Monday, 27 April 2009


The canals, particularly around Castlefield, play a big part in this short film from the BBC website on the changing face of Manchester. If everything goes to plan, we'll be here with Debdale in September.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

The Apprentice

Each week, The Apprentice seems to make more of the contestants' penthouse's canalside location. The first couple of weeks, all we got was the view from the road. Last week, there were a few canal shots, and last night there was a moving boat. The building is Portobello Lofts, part of the large Portobello Dock development, on the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union, just off Ladbroke Grove. I must pop along there one lunchtime to take some photos.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Market Drayton and Norbury Junction

Many fantastic photos went untaken today, thanks to the uncharged camera.

It was a cool and misty morning when we checked out of the hotel, but by the time we'd driven to Market Drayton and had breakfast, the sun was out. We found the canal and parked near Bridge 62, and first walked a little way north to look at the boat yard and the moorings beyond. Then we turned round and walked south for a couple of miles, taking in Tyrley Locks and the start of the Woodseaves Cutting. By the time we got back to the locks, there were several boats going down (and none at all coming up), and the whole flight looked lovely with the sunshine coming through the trees.

By the time we got back to the car it was 12.30, so we headed for Norbury Junction, which is Debdale's new base. We were amazed at how busy it was. There were dozens of cars parked all over the place, and there was a coach in the pub car park. We decided on lunch at the Norbury Wharf cafe, and sat outside in the sunshine. As we had lunch, we noticed Starcross on the water point opposite, and then with (we assumed) Jim at the helm, going through the bridge to its mooring. We had a quick look round the chandlery, and then bought ice creams to eat as we walked down the towpath. Crossing the bridge over the old Newport Branch we spotted No Problem at the end of the arm, where she's having some work done. Then on the visitor moorings I saw a familiar boat and a familiar face: Kev on 4Evermoore, the very first boat I tested for Canal Boat. We spent several minutes chatting to Kev and Ann, who are just a few days into their year afloat. It was good to catch up, and great to hear that their boat is behaving well. Before heading home, we walked along Norbury's private moorings to say hello to Jim and Hillary from Starcross. It was great to finally meet, having read the Starcross blog for a long time, and to admire the new paintwork.

The journey home took just under three and a half hours, which although quite a bit longer than the trip to Stockton Top isn't too bad. We're not due on board Debdale again until September, but we're both thinking that's far too long to wait! We've had a taste of the Shroppie now, and really want to do it by boat. And with a camera.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Canal, family, canal

We've managed to fit quite a lot of canal into today, in spite of spending plenty of time with my sister, her husband, and their five week old baby. Firstly, refusing to pay £12.95 for a hotel breakfast, we drove the few miles down to Grindley Brook, for look at the staircase locks followed by breakfast at the @29 Cafe. Then our route north took us longside a stretch of the Llangollen. After a lovely day with the family, which included a long walk with the dogs, we headed into Chester for a walk round part of the walls and a look at the river. Dinner was at The Shady Oak, next to the canal in the shadow of Beeston Castle. The food was excellent, and the location lovely in the evening sunshine. The day's only frustration: the camera has run out of power, and I don't have the charger with me.

Friday, 17 April 2009


This afternoon we drove up to Cheshire, swapping the rainy south coast for the sunny north west. Our route cross country from the M6 gave us lots of ideas for places to visit on the way back on Sunday. Having checked into our hotel just outside Chester, we drove to Christleton and had an evening walk along the canal. Then we had a very good meal at the Cheshire Cat.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Ashby extension

Having read before we set out for the Ashby last month that work had started on the next stage of the restoration, I was looking forward to seeing what was going on. But, as you can see, the answer was rather disappointing.

Apart from a little portacabin, a little digger, and some Defra rash, there wasn't much to see. And unfortunately we were too early for the Ashby Canal Trust information cabin to be open. However, it will eventually be an exciting project, and one day I'm sure, we'll be back to cruise the next section of the canal.