Jim Shead Waterways Photographer & Writer
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2003 Voyage - May

Cruising Log Index

Oxford Canal (Northern Section)

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Thursday 1th May 2003

From to Wyken Arm arriving at 11:45 am. The time taken was 2 hours 40 minutes. 6.5 miles and 0 locks, averaging 2.44 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 123 hours 5 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 93 locks, averaging 1.57 lock/miles per hour.

Got held up for a few minutes at the Stretton Arm where a tanker was delivering at Rose Narrowboats and had a hoseline across by the swing bridge. Moored a little way past the arm on some piling. Saw a sandpiper oposite our mooring. A day of sunshine and showers.

Oxford Canal (Northern Section) to Coventry Canal

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Friday 2th May 2003

From Wyken Arm to Hartshill Wharf arriving at 1:00 pm. The time taken was 3 hours 25 minutes. 10.25 miles and 0 locks, averaging 3 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 126 hours 30 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 93 locks, averaging 1.53 lock/miles per hour.

Stopped for water (25 minutes) at Hawkesbury Junction then came through the lock. Stopped 25 minutes at Valley Cruises for pumpout (12) and diesel (34 for 100 litres). Moored just before the wharf. A wet day with an occasional glimpse of the sun so we decided to leave the Atherstone flight until tomorrow.

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Saturday 3th May 2003

From Hartshill Wharf to Polesworth (Mill Bridge No 53) arriving at 12:35 am. The time taken was 4 hours 0 minutes. 7.25 miles and 11 locks, averaging 4.56 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 130 hours 30 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 104 locks, averaging 1.56 lock/miles per hour.

Followed a blue narrowboat called Cygnus down the locks and met three or four boats coming up. Came on to Polesworth to moor for lunch.

From Polesworth (Mill Bridge No 53) to Glascote Top Lock No 12 arriving at 3:25 pm. The time taken was 1 hour 35 minutes. 4 miles and 0 locks, averaging 2.53 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 132 hours 5 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 104 locks, averaging 1.54 lock/miles per hour.

It had been a dry day with some sunshine this morning but it was raining by the time we got to Aminington and dry again as we moored before the locks.

Sunday 4th May 2003

From Glascote Top Lock No 12 to Fazeley Junction arriving at 82:5 pm. The time taken was 50 minutes. 1.5 miles and 2 locks, averaging 4.2 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 132 hours 55 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 106 locks, averaging 1.55 lock/miles per hour.

Filled with water (15 minutes) at the top of Glascote Locks. Met another boat coming up the locks as we came down and had to wait for another boat before crossing the Tame aqueduct. Did not stop at the junction.

Coventry Canal to Coventry Canal (Detached Portion)

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From Fazeley Junction to Fradley Junction arriving at 1:25 pm. The time taken was 3 hours 40 minutes. 11 miles and 0 locks, averaging 3 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 136 hours 35 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 106 locks, averaging 1.51 lock/miles per hour.

Lots of boats on the move today. Bluebells out in Hopwas Woods and some organge tip butterflies too. Moored just before the junction.

Coventry Canal (Detached Portion) to Trent and Mersey Canal

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Monday 5th May 2003

From Fradley Junction to Rugeley Bridge No 66 arriving at 12:30 am. The time taken was 3 hours 30 minutes. 7.25 miles and 3 locks, averaging 2.93 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 140 hours 5 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 109 locks, averaging 1.49 lock/miles per hour.

Met a lot of boats today - May Bank Holiday - which caused some interesting manoeuvres such as meeting a boat under a bridge, on the wrong side on a bend and other awkard places. Moored at Rugeley and went to Safeway for lunch (Chicken Tika and Macoroni Cheese 3.99 each including drinks and cakes) and shopping.

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From Rugeley Bridge No 66 to Wolseley Bridge No 70 arriving at 3:25 pm. The time taken was 1 hour 5 minutes. 2.87 miles and 0 locks, averaging 2.65 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 141 hours 10 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 109 locks, averaging 1.48 lock/miles per hour.

Moored just before the bridge on the rings. A day of sunshine and cloud with a cool wind.

Trent and Mersey Canal to Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal

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Tuesday 6th May 2003

From Wolseley Bridge No 70 to Filance Lock No 37 arriving at 2:45 pm. The time taken was 5 hours 40 minutes. 12.37 miles and 8 locks, averaging 3.59 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 146 hours 50 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 117 locks, averaging 1.48 lock/miles per hour.

Stopped for a minute at Great Haywood Junction while Beryl dumped the rubbish. Quite a few boats on the move today including several Shakespeare Classic Line boats. Had lunch on the move and moored above Penkridge Lock. Went into the village to collect the post and bought a new printer cartridge. A dry day of sunshine and cloud.

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Wednesday 7th May 2003

From Filance Lock No 37 to Moat House Bridge No 74 arriving at 5:10 pm. The time taken was 3 hours 30 minutes. 5.75 miles and 6 locks, averaging 3.36 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 150 hours 20 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 123 locks, averaging 1.48 lock/miles per hour.

Went shopping at Penkridge Co-op in the morning and set off after lunch. Saw Albert (from Wolverhampton Boat Club) at Gailey Lock then stopped for water (35 minutes) before going on to moor just past the bridge. Sunshine and cloud today with a bit of a breeze.

Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal to Shropshire Union Main Line

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Thursday 8th May 2003

From Moat House Bridge No 74 to Wheaton Aston Lock No 2 arriving at 1:00 pm. The time taken was 4 hours 15 minutes. 12.25 miles and 1 locks, averaging 3.12 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 154 hours 35 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 124 locks, averaging 1.45 lock/miles per hour.

A rather chilly morning for our trip down to Autherley Junction, where we turned and went through the stop lock. The weather warmed up a bit when th sun came out and we moored a couple of miles beyond Brewood, with the lock just visible in the distance.

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Friday 9th May 2003

From Wheaton Aston Lock No 2 to Market Drayton Bridge No 62 arriving at 4:50 pm. The time taken was 7 hours 25 minutes. 18.87 miles and 6 locks, averaging 3.35 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 162 hours 0 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 130 locks, averaging 1.42 lock/miles per hour.

Stopped 15 minutes at Gnosall for water and 15 minutes at Norbury Junction for a pumpout (11) and an icecream each. Had lunch on the move. A lot of bluebells out in the wooded sections and I also saw some primroses and lots of Cuckoo Pint (or Lords & Ladies). Most os the Shebdon Embankment towpath was closed right up to Norbury, where they are installing a lot of new visitor moorings. Saw Loose Change, which we had shared the Wigan Flight with, just before we moored. A dry day of sunshine and cloud.

Saturday 10th May 2003

From Market Drayton Bridge No 62 to Adderley Top Lock No 8 arriving at 2:05 pm. The time taken was 45 minutes. 2.25 miles and 0 locks, averaging 3 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 162 hours 45 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 130 locks, averaging 1.41 lock/miles per hour.

Went shopping in the morning then rang Chris Jones about replacing the alternator belt pulleys. He will come out early next week. Set off after lunch but the rain started soon after we did so we moored just before Betton Wood Bridge (66) a mile before the top lock. Sunshine and cloud with rain in the afternoon.

Sunday 11th May 2003

From Adderley Top Lock No 8 to Audlem Lock No 24 arriving at 12:35 am. The time taken was 3 hours 15 minutes. 3.87 miles and 16 locks, averaging 6.11 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 166 hours 0 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 146 locks, averaging 1.48 lock/miles per hour.

Stopped for 25 minutes for coffee above Audlem Top Lock then went down the flight to moor on the visitor moorings before lock 12 in the flight (or 24 on the canal). Went to the Shroppie Fly for lunch. A few sunny intervals a lot of cloud and showers, especially this afternoon.

Monday 12th May 2003

From Audlem Lock No 24 to Nantwich Basin arriving at 12:45 am. The time taken was 2 hours 50 minutes. 6.12 miles and 6 locks, averaging 4.28 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 168 hours 50 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 152 locks, averaging 1.49 lock/miles per hour.

Stopped for water by the Shroppie Fly and went into the Canal Shop where I bought a new copy of Nicholson's OS guide to the North West & the Pennines. It now includes all the recently opened canals. At Hack Green Locks the people on the crusier Bluehaven II let us through first as they were new to boating. Moored just past the aqueduct at Nantwich and after lunch did some shopping in the town, including a new pair of boots for me.

From Nantwich Basin to Barbridge Junction arriving at 4:35 pm. The time taken was 1 hour 15 minutes. 3.25 miles and 0 locks, averaging 2.6 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 170 hours 5 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 152 locks, averaging 1.48 lock/miles per hour.

Moored oposite the Olde Barbridge Inn. A day of sunshine and cloud with a couple of showers and some hail.

Shropshire Union Main Line to Shropshire Union - Middlewich Branch

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Tuesday 13th May 2003

From Barbridge Junction to Cholmondeston Lock No 1 arriving at 82:5 pm. The time taken was 45 minutes. 1.37 miles and 0 locks, averaging 1.83 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 170 hours 50 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 152 locks, averaging 1.48 lock/miles per hour.

Rang Chris Jones about our belt problem and we arranged to meet him above the lock. He arrived and it was decided to change two pullys that were rusted and pitted and to look at possibly changing the alternator. He ordered a new water pump pulley from Beta Marine and he will come out to us again on Thursday or Friday.

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From Cholmondeston Lock No 1 to Wardle Lock No 4 arriving at 4:55 pm. The time taken was 3 hours 30 minutes. 8.62 miles and 3 locks, averaging 3.32 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 174 hours 20 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 155 locks, averaging 1.46 lock/miles per hour.

We passed quite a few boats this afternoon and had to wait for another boat at each of the locks. Moored between bridges 30 and 31, a short distance from the lock.. Wind, sunshine and showers again today.

Shropshire Union - Middlewich Branch to Trent and Mersey Canal

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Wednesday 14th May 2003

From Wardle Lock No 4 to Middlewich Bridge No 172 arriving at 11:00 am. The time taken was 1 hour 5 minutes. 0.37 miles and 4 locks, averaging 4.03 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 175 hours 25 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 159 locks, averaging 1.48 lock/miles per hour.

Stopped 25 minutes for water at the junction before going down the locks to the visitor moorings for shopping.

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From Middlewich Bridge No 172 to Bridge No 181 arriving at 4:30 pm. The time taken was 1 hour 50 minutes. 4.62 miles and 1 locks, averaging 3.07 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 177 hours 15 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 160 locks, averaging 1.47 lock/miles per hour.

Moored on Billinge Green Flash in front of Jampak, who we moored behind last night. After a couple of showers this morning we had a dry day with wind, sun and cloud.

Thursday 15th May 2003

From Bridge No 181 to Anderton Lift Branch Junction arriving at 12:00 am. The time taken was 1 hour 50 minutes. 5.25 miles and 0 locks, averaging 2.86 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 179 hours 5 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 160 locks, averaging 1.45 lock/miles per hour.

Stopped for water at Anderton and we were going to use the pumpout but our only card was not accepted so we did not. Stopped again at the Fenny Fuels working boat by Anderton Marina where it took a while to find the boatman to sell us some diesel (107 litres at 28p - 29.96) these stops took about 45 minutes in total. Finally moored a little way before the lift and had lunch. Had a walk round this afternoon. A dry day with a sunny start but more cloud this afternnon.

Saturday 17th May 2003

From Anderton Lift Branch Junction to Dutton Wharf Bridge No 212 arriving at 11:25 am. The time taken was 2 hours 0 minutes. 4.75 miles and 0 locks, averaging 2.38 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 181 hours 5 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 160 locks, averaging 1.44 lock/miles per hour.

After spending a rainy day at Anderton, where we had a new water pump pully fixed (60 for the two call outs), we set off up to the second mooring rings beyond bridge 213. Only afew spots of rain on the journey but more rain after we stopped.

Trent and Mersey Canal to Bridgewater Canal

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Sunday 18th May 2003

From Dutton Wharf Bridge No 212 to Lymm Bridge No 23 arriving at 1:40 pm. The time taken was 3 hours 50 minutes. 12.37 miles and 1 locks, averaging 3.49 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 184 hours 55 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 161 locks, averaging 1.41 lock/miles per hour.

Set off at 9.15 nd got to te tunnel at 9.40. Four boats were coming through and the last one did not get out until 10 am. Stopped 15 minutes at Claymore Navigation for Gas (14) and pumpout (12). Had lunch on the move and moored at Lymm for shopping at Somerfield. A day of sunshine and showers.

Bridgewater Canal to Stretford and Leigh Branch (Bridgewater Canal)

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Monday 19th May 2003

From Lymm Bridge No 23 to Barton Swing Aqueduct arriving at 12:55 am. The time taken was 3 hours 45 minutes. 13.12 miles and 0 locks, averaging 3.5 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 188 hours 40 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 161 locks, averaging 1.38 lock/miles per hour.

Stopped 40 minutes for water at the Olde No 3 pub and dumped the rubbish by Dunham School Bridge. Saw a pair of Canada Geese with young soon after we turned on to the branch. Moored for lunch just before the aqueduct.

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From Barton Swing Aqueduct to Worsley Wharf arriving at 2:55 pm. The time taken was 55 minutes. 2.25 miles and 0 locks, averaging 2.45 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 189 hours 35 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 161 locks, averaging 1.38 lock/miles per hour.

Moored for the night opposite the Brdgewater Hotel. Yet another day of sunshine cloud and showers.

Stretford and Leigh Branch (Bridgewater Canal) to Leeds & Liverpool - Leigh Branch

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Tuesday 20th May 2003

From Worsley Wharf to Leigh Bridge Junction arriving at 10:45 am. The time taken was 2 hours 0 minutes. 6.25 miles and 0 locks, averaging 3.13 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 191 hours 35 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 161 locks, averaging 1.36 lock/miles per hour.

A wet journey up to Leigh Bridge. Saw a Red-creasted Pochard on the way. Moored just past the bridge. The rain continued for much of the afternoon.

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Wednesday 21st May 2003

From Leigh Bridge Junction to Poolstock Lock No 2 arriving at 3:40 pm. The time taken was 1 hour 55 minutes. 6.75 miles and 0 locks, averaging 3.52 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 193 hours 30 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 161 locks, averaging 1.35 lock/miles per hour.

Went shopping at Kwik Save this morning. came up through Plank Lane Lift Bridge, where we were given a 64 page guide to the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, and moored just past Moss Bridge. A cloudy day with rain starting in the afternoon.

Leeds & Liverpool - Leigh Branch to Leeds and Liverpool Canal

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Thursday 22nd May 2003

From Poolstock Lock No 2 to M6 Motorway Bridge arriving at 1:35 pm. The time taken was 2 hours 55 minutes. 4.37 miles and 6 locks, averaging 3.56 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 196 hours 25 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 167 locks, averaging 1.36 lock/miles per hour.

Shared the Poolstock and Wigan Locks with Scherzo, a Ownerships share boat that had moored in front of us last night. We both stopped for water at Wigan (we had to wait 35 minutes then spent 30 minutes filling with water). Came through the next two locks by ourselves and moored at Crooke Bridge. Saw a water vole just outside Pagefield Lock. Constant rain all morning and into the afternoon.

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Friday 23rd May 2003

From M6 Motorway Bridge to Parbold Bridge No 37 arriving at 11:30 am. The time taken was 2 hours 5 minutes. 3.62 miles and 2 locks, averaging 2.7 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 198 hours 30 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 169 locks, averaging 1.36 lock/miles per hour.

Came through the locks by ourselves and moored just before the windmill. Went to lunch at Stocks Tavern (Vegetable Bake 4.95, Liver & Bacon 7.95). A mostly cloudy day with some sun and showers.

Saturday 24th May 2003

From Parbold Bridge No 37 to Scarisbrick Bridge No 27A arriving at 12:10 am. The time taken was 3 hours 30 minutes. 7.5 miles and 0 locks, averaging 2.14 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 202 hours 0 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 169 locks, averaging 1.33 lock/miles per hour.

Stopped at 10 am at Burscough for an hour while we did some shopping at the Spar shop and filled with water. Moored between Heatons and Scarisbrick bridges. Some showers before we set off this morning but the whole trip was dry with sunny intervals.

Sunday 25th May 2003

From Scarisbrick Bridge No 27A to Lollies Bridge No 17A arriving at 12:35 am. The time taken was 2 hours 5 minutes. 5.87 miles and 0 locks, averaging 2.82 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 204 hours 5 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 169 locks, averaging 1.32 lock/miles per hour.

Stopped on the journey for about 10 minutes at Scarisbrick Bridge to investigate the pumpout facilities but no one was around to ask so we came on to Lydiate and moored oposite the Mersey Motor Boat Club. A dry day with sunshine and cloud.

Monday 26th May 2003

From Lollies Bridge No 17A to Scarisbrick Bridge No 27A arriving at 5:50 pm. The time taken was 2 hours 0 minutes. 5.87 miles and 0 locks, averaging 2.94 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 206 hours 5 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 169 locks, averaging 1.31 lock/miles per hour.

Posted my letter and walked up to Somerfields this morning. Shortly after 3pm I started to make enquiries to see if anyone else at the MMBC could give us a pumpout and found someone who could. We had a pumpout (10) and filled with water then went up to the turning point to start our journey back. Saw a lot of coots with young this afternoon. moored just before the bridge. Went to the Red Lion Inn for dinner (Salmon 8.45, Pasta 5.95, deserts 2.95 each). A dry day with some sunshine.

Tuesday 27th May 2003

From Scarisbrick Bridge No 27A to Rufford Branch Junction arriving at 10:35 am. The time taken was 1 hour 40 minutes. 4.5 miles and 0 locks, averaging 2.7 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 207 hours 45 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 169 locks, averaging 1.29 lock/miles per hour.

Set off through the swing bridges and turned on to the Rufford Branch. Did not stop.Rufford Branch Junction: Top Lock of the Rufford Branch - 27th May 2003.
Rufford Branch Junction: Top Lock of the Rufford Branch - 27th May 2003.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal to Leeds & Liverpool - Rufford Branch

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Tuesday 27th May 2003

From Rufford Branch Junction to Marsh Meadow Bridge No 6 arriving at 1:10 pm. The time taken was 2 hours 35 minutes. 2.5 miles and 6 locks, averaging 3.29 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 210 hours 20 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 175 locks, averaging 1.31 lock/miles per hour.

Came down the locks by ourselves but me a couple of boats coming up at Chicken Lock. Moored between the bridge and Rufford Lock. After lunch I went to see Rufford Old Hall while Beryl had a bath. A cloudy muggy day.

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Wednesday 28th May 2003

From Marsh Meadow Bridge No 6 to Town End Bridge No 12 arriving at 10:50 am. The time taken was 1 hour 50 minutes. 4.25 miles and 1 locks, averaging 2.86 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 212 hours 10 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 176 locks, averaging 1.3 lock/miles per hour.

Came down through Rufford Lock and on to Tarleton by ourselves. After lunch we went to the Spar Shop and had a walk down to the Lock. Spoke to the people on Aquila and Honeysuckle Rose. A warm day with some sunshine.

Leeds & Liverpool - Rufford Branch to Lancaster Canal

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Thursday 29th May 2003

From Town End Bridge No 12 to Salwick Wharf arriving at 5:15 pm. The time taken was 7 hours 45 minutes. 13.87 miles and 10 locks, averaging 3.08 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 219 hours 55 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 186 locks, averaging 1.3 lock/miles per hour.

Set off for Tarleton Lock at 9.30 and waited for our turn through. Got out of the lock by 10.15 and made good progress down the Douglas until I noticed that the temprature guage was rather higher than usual for pushing against the tide, so we slowed down a bit. At this stage we were the first boat and remained so until we let by a fishing boat that was towing the narrowboat that shared Tarleton Lock with us. Going up the Ribble Link we shared locks with Q. E. Sue. At lock 6 I discovered that the side of the gear box had shattered so Q. E. Sue towed us up the locks (backwards through the staircase) and then on to Salwick Wharf where we had arranged to meet an engineer to fit a new gearbox. A warm day with sun, hazy at times.

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Friday 30th May 2003

From Salwick Wharf to Brock Aqueduct No 46 arriving at 5:40 pm. The time taken was 2 hours 50 minutes. 7.75 miles and 0 locks, averaging 2.74 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 222 hours 45 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 186 locks, averaging 1.28 lock/miles per hour.

Had our new gearbox (558.13) delivered and fitted (125) this morning and into the early afternoon. Stopped 50 minutes at Swillbrook for water (slow tap) and dumped the rubbish at Bilsborrow. Moored a little way past the aqueduct. A hot dat with hazy sun.

Saturday 31st May 2003

From Brock Aqueduct No 46 to Garstang arriving at 10:05 am. The time taken was 1 hour 25 minutes. 4.5 miles and 0 locks, averaging 3.18 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 224 hours 10 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 186 locks, averaging 1.28 lock/miles per hour.

Came down to Garstang and moored before bridge 62. Went to Safeway for shopping then to Th'Owd Tithebarn for lunch (Spanish Quiche 5.75, Beef in Red Wine 6.95).

From Garstang to Richmond Bridge No 80 arriving at 3:10 pm. The time taken was 1 hour 25 minutes. 3.87 miles and 0 locks, averaging 2.73 lock/miles per hour. Totals for this voyage are 225 hours 35 minutes. total cruising time, 100 miles and 186 locks, averaging 1.27 lock/miles per hour.

Came on to moor a little way before Cartmels Bridge No 74. A hot morning with hazy sun followed by duller and cooler weather in the afternoon.

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Jim Shead Waterways Photographer & Writer
Text and photographs copyright of Jim Shead.
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