Author Topic: CaraCruiser Journal  (Read 21043 times)

gongoozler2

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Re: CaraCruiser Journal
« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2008, 04:55:14 PM »
I live on a mobile home park containing about twenty homes, all of which were destroyed. All very well you say but this is a boating forum so what?s it got to do with boating. Well, one unusual boating incident did come out of it.
Mrs G and I managed to escape in the car with a few of our most important possessions-photographs-documents and such. But Halcyon was left on her trailer in the drive.

We went to stay with one of our sons at Sheffield-luckily he lives in one of the higher parts of town for Sheffield was to have her share of flooding. Next day I got a phone call from a neighbour who told me that some of the residents had hired an inflatable and were swimming round the mobile home park to see what could be rescued. They were finding it hard work as they were only able to get a few item into the inflatable before having to ferry them to dry land.
?We were just saying it?ll take forever at this rate? he said. ?when, like an answer to our prayers, your boat came bobbing along with it?s trailer still attached. We captured it and stuffed it full of all the goods we could. Not knowing how to start the outboard we used a clothes prop to punt it along to the end of the lane where the water was shallow enough to allow us to hitch a car to it and we?ve towed it to a friends house and parked it in his drive. I hope you don?t mind but if we hadn?t caught it I expect it would have ended up jammed under some bridge or other between here and the river Don.

?I don?t mind in the slightest? I said. ?Thanks very much for saving her for me. I didn?t think she?d have got out of my yard, she must have sailed over a four foot fence with the trailer on. The water must have got really high.?
?Yes? he said, ?It was at least five foot. Anyway we?ll empty all the stuff out of it and you can collect it when you like.?

It was a couple of weeks before Christmas before we were able to move back onto the caravan park and as I write this I?ve been told that we are on flood alert. It?s difficult typing with your fingers crossed.
Happiness lies not in getting what you want but in wanting what you've got

gongoozler2

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Re: CaraCruiser Journal
« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2008, 04:57:41 PM »
I live on a mobile home park containing about twenty homes, all of which were destroyed. All very well you say but this is a boating forum so what?s it got to do with boating. Well, one unusual boating incident did come out of it.
Mrs G and I managed to escape in the car with a few of our most important possessions-photographs-documents and such. But Halcyon was left on her trailer in the drive.

We went to stay with one of our sons at Sheffield-luckily he lives in one of the higher parts of town for Sheffield was to have her share of flooding. Next day I got a phone call from a neighbour who told me that some of the residents had hired an inflatable and were swimming round the mobile home park to see what could be rescued. They were finding it hard work as they were only able to get a few item into the inflatable before having to ferry them to dry land.
?We were just saying it?ll take forever at this rate? he said. ?when, like an answer to our prayers, your boat came bobbing along with it?s trailer still attached. We captured it and stuffed it full of all the goods we could. Not knowing how to start the outboard we used a clothes prop to punt it along to the end of the lane where the water was shallow enough to allow us to hitch a car to it and we?ve towed it to a friends house and parked it in his drive. I hope you don?t mind but if we hadn?t caught it I expect it would have ended up jammed under some bridge or other between here and the river Don.

?I don?t mind in the slightest? I said. ?Thanks very much for saving her for me. I didn?t think she?d have got out of my yard, she must have sailed over a four foot fence with the trailer on. The water must have got really high.?
?Yes? he said, ?It was at least five foot. Anyway we?ll empty all the stuff out of it and you can collect it when you like.?

It was a couple of weeks before Christmas before we were able to move back onto the caravan park and as I write this I?ve been told that we are on flood alert. It?s difficult typing with your fingers crossed.
Happiness lies not in getting what you want but in wanting what you've got

gongoozler2

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Re: CaraCruiser Journal
« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2008, 05:00:12 PM »
The new season

Here I sit at the computer just passing the time and thinking of the coming boating season. Having nothing better to do I thought I?d write an account of how I get ready for the first trip of the year.

First thing is to check the outboard. This is not such a big deal now that I?ve finally taken the plunge and bought a new one. Before then it was a fingers crossed job, hoping that it would start and run ok I?ve found that the winter lay up seems to bring out any latent faults and I?m always happy when the motor is running sweetly.
With the new one I just stick the prop in a plastic dustbin full of water, run her up ?till she?s warm (Are outboards feminine) then drain and replenish the oil. Check that the tell tale is telling the tale and lubricate the control joints.

Then to the electrics. Check the battery voltage and electrolyte level. See that the battery terminals are clean and tight. Switch on everything electrical and make sure it works. The battery is usually kept fully charged by the solar panel on the roof. When I first got this boat the solar panel was already fitted. During the summer in bright sunshine you can really see the effects on the volt meter but in the dull winter days I hadn?t thought that it would do much, but in the event, it seemed to do enough to keep the battery fully charged.

Gas is the next item. First fit a full cylinder. I can only accommodate one of those 3.5kg ones and as we usually go off for10 or 12 days at a time we find a full cylinder nearly always lasts long enough. Then check the hob and grill and the propex heater are working ok. They are the only two items that work off gas. Check for leaks. I fitted a bubble leak detector when I put the heater in so checking for leaks takes just minutes.

Assuming all is ok I now check the small tool kit I carry. Make sure I?ve got all my ropes and fenders, mooring pegs, hammer, boat hook, battery TV, and aerial. Make sure the aerial booster is working and then I?m done inside the boat.

Food, clothes, clean bedding, pots, pans, cutlery and the box full of various pills we both take to keep the old tickers ticking are all the responsibility of Mrs G and I can safely leave all that to her.

Outside the boat for the first trip of the season I remove the trailer hubs inspect the seals and bearings and repack them with grease. Previous experience with bearing breakdown has taught me the wisdom of this. I then check the working of the auto reversing brakes, check the condition of the tyres including the spare and that they are inflated correctly and make sure the lighting board is all in working order.

All the above may seem a lot to do but on a pleasant spring day It?s something I enjoy doing and I find that I can complete the above checks in about 4 hours. That of course is assuming that no major faults are found. If they are then at home is the place to find them rather than miles from nowhere on some lonely canal.

A couple of days before we go I have to do the one job I hate-washing the boat. Still it has to be done but I?m really pleased when it is. Mrs G has stocked up with tin food, vegetables and stuff that will keep without a fridge. We have a 12volt cool box for milk and butter but that?s all. When we?re afloat we seldom eat out, Mrs G has the ability to rustle up a tasty meal in her trusty pressure cooker with whatever we have on board. Of course we supplement our stores calling at the occasional local shop for milk bread and other perishables.

A day or so before we go I check the car-an old Mondeo diesel estate-for fuel, oil, water and tyre pressures. I get petrol for the boat in two plastic 5 litre cans and the boats own tank. I have to go to the garage twice because they say they?re not allowed to let me fill 3 portable containers at the same time. Daft I call it. I just pay for the first 2 cans, drive out of the garage and around the roundabout a hundred yards away, drive back in the garage and fill my remaining container. At home again I remove the two 5 gallon water cans from the boat and fill them with water to which has been added a sterilising solution and leave them to stand overnight. Next morning I empty them and rinse them out before returning them to the boat.

More or less ready now we still have to decide where we?re going. Shall we do the Four Counties Ring first-we often do. What about the Mon and Breck or the Lancaster? It?s a while since we did those. Then there?s the Langollen. Oh decisions decisions. Having chosen a canal we now turn to the choice of slipway-that is when there is a choice, and having phoned and secured the use of the chosen slip we?re ready.

Mrs. G usually makes a stew the night before so that we have a hot meal when we get launched. Load everything into the car-leave room for the dog, have we got everything, where?s the check list, yes, all ready, we?re off.

I Can?t Wait
Tom
Happiness lies not in getting what you want but in wanting what you've got

gongoozler2

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Re: CaraCruiser Journal
« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2008, 12:49:18 PM »
There's more to follow but if anyone has any comments, questions, criticisms etc. please feel free.

Do other users keep a record of their boating experiences? I for one would lke to hear them.

Feedback is always welcome.
Tom
« Last Edit: July 01, 2008, 01:07:32 PM by gongoozler2 »
Happiness lies not in getting what you want but in wanting what you've got

gongoozler2

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Re: CaraCruiser Journal
« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2008, 01:28:51 PM »
Monday March 10th 2008

All checks have been completed. Halcyon just needs a wash and we're ready to go-I'll leave that till the day before we go. Not sure when that'll be, it depends on the weather. First week in April if it's nice. The boat license arrived today ?201.66 for six months, to start the first of April. That includes the early payment rebate. Seems a lot for a fifteen foot boat but on the other hand I have no mooring fees to pay. I have every intention of keeping a journal of our travels this year but the best laid plans...as they say. I had every intention of doing so last year but the floods in June put paid to that. Hope to see some of you on our travels. If you see a little CaraCruiser with the name Halcyon please make yourself known and call in for a cup of tea.
 Tom
Happiness lies not in getting what you want but in wanting what you've got

gongoozler2

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Re: CaraCruiser Journal
« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2008, 01:32:10 PM »
We?ve just returned from the first trip of the season, leaving home on Wednesday April !6th and slipping the boat at Kings Bromley Marina on the T & M. I like this slipway, there?s plenty of room to manoeuvre and the slope is just right for me I just have to unfasten the gadget that holds the boat on the trailer-I don?t know what its called but it fastens the boat to the winch post-then I reverse in a bit smartish and brake suddenly and the boat just float off. Mrs G has hold of a rope to stop it going too far-I?ve learned my lesson you see.
After parking the car and trailer and filling the water containers we set of down the three locks to Fradley Junction where we moored for the night a few hundred yards along the Coventry Canal.

Thursday Apil 17th we had an uneventful trip to moor about half a mile before the first two locks on the Coventry.

Friday April 18th I started the outboard just after breakfast thinking I would let the battery charge a little as we had been using the heater and TV quite a lot and the volt meter was reading ten volts. To my surprise the engine started on the key but the effect on the narrow boat moored behind surprised me even more.
At the sound of my engine the crew of said narrow boat were galvanised into action. Starting their engine and casting off with all the speed of characters in a silent movie. I realised that they were intent on beating me to the locks ahead but 'am I bovvered?' I was in no hurry.
Still I was pleased with the way things turned out. When I set of half an hour or so later I came up behind the narrow boat moored behind four others waiting for the lock and I moored behind it.
Leaving Mrs G with the boat I took a little walk along the line of waiting boats and saw that the boat at the head of the queue was a forty five footer.
? Are you next?? I asked the owner
?I am. Why?? He replied.
?I?ve got a fifteen footer, mind if we share??
?Not at all, I?ll go in first and you follow me in. Is that OK?
?Suits me fine.? I said, and hurried back to my boat.
As I was passing the line of boats one of the crew of the narrow boat that had been in such a hurry shouted to me.
?Where do you think your going??
?I?m going to share with a forty five footer. I said. ?Can you??
With that the man turned away and didn?t reply.
To be continued
Happiness lies not in getting what you want but in wanting what you've got

gongoozler2

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Re: CaraCruiser Journal
« Reply #21 on: July 01, 2008, 01:35:53 PM »
The weather was cold and showery and I was using quite a bit of gas to run the heater so I decided to moor somewhere where I could easily get gas and petrol for I was running the engine for an hour or so when stationary to keep the battery topped up.
"We'll moor at that big marina at Hinckley on the Ashby Canal." I told Mrs G. "There's a garage there and they're sure to sell gas at the marina."
Although the day was showery the rain held of to allow us to climb the eleven Atherstone locks dry but cold. Pleased to arrive at the marina on the Ashby we discovered that it was called Trinity Marina, they did sell gas but not in the 3.9 kg size we use and there was a garage just a few dozen yards away. I phoned the Ashby Boat Company a couple of miles further up the canal to learn that they did indeed sell gas in my size.
?That?ll do.? I said. ?We?ll stay here ?till the weather improves.?

Next morning, Saturday April 19th I phoned my eldest Son who lives near Hinckley and he offered to come and collect us with his car and take us to his home to spend the day with them. This had been arranged before we set of and was one of the reasons we chose to do the Ashby. By the time we had got ready and made the boat as secure as we could he arrived and whisked us away-when you first get back in a car after a few days of three or four MPH you seem to be travelling much too fast.
We had a nice day with the family and ended up being invited to Sunday dinner an offer gladly accepted..

Sunday April 20th went as planned or son collected us for an excellent dinner and delivered us back to the boat where we watched a bit of telly and so to bed.

Monday April 21st did a bit of shopping at a nearby shop-one of those off licence shops that seems to sell everything. topped the tank up with petrol and filled the two five ltr cans. The weather had improved a little and we decided to move on next morning. In the event we were to move sooner.
One of our grand daughters arrived with her husband and their three young daughters aged nine, seven and four respectively.
We sat at one of the tables provided outside and the kids ran around playing and at the next table sot a couple of youths, one obviously with his wife and small child and the other with a girlfriend.
The one with the girlfriend was telling the others something and was using the most obscene language really vulgar-not just swearing but really explicit.
?Hey! Dirty mouth? This was the grand daughters husband. ?Shut that filthy mouth of yours around my girls or I?ll come and shut it for you.?
The young man didn?t reply but did shut up and sat down
When my granddaughter and family had gone home, foul mouth was still there drinking pint after pint. When he got on his phone and was soon joined by three of his cronies I reckoned trouble was brewing. they were getting tanked up and kept looking and gesticulating in the direction of the boat.
Now the dilemma. Should I wait ?till the trouble started and go out and give the four of them a good hiding and chuck them in the cut or should I go out and do it now.
Unfortunately I suddenly remembered we were getting low on gas and I ought to move on nearer to the other yard. I bet the yobs still don?t realise what a lucky escape they had.
That night we moored out in the country well away from road bridge
Happiness lies not in getting what you want but in wanting what you've got

gongoozler2

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Re: CaraCruiser Journal
« Reply #22 on: July 03, 2008, 01:57:50 PM »
Tuesday April 22nd The next morning we had an uneventful trip to the canal terminus and found it a pleasant spot with some friendly boaters already there so decided to stay the night.

Wednesday April 23rd. had an early start and made our way back down the canal, calling at Ashby Boat Company for gas and Trinity Marina for water and the garage nearby for petrol. Calling at the off-licence to purchase one or two bits we carried on to the canal junction with the Coventry Canal where we turned left and made our way to Sutton Stop or Hawkesbury Junction to give it its proper name, where we we glad to get moored up just through the stop lock on the Oxford Canal after what had turned out to be a long day.

Thursday April 24th It was raining when we set off for Rugby next day and the forecast promised sunshine and showers. Just before noon we reached bridge fifty eight where we decided to visit the Tesco stores just a few hundred yards from there and then have dinner before continuing. Having done our shopping we were about halfway back to the boat both laden with carrier bags when the heavens opened. I don't mean it rained, raining in no way describes it. It was absolutely torrential. We had only a couple of hundred yards to go but in less than a yard we were absolutely drenched. The carrier bags were full of water. the magazines we'd bought were pulp and we couldn't have been wetter had we fallen in the cut. As soon as we reached the shelter of the boat the rain stopped and the sun came out. After changing our clothes and a good meal we felt better however and then carried on a couple of miles further-or should that be farther? we stopped for the night below Hillmorton Locks. We could have stayed where we were at bridge fifty eight but we knew from past experience that TV reception was poor there and we Like to watch a bit of telly in the evening.
Happiness lies not in getting what you want but in wanting what you've got

gongoozler2

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Re: CaraCruiser Journal
« Reply #23 on: July 03, 2008, 02:06:36 PM »
Three of our grandkids came to visit at Hinckley. The one standing outside said she wasn't going on the sea.

G.G Kids.jpg
Happiness lies not in getting what you want but in wanting what you've got

gongoozler2

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Re: CaraCruiser Journal
« Reply #24 on: July 03, 2008, 02:09:54 PM »
Friday April 25th.The weather to date had been pretty miserable and the forecast was for more of the same so we decided to cancel our plans to go down the Oxford as far as Banbury and make our way home. We had to be home by the $th May anyway to pick up medication from the doc to keep the pump in working order.
We made our way back to Sutton Stop where we moored for the night. A largely uneventful trip and the only incident of note was provided by a swan. I noticed it because of its unusual stance. The canal was wide at that point and the swan was in deep water to one side of the main channel. Its wings were half opened and its body was at an angle around forty five degrees. The neck was arched and the head was buried in the water. It just looked strange. As we passed I noticed something white the swan was holding down. It was several minutes before I realised what I had seen.The swan was drowning a duck. Had I been quicker off the mark I would have intervened but I was well passed before I sussed the situation and It was then too late. Perhaps the duck would be released before it actually drowned or maybe not, I don't know. I've never seen that behaviour in a swan before.

Saturday April 26th Back to moor at the bottom of the locks where we'd moored on our way up the canal. The last lock on that canal-or the first depending which way your travelling.

Sunday April 27th Had an uneventful journey to Fradley Junction where we found wall to wall boat and were lucky to squeeze our little boat in between two narrow boats to spend the night.

Monday April 29th Left at the junction and up the three locks on the Trent and Mersey to moor at some nice quiet moorings before The Kings Bromley Marina. The marina is closed on Mondays so we had a leisurely day and got the boat ready for recovery next morning. Whilst there we got talking to a couple passing and the man told us that he had a narrow boat and used to moor in the spot we were in.
"I came back to the boat one day," he said. "To find it had been broken in to. Whoever it was had pinched my Fray Bentos Pie, warmed it up in my oven and to cap it all, pinched my indigestion tablets. I moor below the locks now. Had he asked I'd have given him something to eat, but I was looking forward to that pie."
We all had a good laugh at this but as the Man said, "It's not so much what was pinched but the damage done to doors and locks that was worse."

Tuesday April 29th. An early breakfast and travelled the short distance to the marina where we recovered the boat and were on our way home by 10am. Looking forward to the next trip. I've decided I need to take more pictures next time.
Hopefully we should be able to get off Wednesday or Thursday this week.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2008, 02:12:08 PM by gongoozler2 »
Happiness lies not in getting what you want but in wanting what you've got

gongoozler2

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Re: CaraCruiser Journal
« Reply #25 on: July 05, 2008, 11:23:52 AM »
Second trip of the season. 7th May -22nd May 2008. 169 miles and 132 locks. As near as I can reckon anyhow.

Wednesday 7th May. This trip started at Kings Bromley Marina where we slipped the boat and parked the car and trailer before mooring for the night a mile or so down he canal just before the first locks in the direction of Fradley Junction. We intended to go 'tother way come morning but we knew of nice mooring there.

Thursday 8th May. Setting off early we arrived at Great Haywood around midday after a pleasant trip and moored below Haywood Lock.
Bess my Labrador in common with most Labs, just loves to swim and never misses an opportunity. You'd think that on a canal she had the opportunity every day but she had learned by experience that once in a canal she couldn't get out. I had been forced to rescue her on two occasions previously and she had learned her lesson, only venturing into the canal at slipways and I discourage this anyway because canal water isn't the cleanest. Rivers however are another thing and the Trent at Great Haywood is a favourite with Bess.

As soon as we'd tied up I gave Bess leave to go and she immediately made a bee line for the river. I followed just in time to see her disappearing down a very steep bank covered in vegetation and I heard the splash as she hit the water.
I couldn't see her from the bank and I feared she wouldn't be able to get out because the bank there was almost vertical.

After a while all went quiet and I was getting worried that she'd been swept downstream by the strong current and all my whistling and calling produced no results. If only she'd gone in a little further upstream. Near the bridge the banks slope down gently and the river is wider and shallower.

I had to do something so I looked down the bank to try and find a place where I might get down but it was all much too steep. However in one spot a small bush was growing near the bottom so I decided to slide down the bank on my back and try and use the bush to stop me dropping into the river and from there I hoped to see Bess trying to scramble up the bank and be able to help haul her up. Nettles growing among the greenery didn't look too inviting but needs must.
I collected my fair share of nettle stings on the way down but I did manage to wedge my foot in the root of the bush and stop my slide.

Bess was nowhere to be seen. I shouted and fumbled in my pocket for my dog whistle and blew for all I was worth-no Bess. Thinking I'd have to climb back up and walk along the bank to see if I could find a place where she might have climbed out I looked up to see Bess peering at me from the top of the bank, obviously wondering what all the shouting was about. I climbed back up with difficulty adding to my collection of nettle stings on the way.

Several times whilst we were moored there Bess entered the river at that point. Seemingly having no difficulty climbing out.
Happiness lies not in getting what you want but in wanting what you've got

gongoozler2

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Re: CaraCruiser Journal
« Reply #26 on: July 05, 2008, 11:27:23 AM »
Friday 9th May
After a leisurely breakfast and a visit to the shop we topped up with water at the junction and set of for Stone. I was hoping to see Mark on Cindy B as we passed but it was not to be. His smart little boat was deserted. We'll catch you one day mark. The trip to Stone was uneventful and we moored for the night.

Saturday 10th May
Continuing our trip next day we were chatting to some boaters coming down the locks as we were going up. The man steering the narrow boat was a short bald chap with a huge bushy beard. When he heard we intended to take a trip up the Caldon on our journey round the ring, he asked. "Where do you intend to stay tonight?"
"I thought Etruria," I replied.
"Oh no, I shouldn't advise stopping there," said bushy beard. "Too much vandalism. If I were you I'd stop by the Wedgwood factory overnight and then get right through Stoke before you stop. Get passed Milford if you can. You'll be OK then."
Thanking him I decided to take his advise
Happiness lies not in getting what you want but in wanting what you've got

gongoozler2

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Re: CaraCruiser Journal
« Reply #27 on: July 05, 2008, 11:28:14 AM »
We were tied up at the Wedgewood factory and I was talking to the owners of a couple of NBs moored there when a an elderly man came riding a scooter down the towpath from the direction of Stoke.
Stopping by the boats he asked "Has anybody seen a tatty cruiser come past here?"
When we said we hadn't he told us one had been stolen by a gang of five youths on bikes who were going round a pinching stuff from the tops of NBs. " It's called Goosander and I'm looking for it." he said.
"I didn't think motor bikes were allowed on the towpath." I remarked to Mrs G. "He just said that to give him an excuse for riding on the towpath."

Sunday May 11th
We set of early in order to get through Stoke and well up the Caldon before mooring fot the night'. No more than a mile into our jouney we passed a tatty cruiser with the name Goosander and the foredeck piled up with deckchairs, umbrellas and flower pots etc. obviously the boat the scooter rider was talking about and one he must have passed before he spoke to us.
Taking on water at Etruria we continued on our way, Planet lock-the third up the Caldon was absolutely full of floating rubbish-bits of wood, plastic. polystyrene etc. so much so that I had difficulty opening the gate. I hope it;s not all going to be like this I thought. But I needn't have worried, the Caldon canal must rate as one of the great scenic canals in the country and along the short Leek branch the views are spectacular.
That night we tied up near bridge 28 where we were told there was a nearby spa shop
Happiness lies not in getting what you want but in wanting what you've got

gongoozler2

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Re: CaraCruiser Journal
« Reply #28 on: July 05, 2008, 11:31:34 AM »
Monday May 12th
Went for my early morning walk with the dog and called at he spar shop. tried to phone Mrs G to ask what was required but no signal so got what I thought which I knew would probably be wrong-it was.
The facilities or just a mile or so away and when we stopped to offload some rubbish I had a look and found them immaculate. Because I wanted to visit both the Leek and Froghall end of the canal today I decided against a shower and promised myself one on the way back.
Went to Leek first and was much impressed by the scenery. Then to Froghall where we failed to get through the tunnel by an inch or so. Not finding anything to tempt us to stay we made back to moor by bridge 44.

Tuesday may 13th
Continuing our journey back we decided to have an easy day and get a little nearer to Stoke because we didn't want to overnight in the town but wanted to be nearer so that we could get through Harecastle Tunnel in the one trip.
Stopping to shower, dispose of our rubbish and take on water we then called at the spar before tying up for the night just after engine lock.
Happiness lies not in getting what you want but in wanting what you've got

gongoozler2

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Re: CaraCruiser Journal
« Reply #29 on: July 07, 2008, 02:30:58 PM »
Wednesday May 14th

My impression of the Caldon is a beautiful canal with breath taking scenery once you get passed the outskirts of Stoke.
Perhaps I should mention that before I heard that Stoke had a reputation for vandals I had on several occasions moored at Etruria without incident.

One drawback for me at least was the fact that in many parts are black spots as far as radio, TV, and mobile phones are concerned, and I like my telly of an evening. I have quite a good ariel for the telly with a decent amplifier but in one spot I was only able to get a grainy ITV 1, the radio only received longwave and we had no signals on the mobile phones.

The journey to the Harecastle Tunnel was without incident and when we arrived there was no other boats waiting the tunnel keeper came to chat when we tied up and told us that boats comming the other way should be out in a few minutes, and they were. When we went through, because there was just our little boat the tunnel keeper didn't bother to shut the doors and being able to see light at both ends albeit only pinpricks seemed to make the trip much less claustrophobic. I always try to go through Harecastle without touching the sides but on this occasion I failed and scraped along the starboard wall. What a mess it made as I found when we emerged. No damage but the side of the boat was covered in a horrible red rusty substance which I found difficult to wash off. In fact most of it had to wait 'till we got the boat home. We moored that night just before lock 44 at the start of the Cheshire Locks or Heartbreak Hill as some like to call it.
Happiness lies not in getting what you want but in wanting what you've got