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The 1984 Canal Holiday

Another pair of couples holiday, Neil and Linda, again with Julian and Jackie. Owing to the total washout of our 1982 September trip, we decided to go earlier! Dates chosen were Saturday 16th June to Saturday 28th June. The hire base and even boat were the same as last time - Evelyn from Teddesley, just north of Penkridge on the Staffs and Worcs. We liked the attention to detail of our last hire experience with Teddesley. Although not a new boat Evelyn was very well cared for and had just had a repaint. Apart from a minor self fixed water leak Evelyn lived up to it'd old reputation. Julian and Jackie were so pleased with Teddesley, they went onto hire another two boats from them. The route was to be based on last time, an extended Four Counties / Cheshire Ring. We went anti clock wise, but instead of the Caldon Canal and River Avon, we were to incorporate the Llangollen and Stourbridge / Dudley Canals. Weather was indeed better, Julian managing to get into lobster red mode! 

Again basic log has been constructed using Linda's diaries.

Saturday June 16th - Shopping in morning and left home at 10.00. Dropped off motorway at Flitwick and called on Julian and Jackie, then went up in convoy. Arrived at Penkridge at 13.15, after lunch in motorway cafe - Hilton Park. We shoved off in Evelyn at 14.00, resplendent in it's new colour scheme of the now familiar and still standard, red, grey and yellow. Carried on up the Staffs and Worcs to Great Hayward Junction, then left on to Trent and Mersey. Stopped for the night at Sandon. As in 1982 we went to Dog and Doublet Hotel in evening for food and a pint. No power cut this time!

Sunday June 17th - Started fairly late and a lot of traffic up to Stoke. Arrived at Harecastle Tunnel at 15.30. but could not get through. Stayed on boat that evening and played Scrabble after Jackie cooked dinner. Few sunny spells.

Monday June 18th - Let through Harecastle at 8.00. Turned left at Red Bull Junction. The Macclesfield Canal flys over the Trent and Mersey on an aqueduct here. Good run along entire length of Macclesfield. Fairly sunny. Amazingly no rain on Bosley Flight! Turned left at Marple, on to the Lower Peak Forest Canal and had evening run down Marple 16 Flight. Moored up by Goyt Aqueduct at 22.00. Jackie had prepared meal to be ready when we stopped. 

Tuesday June 19th - Left at 7.00, already warm and sun out. Arrived at Rochdale Nine Locks at 14.15 and spent leisurely one and a half hours going down to Castlefields. Carried on the Bridgewater, as Castlefields was not very salubrious then! After a hack along the start of the Bridgewater, we were waved down by fishermen. At first we thought that they were moaning about our speed, but it was more serious than that. Apparently a kid had fallen in the canal and was missing. His mate quickly got help and Fire Brigade frogmen were all ready in the canal. We got off with our barge pole and poled along the weedy banks. Eventually after about half an hour the firemen found the kid. He was dead, the firemen, fishermen and us packed up despondently. The firemen were particularly upset, as they had missed finding the kid, only a matter of yards from where his mate said he fell in. We soon carried on with renewed gusto, as we had arranged to meet Alan Marsden, Linda's old mate from Brunel Uni. This was at a pub after Sale and Altrincham. It was believed to be what is now the Ye Old No 3. We stopped at 19.00 and Alan was already there. Bar meals and pint in the pub. Very hot all day - the reason the kids had been playing by the water.                

Wednesday June 20th - We carried on to Lymm and had a half an hours stop for shopping. At 10.00 were were of on a non-stop trip to Middlewich. There was no hold up at Preston Brook Tunnel. Hardly any traffic on this section. Another hot day but thunder brewing for storm in evening. Linda prepared the meal and we had it directly after we had stopped in Middlewich, on the Middlewich Branch above Wardle Lock. This was at 21.30. Due to the storm we stayed on the boat for another game of Scrabble.

Thursday June 21st - We left early at 6.30 after an ablution wake up call from Julian! At Barbridge Junction we turned right on to the Chester section of the Shroppie. Arrived at Chester and moored in the "moat" above Northgate Locks. This was at 18.30. That night we went out to the newly opened Slow Boat Chinese restaurant, by the bridge, above the Bejam supermarket. This was a very good meal. (we did return in 1999, the food was lacklustre and the restaurant now owned by English! - this Bejam is now an Iceland)

Friday June 22nd - Shopping in Chester early morning and a quick walk down Northgate staircase locks. We left at 9.45, after pulling boat back to wider section and pulling round on ropes. Arrived at Hurleston Junction at 16.30 and went straight into Hurleston Locks of the Llangollen Canal. We got to just above Marbury Lock as Linda called us in for dinner. This was at 20.30. Stayed on boat again and played Risk board game. 

Saturday June 23rd - We left Marbury at 7.00 and had a good run to Chirk, arriving at 17.00. We stopped at Frankton Junction for our normal look at the Montgomery Canal Frankton Locks being restored. There was actually a couple of WRGies there working. (Images in restoration section.) We had arranged to meet Jackie's parents, as they were coming back from holiday. Having moored near Gledrid Bridge we did indeed meet up and Jackie cooked us all a meal. Sun in morning, but rain in afternoon.

Sunday June 24th - Lay in until 8.00 - even Mr E late up! Eventually left at 9.30 and arrived at Llangollen moorings, before the wharf at 14.00. We all walked up to the Horseshoe falls and had an ice cream in the town. At 17.15 we decided to leave and got back to Chirk at 20.30. Went to New Inn (now the Poacher's Pocket) pub for meal and pint in the evening.

Monday June 25th - Left Chirk at 8.00 and went straight through to Wrenbury, apart for  water stop in Ellesmere. Arrived at 19.00. Went into village to phone old dear's and then returned to the brand new Robinson's pub - The Dusty Miller - in an old mill building. Very good meal and a nice pint of Robinson's

Tuesday June 26th - Shoved off from Wrenbury at our now normal time of 8.00. At Hurleston turned right down Shroppie. Arrived at Market Drayton and moored on embankment (17.00) beyond Bridge No 62. (Our normal spot) After a quick shop in the town we then went back again to the very excellent Freddie's Chinese Restaurant. (Now sadly gone - kitchen got burnt out) Cloudy at first, then hot and sunny in the afternoon. . 

Wednesday June 27th - 8.00 start as usual! At Autherley Junction we turned right as for Brum. Turned off the Staffs and Worcs at Aldersley Junction and went up stairway to heaven - the Wolverhampton 21 Flight. Moored up at 20.00 at the wharf by the top lock. Sunny day, but windy going up the 21. That night we walked into Wolverhampton and checked out all the Indian Restaurant's. We can't remember the exact one we went to, but it was very ornate, serving excellent food. 

Thursday 28th June - Late start at 9.00, as Neil spent an hour fixing a, by now, serious leak in the galley. As was the norm then, no trouble overnight at top of the 21. Carried on along the Main Line until Factory Junction. Here we carried straight on down Factory Locks, along the New Main Line (Birmingham Level.) At Dudley Port Junction, we took the left turn, down the Netherton Tunnel Branch. Normal half hour roar through the tunnel, no body else about. At Windmill End, carried straight on down Dudley No2 Canal. BWB had been doing a fair bit of work around here, since we were last here and we had an easy passage to Park Head Junction. The Park Head Locks up to the Dudley Tunnel were locked up. We had a quick walk up to the tunnel. The pounds between the three locks were dry and in a state. The tunnel was closed again at this time. Having rounded the corner past the boarded up and semi derelict Blower's Green Pump House we carried on down the Dudley No 1 Canal, through Blower's Green deep lock. There was still much more working industry along here, up to the Earl of Dudley, Round Oak Steel Mill. Here Thatcher's Britain was in full throw, the steel works were in the final stages of demolition. Large sections of the steel sheds lay collapsed on the ground, as they were being cut up with indecent haste. (Today this site and its associated tips are the Merry Hill Shopping Centre.) No one else about on Stourbridge Canal. Dadford's Shed, by Lock 11 of the Stourbridge Canal was still clinging to life. At Stourton Junction we turned right, up the Staffs and Worcs Canal. We stopped at 20.00 at Greensforge, just above the lock and retreated to the Navigation pub. Here Neil got ill after ordering a second portion of Scampi and chips. After some delay he complained about it's non arrival. It then appeared rather quickly - too quickly -  as the scampi were evidently under cooked!

Friday 29th June - Julian left at normal time of 8.00. Neil still feeling poorly! Straight up Staffs and Worcs Canal, getting to Penkridge at 18.30, for the last night. We went into town to find pub for food. We can't remember which pub (believed to be Littleton Arms), other than the meal was poor. Had fish and chips on the way back to boat. 

Saturday 30th June - Got up at 6.30, for a boat clean up. This was something new! but we had grown to treat Evelyn as our own. This was the only boat we ever hired more than once. Left 7.30 and by 8.10 we were back at Teddesley's yard by Park Gate Lock, just to the north of Penkridge. At 8.50 we said good bye to Julian and Jackie and were back in London at 11.15, where we went straight to do shopping in Sainsbury's. 

One for the paddle gear picture collection! Trent and Mersey Canal.

Probably Hoo Mill Lock No 23. Trent and Mersey Canal.

Star Lock No 27. and Star Inn pub. Stone Flight. Trent and Mersey Canal.

Newcastle Road Lock No 29. Stone Flight. Trent and Mersey Canal.

Newcastle Road Lock No 29. The garden beside the lock has a fine display, unfortunately this is now a shadow of it's former self. Stone Flight. Trent and Mersey Canal.

Lime Kiln Lock No 30. Stone Flight. Trent and Mersey Canal.

Meaford Flight. Note the economy Sainsbury's lager! Trent and Mersey Canal.

The 1960's re-sited Stoke Lock No 36. Trent and Mersey Canal.

Stoke Lock No 36. Trent and Mersey Canal.

Lock No 37. Trent and Mersey Canal.

Cockshute Sidings and signal box, beside Lock No 37. Trent and Mersey Canal.

Lock No 38. Trent and Mersey Canal.

Locks No 39 and 40.  Etruria. Trent and Mersey Canal.

Summit Lock No 40.  Etruria. Trent and Mersey Canal.

Bosley Locks. The hill is "The Cloud". Macclesfield Canal.

Bosley Locks. Macclesfield Canal.

The Junction with the Peak Forest Canals, at Marple. Bridge No 1, beyond gauging point. Macclesfield Canal.

Marple Flight. Lower Peak Forest Canal.

Marple Flight. Lower Peak Forest Canal.

Lower Peak Forest Canal.

Lift Bridge No1, near the end of the Lower Peak Forest Canal.

Dukinfield Junction. Portland Basin ahead. Huddersfield Narrow Canal to right and Ashton to the left. Lower Peak Forest Canal.

Horse drown trip boat at Dukinfield Junction. Ashton Canal.

Rochdale Nine Locks. Lock No . The caverns under the office block were all open then!

Rochdale Nine Locks.

The bloke was still breathing, but never moved! Rochdale Nine Locks.

Rochdale Nine Locks.

Linda lock wheeling, in a bikini on the Rochdale Nine Locks!!!

Rochdale Nine Locks.

Rochdale Nine Locks.

Rochdale Nine Locks. Note the classic reversed windlass paddle ratchet

Rochdale Nine Locks.

Rochdale Nine Locks.

The slightly overdone Mr E! Bridgewater Canal.

Preston Brook Lock. You go in wide, then come out narrow! Trent and Mersey Canal.

Telephoto shot down at Saltersford Locks on the River Weaver from the Trent and Mersey Canal near Saltersford Tunnel.

Saltersford Locks and weir on the River Weaver from the Trent and Mersey Canal near Saltersford Tunnel.

Anderton Lift. Trent and Mersey Canal.

Anderton Lift. Trent and Mersey Canal.

Large ICI works at Broken Cross. Trent and Mersey Canal.

Going up Middlewich three locks. Trent and Mersey Canal.

Minshull Lock and cottage. Middlewich Branch. (1999 - The cottage had been burnt out and the upper story half demolished - probably all gone now.) 

Nicely posed shot of Julian.

Neil is bored with conventional steering again! - mind you, he is wearing proper boating shoes!

Bunbury Staircase locks. Shropshire Union Canal - Chester Canal.

Bunbury Staircase locks. Shropshire Union Canal - Chester Canal.

Bunbury Staircase locks. Shropshire Union Canal - Chester Canal.

Northgate Shropshire Union Canal - Chester Canal.

Our mooring, in the moat. Chester. Shropshire Union Canal - Chester Canal.

Terraced cottages, built straight onto the rock. Chester. Shropshire Union Canal - Chester Canal.


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