems with getting it under control. We pulled in after a while seeing that the bloke was obviously having difficulties but just as John started up the tow path, the boat became manageable again so back on my hero jumped and as we went past it turned out that the poor bloke works nights, so was asleep on the boat when he heard something go by quickly and before he knew it his pins had come out and he was adrift – he’d only had it a few days! We thought we knew who the culprit was as she went tearing past us as we were getting ready to pull away. We found the boat later, mooring up with lady driver nowhere to be seen and a bloke on the bow. Being unable to keep my nose out of anything I (very nicely) pointed out that they had set a boat adrift. His response was that they saw him adrift and went past him very slowly. Didn’t seem worth pointing out that it might have been nice to have helped it if that was the case!

Funny story! We were cruising past a large field spreading uphill away from the canal and the upper part was covered in seagulls. “A long way from the sea” saith John. “Probably never seen a wave” was my witty and immediate reply. John’s response was to wave at the gulls. As one bird they all took off and flew down the field towards us (remember the Birds by Hitchcock?  very reminiscent) as they reached us they divided into two groups and swerved around and flew back to where they’d come from! Spooky or what? John by the way, is yelling “Don’t poo on my boat!” which seemed a very sensible thing to do to several hundred angry seagulls about to peck ones eyes out.

We have also been plagued for the last few days by horseflys. I have taken to having a fly swatter up on deck – I don’t kill many but I give some of them headaches! Dread getting bitten by one as I react badly.

We came down the Bosley Locks today – all 12 of them and joy of joys they were all in our favour apart from one that appeared to have emptied itself as there was no reason for it to have been empty apart from that. It was amazing – we did them in under 2 hours!

We are now at Congleton, where we stayed for the last few weeks before the boat was completed. We have been down and had a beer and they recognised us and were interested in how we found life afloat. Nice to be remembered. We are on a horrible mooring – very much on a tilt as the canal is so shallow at the edges. We plan to get best way towards the end of the Macclesfield tomorrow with Kidsgrove in our sights for the following day.

Slightly out of order now but here we are still at the Lake as the forecast lived up to it's warnings and it's been nothing but torrential downpours all day. Hope to move on tomorrow. But now for some pictures hopefully.

Taken on the 24th June - crossing the Mersey! (no ferries involved)

Passing Manchester United ground (best thing to do with it!)

One of Johns photos of Salford Quays, taken on the Sunday when I stayed on the boat with a bad back.

Also Salford Quays - disgusting isn't it?

Us moored at Castlefields Basin - it's the middle of Manchester but doesn't it look nice - and it was!

Old and new bridges as we leave Castlefields - lock is on the right - you can see Georgina going into it.

Both of us in the first of the infamous Rochdale '9'. It was only when we got to the top that they told me that 2 bodies had been fished out of here a couple of weeks earlier! Brilliant. This is the lock that had been blocked up with a tyre earlier in the day, and we'd had to wait for it to be cleared. That's the Hilton on the left of centre - you can see it for miles around.

Heres a job we didn't fancy! Window cleaning at that height - ugh!

Sign under one of the bridges between locks - shows the area we were in. We couldn't wait to get out of there!

In the interests of fairness here's Manchester City from the canal!

Here's the Marple viaduct and we are on the Marple aquaduct - I may have put this on before but it's worth it if I have! This is before we get to the locks so you get an idea of how high we are going.

Approaching the first of the Marple Locks - it was a lovely day and the setting was beautiful.

part way up the flight

Paddy supervising proceedings at one of the locks!

Centre point of the locks and there was a right-hand turn into a very tricky tunnel but thankfully I got it right as I was being closely observed by some men on the bridge who looked as if they'd never seen a woman steering a boat before!

This was the view down from the top lock - we had risen 210 feet in less than a mile through 12 locks and luckily it didn't rain! Here we turned left onto the Higher Peak Forest Canal and passed the bridge on the right that is the junction to the Macclesfield - we went under that later on our travels!

Amazing views over Cheshire - we are so high up here it's wonderful.

One of the lift bridges we had to negotiate - it would have been easier if we could have got closer into the sides but the canal is notoriously shallow at the edges - great for mooring????

Entering Bugsworth Basin - I would recommend a visit her to anyone. It's a really lovely place and very inspirational.

Nellie visited us for lunch at Bugsworth - here she is looking beautiful! She's nearly 3 months now.

Strange plant growing in just one place near New Mills - John thinks it's Giant Burdock - any thoughts anyone?

The start of the Macclesfield Canal! We are now on the homeward journey.

Old cotton mill at Bollington that has been turned into offices etc - nice to see them being used - so many are falling apart.

Best example of a snake bridge -they are designed so that the horse can change sides of the canal without having to undo the harness - devious! There are several on the Macclesfield but this one just south of the town is the best one.

The seagulls have landed! if you don't know what I'm talking about then you haven't read all the previous blog that I have carefully written and I'm not going through it again - so there!

top of the Bosley locks - we are on our way to Congleton to say hello to the people at the Church House Inn, where we stayed last year in the van for the last few weeks of the boat being built.

on our way down the locks - I just love photos through bridges - you wouldn't believe how many I take!

AT the final small stop lock on the Macclesfield - then we are officially on the Trent and Mersey but still have about a mile to go until we get on the main course of it. This lock is only 12inches deep but even that was in our favour! Great day.

Crossing the aquaduct that will bring us around to the Trent and Mersey - we are crossing it here and you can see the water coloured from the oxide in the water coming out of the tunnel.

There we are - up to date. I shall hope that I can continue to keep this regular from now on. Hoping for better weather tomorrow to tackle Stoke. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, 5 July 2012


Had to write yesterday's on computer and still no Internet. Reset phone but still no hotspot. Very frustrated. Anyway we are now back on the Trent and Maersey. We stayed at Congleton last night and met the people at the pub we stayed at. Very nice to be remembered. We left earlyish today and amidst beautiful sunshine we came through Harecastle Tunnel (well it wasn't sunny in the tunnel you understand) and amazingly the light stayed on throughout. We are now moored at Westport Lake and it's beautiful. Lovely to have a good mooring, excellent towpath and no shallow bottom, tipping us on our side. Macclesfield had its good bits but boy did it have it's detractions. Paddy enjoyed his walk around the lake here, he went in the shallows and laid down! Hot dog. We have been told that the forecast for tomorrow is horrific, sowe may stay. We are well on track to get back before we have to so a day or two won't matter. The next bit takes us through Stoke so I'd rather it wasn't too wet!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

3rd July '12

After almost 2 weeks without internet we are in Macclesfield and have found a cafe with a hot-spot so am enjoying carrot cake and a pot of tea whilst filling this in!
I've added all the bits I'd put on  notes as we've been travelling, but realise this is a bit dry without photos so I'm hoping I can add some now. Macclesfield canal is pretty shallow in parts, much as the Peak Forest was so out of the 2 visitor moorings in Macclesfield, one was taken and the other one was impossible to get into! We are moored a bit further south of the wharf, and carrying the computer is seems quite a way but actually only about 10 minutes walk.
We started off early(ish) today and so missed most of the rain. It's nice again now but the threat is still there.

interesting old building on the outskirts of Manchester on the Bridgewater canal.

Aqueduct at bottom of Marple locks

this is taking ages to download and my computer is going to run out of steam in a moment so I shall add photos when I can.

Blast the problems with internet connection!!!!!!

Back to the boat and tea. Hopefully I shall be back soon.


A wet day. We kept the pram cover up and although it meant that John couldn’t see too well it kept us a bit drier. We stopped and emptied the cassette and filled with water at a little wharf, and I was able to get a bottle of milk. A real bottle – didn’t know they still existed!

We got as far as Lymm which showed good moorings on the map but they were all taken so we had to go around the corner and moored in a horrible spot where the grass sloped down to the canal and there was about 6” of space to put the mooring pins. This turned out to be scalpings and the little lane was a well used road so not only were the pins somewhat insecure but also the boat was covered in white mud from the cars going through the puddles along the track. UGH!

John went and investigated the village which he pronounced very pretty and he went to the supermarket and bought a few basics, but I shalln’t be sorry to move on. Back very painful from wearing flat shoes – never again – I would rather fall in from slipping with my MBT’s than suffer with my back again.

23rd June ‘12

We left Lymm feeling tired and miserable. The moorings weren’t good and we were scared our pins would get pulled out. There was a lot of noise for such a small village and there were people on the boat behind us that insisted on talking at the tops of their voices, outside, in the early hours of the morning. What with that and my being unable to move without the use of pulleys, it wasn’t a good night!

We left the hood up but took the side panels out and the weather varied between dry and damp until we hit the outskirts of Manchester when it started to pour down. So somehow I managed to insert the side panels from the inside whilst we were on the move – not easy when you can’t move much – but at least it made the rest of the journey a bit drier!

We could see moorings at Castlefields at the base of the locks shown on the map but when we explored the ones on the left they said no mooring so with hearts in our mouths we went into the right arm and there they were! Lovely moorings with bollards and everything!

Very glad to moor and expect we shall stay here the weekend so that my back can improve and also there will be fewer people about on the locks as they don’t have the best reputation.

We had lunch in a nice bar just a couple of minutes away and then had a walk with Paddy up a few of the locks – not nice! Double locks and some of them dubious looking. All of them need anti-vandal keys which tells you something!

24th June ‘12

Had a lie in as my back was excruciating. After breakfast (well more brunch time to be honest) we had a walk up to the Sainsbury’s up the road. John went in but it was only a small store so he wasn’t able to get much – I waited outside with Paddy.

I spent the rest of the day sat down, very still, taking tablets and playing a new game I found on my ‘3’ account! My back felt better for it.

John went to investigate Salford Quays in the afternoon on the Metro and then went to the bar to watch the football in the evening – England lost so there you go.

I’m dreading the locks tomorrow and hope we can find someone to go with, I asked John to check out any possible boaters at the pub but he said they were all young, local lads so nothing doing there. Maybe we can hang around at the foot of the locks and see if anyone turns up! Fingers crossed.

25th June ‘12

My prayers are answered – the couple in the boat moored opposite us are moving on today and asked if we would go through the locks with them – YES!!!!!!

We are hoping to make an early start but they have been around to the lock and there appears to be a delay – there are boats in there that have been stuck for an hour and a half and yesterday a boat took 2 hours to get through it. So we are sitting and waiting. My back is much better today and with my support and enough pain-killers I can barely feel it! John and  Eric are around at the lock and both have their walkie talkies, Deb and I are back at the boats despairing of the fact that everyone here seems to have walkie talkies and the signals are getting crossed – we have both had some strange messages!

Finally some BW men arrived and are sorting the lock out – apparently a tyre was stuck on the lower cill and causing the bottom gates to stick slightly open so the water going out was equal to the water going in. They have cleared the obstruction and we get into the lock.

There are 9 locks in this flight and all double and all against us! Despite this we manage to get through by lunchtime which surprised us all! It was only 2 miles but a very long stretch. Not a single boat came down them by the way – just as well in places as there was little turning space.

We lunched at the start of the Ashton Canal, the locks were on the Rotherford so that’s another canal we have experienced.

After our success of the morning we decide to get on – there are 18 locks to get through (yes that WAS 18 I wrote and not a typo) but that seems nothing to intrepid boaters like what we are.... they are single locks but we agree that we shall go first, and crank the bottom gates for them so that they meet locks partially empty.

This worked well and by lock 7 I pointed out to Deb that there is an Asda just up ahead and we both need supplies. There are even some bollards there for boaters and so we moor up and leave the men with a beer and we head into the supermarket which is just next to the canal. About an hour later both boats are well stocked with essentials again and we head off to complete the journey.

The Ashton is the filthiest canal I have ever seen – apparently the rubbish gets cleared on a weekly basis but it is full of take-away containers, drink bottles and other paraphernalia that people feel would be better off in the canal than in their rubbish bins at home. Why are people so damned lazy? And why can’t they have some pride in their surroundings?

Anyway we continue on up the canal and eventually get to the final lock, number 18. There is a water point there which we both need and also about 100 young lads (pre-teens), all keen to climb on the boat, stroke the dog, investigate everything and ask 1,000 questions. There was no real harm in them, just no sense of boundaries.

By now it was getting late and we hadn’t eaten for hours and of  joys... we see people eating take-aways – “where is the nearest?” we ask in unison (Deb and I are twins parted at birth!) and we find that there is a choice. We tie up quickly and John and Deb go off while Eric, Paddy and I guard the boats – it felt like that sort of area!

The providers return and we quickly move around the corner under the bridge until we feel OK to moor for the night and then turn in for our curries ..... it’s no 11.00pm!

Never cruised with lights on before, never cruised this late before, never done 27 locks in a day before – never want to do it again!!!!

26th June ’12

We left the mooring slightly later than Eric and Deb but said we’d catch them up. An uneventful cruise up the Ashton- it certainly improved once we’d left the locks behind. We came to the junction and turned onto the Peak Forest Canal.

Still suffering with my back, I jumped off with Paddy to have a bit of a walk – poor chap had hardly touched solid earth over the last few days and seen precious little grass or hedgerow so we both needed it. I caught up with the others but found that they had eaten their lunch on the go so exchanged numbers and said we’d meet up later for a drink.

I jumped back on ours and we moored up for lunch. The weather had been overcast but dry up to that point and just as we’d finished lunch the heavens opened so we stayed put for a bit. Then got a text from the others saying that they were moored at the bottom of Marple locks and there were some other spaces – this is about 45minutes away so we set off regardless of the weather (again) and found them.

The invitation was issued so we went aboard and had a few glasses of wine then I took Paddy out and got him his tea. I went and dragged John back to ours for tea and invited them back to ours afterwards.

Suffice it to say that we emptied a few bottles and made some new friends. Amazingly they knew David and Viv so they rang them and we had a chat! Small world isn’t it?

27th June ‘12

Eric and Deb had decided that because of needing to be in Liverpool at the end of next week they would go back the way they had come rather than go on. So we said our farewells and headed towards the locks. There were 16 of them. Before getting there we crossed an impressive aquaduct that was alongside a viaduct carrying the railway. It reminded me of Chirk somewhat.

The first lock and wonder of wonders a boat coming out. Hooray thinks I, this will make the day easier. I had forgotten in my joy that another boat had gone past before we set off and sure enough, we get to the second lock and it’s against us.

On the bright side, the weather is improving dramatically and the scenery is amazing. The 16 locks climb 208feet in just under a mile, so they come thick and fast and that makes it easier in many ways. I now feel very proficient at moving the boat around and think that I tend to smirk somewhat when people are watching me cruise smoothly into a narrow opening!

There were a lot of walkers out and lots of friendly chats across the water, which is nice.

Naturally the locks continued to be against us until when I’m in lock 14 John says there’s a boat coming down. Loud hoorays once again.

As I rise up the lock I seen one of the smallest pounds in front of me and John has been chatting with the people in the lock above and they are going to come out and keep on the left so that I can get around them and we can both then move into the empty locks ahead of us. We are now in Marple and lots of people have emerged from heaven knows where and we have attracted a crowd.

As the other lock opens it appears that there are two small boats in it, one moves around to my left as expected and the other goes to my right¸ interesting I thought, as this was a plastic pig it should have been more easily steered than the narrow boat so why make things difficult? At this point the one in front swings across the pound in front of me. I am stood at the back of ours shrugging my shoulders, the crowd can smell blood and become more interested. It is decided that the narrow boat (boat a shall we say) is going to try to swing back to my left but needs to use my bow to lean on to push himself back (all crew on both boats are male by the way). I have to go back and forth until boat a has managed to get itself out of my way but boat b is happy on the other side and John confidently shouts across that there should be plenty of room. I put a confident smile on my face (the crowd are expectant) and set out. Miraculously I get around both boats and into the lock without incident. Did I get a rousing cheer from the crowd? Did I heck! No blood, no collision, no-one falling in the canal, if they’d paid admission they’d have asked for their money back. Gongoozelers!!!!

At the top of the locks we hope for liquid refreshment but as we turn north and see the entrance to the Macclesfield Canal on our right, it’s obvious that we are going in the wrong direction for facilities. In fact we barely manage to moor as the sides of the canal are very shallow and mooring was tricky. We stopped for a quick and rather late lunch and then continued up the Peak Canal. It’s not the best I have to say. Beautiful scenery but it has a bottom that is saucer shaped so it’s very easy to ground and the banks are falling into the canal in lots of places.

We moor up at Newtown and find a co-op!

28/29/30th June ‘12

We are moored at Bugsworth Basin which is truly awesome, for the amount of work and dedication that has gone into restoration.

Tom, Francesca and Nellie came to visit for Sunday lunch and it poured! It was lovely to see them and amazing that it has taken us 3 weeks to get here and we’re only just over an hour from home by road!

1st July ‘12
We filled up with water and left Bugsworth today, feeling  we’d been somewhere really special.
The return journey down the Peak Canal to Marple was as expected. It rained and we got grounded a few times when we had to move across to let others pass
We got to Marple and had hoped to moor once on the Macclesfield Canal,  but there were only 3 spaces and they were all taken so we kept on for a mile or so and after a few abortive attempts to moor because of shallow water we have finally found a space that we could get into and hopefully will be able to get out of again tomorrow.
Paddy was less than happy this morning and didn’t have his breakfast until late morning. He does have a delicate little tummy at times. He’s OK again now though.
We are on the homeward trip now I suppose. Tom brought up our mail yesterday which was useful and we have said we’ll be back by his birthday (19th). It will be strange to be back.