Friday, 21 October 2016

We're Back

Saturday saw us arrive back in the marina after a fantastic week away on Hobbit. Also it has been a few days since I last updated the blog mainly due to data issues (not having enough left) so this post is really a catch up on the rest of the journey.

Monday morning was an early start as we had decided to tackle the remaining 12 miles and 27 locks (Heartbreak Hill) in one go with the aim of arriving in Middlewich late afternoon. This was the first time we had attempted this many locks in one go, and in all fairness we really enjoyed the experience, and it also helped that the majority were set in our favour. Its also worth noting that a number of the locks are paired so the chances of having at least one set in out favour was pretty good.

Example of the paired locks going down Heartbreak Hill
One big surprise was how few boats were out on the Trent & Mersey, in fact between Red Bull and Middlewich we only passed two. Our overnight mooring was at Kings Lock, Middlewich. Probably not to everyone's taste as its situated next to a busy main road and could be the reason that there were only 3 other boats moored there, however once the rush hour was over it was pretty quiet and we had a good nights sleep. It's also worth noting that there is a good fish and chip shop nearby.

Mooring at Kings Lock, Middlewich
On Tuesday we were going to be joined by my parents for the day, with the plan of taking them for a little cruise up the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal, followed by a late lunch in the Kings Lock Pub. We only had time for a short trip of a couple of miles, but that was enough for us to want more and we will definitely be back to cruise the whole 10 mile length at some point. Lunch in the Kings Lock was excellent and they have a wide range of locally sourced beers on draft (definitely worth a visit if your in the area). We left Middlewich around 3:00pm to start our return journey, with an overnight stop planned in Wheelock.

Entrance to the Shropshire Union Canal, Middlewich Branch

We arrived at Wheelock just as it was going dark, about 6:00pm. Its probably worth noting that although there are a good number of moorings available, it was busy even at this time of year, and we only just managed to moor up on the end, near to the service point.

Moorings at Wheelock

After an early breakfast we set off to do the return journey up Heartbreak hill, the weather was good once again and spirits were high, especially as we were able to buddy up with another boat. By 5:00pm we were once again moored up on the Macclesfield Canal for our much anticipated visit to the Rising Sun at Scholar Green. I cannot recommend the Rising Sun enough, the food and the service are excellent and there is plenty of mooring available within easy walking distance. I had planned Thursday as a bit of a day off, with only a small amount of cruising needed in the afternoon to position ourselves at the bottom of Bosley Locks.

I had kept this plan to myself as I had wanted to surprise Anne-Marie with a visit to Little Morton Hall, a short walk from the canal. Its somewhere Anne-Marie has wanted to visit for quite a while and although by road its only an hours drive from home, the plan was always to visit while out on the boat. Now owned by the National Trust its a fascinating place and defies all logic as to how it hasn't fallen down.

Little Morton Hall

Friday was a pretty straight forward run up through bosley Locks, although some of the pounds were quite low on water, a combination of leaky gates and the fact that someone had left the bottom gates open on lock 9.

Leaky lock gate at Bosley
After one last Night on the Macclesfield Canal, it was a steady cruise back to the marina. Due to circumstances this was only our second full week out on Hobbit since her launch last year and we have enjoyed every minute of it, and the icing on the cake has been the weather which for this time of year has been fantastic.

Until next time........
Mark & Anne-Marie
NB Hobbit

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Bosley to Red Bull

We awoke on Sunday to a beautiful morning and after a quick breakfast I took advantage of the service point adjacent to lock no.1 to get rid of the rubbish and empty the toilet cassette. Then it was time to set off down the 12 locks of the Bosley Flight. There are only 13 locks on the entire length of the Macclesfield Canal and in fact its possible to cruise lock free from Whaley Bridge on the Peak Forest canal to Bosley, 22 miles in total. With the much appreciated help of my Dad we descended the locks in a respectable 1 hour 44 minutes.

Once through the locks we said our goodbyes to my Dad, who had the 1 mile return walk to retrieve his car, we made our onward journey down the lower part of the Macclesfield Canal to join up with the Trent & Mersey. 

Even the cows were getting in on the action!

You very often hear of boaters sharing locks, unfortunately in my case it was with a large dead carp. You'll have to take it from me, the smell was indescribable!

Finally it was on to the Trent & Mersey and our last 3 locks of the day before finally mooring up for the evening at Red Bull. 

Our overnight mooring at Red Bull
Its worth mentioning that the Red Bull pub adjacent to lock 42 serves lovely pub grub and a good pint (well we just had too).

Until next time......
Mark & Anne-Marie
NB Hobbit

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Furness Vale to Bosley

Yesterday we left the marina to have a long overdue week away on Hobbit. Our plan is to head up the Trent & Mersey towards Anderton, and time allowing maybe have a couple of hours on the river Weaver.

The weather picked up nicely for our departure and although it was overcast, it made for a pleasant cruise. I decided to push on and made the moorings at Higher Poynton just before dark. People who spend time on the canals will probably know the area better as the home of Braidbar Boats. No visit would be complete without whiling away a couple of hours in the Boars Head, a place where you can get some good pub grub and a pint of real ale.

Boars Head, Higher Poynton

With the mist rising on the water we set off for a steady days cruising to Bosley, there's no rush today as we don't intend going through the locks until Sunday morning. The journey down to Bosley was pleasant and uneventful, but having not cruised down this far for nearly a year we really enjoyed every minute.


We managed to get moored just above the top lock ready for an early decent through the locks tomorrow.

CRT services next to lock 1 at Bosley
Until next time......
Mark & Anne-Marie
NB Hobbit

Monday, 12 September 2016

Boat Club Barbecue

Last weekend saw us attending the annual Furness Vale Boat Club barbecue, held for the first time at the beautiful Bugsworth Basin in the Peak District. Anybody who follows us on Instagram or Twitter will know that Bugsworth is a regular haunt for Hobbit, mainly because its only a short cruise away. The basin itself is a great place to visit and would definitely recommend doing so, whether by boat, car, bike or on foot. There is so much history and the local restoration group do a great job of maintaining it.

Bugsworth is a grade 1 scheduled monument and the oldest inland port on the network. Lime stone was brought down from the local quarries by means of a tram way and then processed on site in lime kilns. The lime was then transported around the country in boats similar to the one below.

This photo was not taken at the weekend thank goodness. It one from last winter.
The barbecue was a resounding success with many of the club members attending, sadly not all could make the journey by boat, but did get there by other means. There was a unanimous agreement that from now on the club would always try to hold the event at here.

Some of the club members boats including Hobbit tucked in on the far end.
Until next time.........
Mark & Anne-marie
Narrowboat Hobbit

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Summer Days

Readers of this blog will know that Hobbit was launched in October 2015. This means that the majority of our cruising has been during the winter months, and during those cold often wet journeys we longed for the summer cruisers. The long hours of daylight and warm sunshine on our backs was for many months just a dream. 

I remember during a particularly cold cruise back from Marple, remarking to Anne-Marie that one day it would be wonderful to be stood at the tiller in a short sleeved shirt and shorts......

We took full advantage of the weather to have a little trip to the Macclesfield canal at Marple. 

There were a few other boats out on the cut enjoying the amazing weather, However the closure of the Macclesfield Canal at Bollington, means that a lot of people will have been unable to reach the Peak Forest canal during the half term holiday.

Obviously a perfect day for fishing

Until the next time........

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Hawk Green

With the weather forecasters promising a sunny day, we arose early and set off for a cruise in the direction of Marple. Our last few cruises have had to be planned around taking family out on Hobbit, which whilst been great fun it has meant us sticking to a pretty rigid timetable in order to get to our chosen lunch destination of the pub (the Ring O' Bells at Marple is a particular favourite).

Today it was just Anne-Marie and myself with a lamb hot pot and no real plan about where to moor up and eat it. So we set off under bright blue sky's in the direction of Marple. We had several ideas about where to stop for lunch, but in the end decided to push on through Marple and have lunch at a Hawk Green.

Hawk green is a lovely place to moor, and an easy walk to the centre of Marple.
The moorings offer great views across the Cheshire country side.
Hawk Green has a small shop and pub (not tried it yet). and some lovely properties, including this one which was built in 1686.
We gave Hobbit a really thorough clean yesterday, so she was looking really shiny in the sunshine.

Until next time.......
Mark & Anne-Marie
NB Hobbit

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Whaley or Buggy

The weather of late has not been conducive to going out for a cruise and so we have been content to stay in the marina, watching DVD's or reading. It's relaxing just been on Hobbit. Now there are certain things a narrowboat just can't do without, fresh water being one of them. Our marina is not blessed with many water points and those it does have are impossible for us to reach from our mooring.

Our favourite CRT water points, not to mention nearest, are at Bugsworth Basin and Whaley Bridge. Today as it was quite windy, we decided on the latter as its quite sheltered.

One of the things we love most about being on the cut is all the nice people that we meet, and today was no exception. Anne-Marie found herself in conversation with a fellow boater who had introduced himself because he realised that up until a few months ago he had been working with her Brother, and recognised us from his descriptions of the boat. What a small world the cut is.

Once we'd filled up the decision was made to head to Bugsworth for lunch. 

Anne-Marie cooked up a treat of Staffordshire oatcakes, bacon, mushrooms and tomatoes.

Even in the depths of winter, Bugsworth Basin has plenty of visiting boats. The pick of which was this lovely old working boat......

With the rain moving in and the wind getting stronger we made our way back to the marina.

Until next time...

Mark & Anne-Marie
NB Hobbit