Narrowboat Ezri – The 100 Miles Adventure – What went before.

Last weeks blog post was about crossing the divide between the Macclesfield Canal and the Trent and Mersey which got me thinking, after two year on Ezri how many other canals which make up the two thousand mile length network have we completely covered.

The funny thing is that I never kept a complete record (just are few notes and Condensed diary dates) when I did the trip from Blue Water marina in Thorpe West Yorkshire to my eventual destination of Littleborough in Lancashire.

I knew my starting point and had a vague the idea of my end destination, but really no idea what was really involved, so it was one big push, afraid if I slowed down that I would have been left behind and lost from the people who were help me, But now I know better. 

Yet sad because with all the rushing about I missed all most everything and its only when I watch other people’s YouTube videos or see a Mention of a lock do I just about remember the trip, the heat from the sun as it was high in the sky and working the wood 2 by 4 paddle on the Aire and Calder, all memories which wish I could hold on to longer. 

When I do think about things its amazing that I was able with help cover so many parts of the canal network even crossing the Lancashire Yorkshire border more than once.

The First Three Weeks
New Junction Canal 
Aire and Calder Main Line
Aire and Calder – Navigation – Wakefield
Calder and Hebble – Navigation

The rest of the year
Rochdale Canal 99%
Ashton Canal

The 100 mile Adventure
Peak Forest
Macclesfield

The following is a simple map showing our movement this side of the Pennines, the red shows the first Adventure and the Purple shows the new 100 mile adventure we are still continue to do.

the map was Illustrated by Bek Cruddace, for More information go to Bekcuddace.co.uk.

That’s your lot for this week, and As always thank you for reading and I hope you can join me next when head up the Trent and Mersey.

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NarrowBoat Ezri -One Week Of Winter.

With the frist week of winter most over, but it finds me not on Ezri keeping warm and toasty by her fire, but cat sitting for my borther and sister in law. Its a srange thing being in house I can have hot water when even I want it, Switch on all the lights, computers, TV, Xbox you name it without fear running down a battery.there is even a gas fire

But yet want I find myself doing is sitting down reading and listening to podcasts and when its to dark to see I put the small lamp and when I cold put the fire on low, and feeding the cat when he needs. Almost mirroring he life aboad Ezri I even still using my boxes

I have had to work both at the start and the end of this week to, so I walked and gave me The opportunity to pass both the Rochdale and Ashton canal, even in the cold light of day the Rochdale is shockingly scary and downright dangerous, its hard to belive that anything could even flot in it, let alone navigate.

When we (me, dad and Ezri) came down from Littleborough that day/night we just kept going pushing and pushing on one lock after the next, not really knowing or caring just trying to get into Manchester. And want I saw on my way to work filled me once again with feeling of dread and foreboding.

Its like some has cut huge concrete ditch into the remains of industrial landscape and just let rot, there is hardly any water and what there is full of rubbish, yes it winter, yes do get get the odd bit of rubbish in all most every canal, but around there its somekind of past time. And that just the bit I passed on the way to work I would hate walk the rest of it.

As for the Ashton that a total different thing altogether there are only five street and park separating both canals yet here the canal is wide, free flowing many of the locks are freshly pained and in working order and want rubbish there is all in litter bins. There is even a new flower garden. But I guess that’s people rection to canals in space of a few minutes walk.

As for Ezri she’s safe in her winter mooring, in the end CRT didn’t let me have one so I called two of the marines on the Peak one of which had room, the trip there took all of ten minutes, so there she sit waiting for the winter work to start and her feel like home again.

Narrowboat Ezri – Shipshape and City Life

I said there would a Ezri blog post so here goes, a little recap.

My dad and me moving Ezri down from the Rose of Lancashire, to New Islington just off the Rochdale. For all the pain and full story see the last Ezri Blog.

With me working five nights over the next two weeks England V. Turkey, Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay twice and then AC/DC all at the Manchester City Stadium I saw no point in moving Ezri. Which in the end was the best option in the long run.

Now that meant everything that I had planed was moved forward, Ezri’s engine needed to be looked at whatever happed so with a few calls I was able to find someone to come a check Ezri’s out. A nice guy called Andy would be here Monday morning

Sleeping in the heart of Manchester is a little strange, Ezri is my home I am surrounded by all my own things, feeling safe and happy, that never changes but what dose are the sounds and actions outside

When I was out in the middle of nowhere the only sounds were those I made myself, But here there are people walking home, the Metrolink and even the odd car making its ways up the old cobbled streets, that now used for traffic calming.

I could talk all day about the regeneration of the place but let’s get back to Ezri, Monday morning rolls around and Andy turns up, I explain things and he set to work.

The only two things I know about Ezri’s engine were the water goes and to turn the greaser screw after use, but thanks to Andy I now know quite a bit, We also discovered that who had Ezri before me had tried to do things on cheep, gluing the control panel into place being one thing, and the fact Ezri has two batteries but only one is wired into anything.

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Watching Andy take bits of Ezri off all coved in black oil was both amazing and a little shocking, shocking because he said its miracle they even still worked and got us here. The amazing part was finding out what each part did.

So with Ezri now running better that ever the next thing is to move her once again, I have to put a little bit of fuel into Ezri just to make sure I have but the last time I did that was almost a year ago.

The thing of it is that I have a extra week thanks to CRT working on the first two locks of the Ashton, being in the hart of the city is fun and I meet a lot people, but Ezri and I want to get going again. Exploring the rest of the canal network.

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Narrowboat Ezri -A long way down…

Ok, want started out as a simple plan which should have taken three weeks is now into its fourth.
I will just recap a little.

Ezri couldn’t go up the Rochdale canal, because of works going on around me, which got me in a little bit of trouble with CRT.

So I looked around and found Droylsden marina which would help me in long run as place to be safe, I put myself on the waiting list but for now I can on the Peak Forest or just before it at the Portland basin

Droylsden is on Ashton Canal which runs though Manchester and traves past the football ground, But to get there I had past though few war zones.

The first thing that happened was I had the canal drain from under me and Ezri had sit at the bottom of the canal for to days.
The second was after spending two weeks at The Hopwood Arms Ezri had been turned around, facing back the way she had come, but that was a simple job to fix and off we went.

The plan was to get to the Rose of Lancashire the pub (not the visiting moorings as they are a lie they is no water point) which did but not with out getting stuck after stopping an over full lock and almost missing the place turning Ezri around. 

We made it but Ezri did show a few signs of wear, working out were to move her to next was a bit of a job, the canal plan web site is all very well but some of the information is out date and the the photos are to.

I will explain want I mean, the canal web said the next save place for over night mooring is The Boat and Horses just outside Chadderton one lift road bridge were Ezri was at the rose

Well no is not, the water is far to shallow to even think about move one inch out of the center let alone trying to moor up which is all concrete blocks with no ring or even space for pins. And the only I found this out was go down there on foot, the day before,

So the trip got one hell of a lot harder add to fact, I am now work so I have leave Ezri looking again at the canal plan was mistake number one, should it tell you the locks, even gives you routes and times on how long but once out dated information.

The trip was meant to take five hours, passing though 20 locks down though the end of Chadderton  Failsworth, Newton Heath, Monsall, Milles Platiting and Ancoats,

Now at high of Ezri first she did five and a half miles following to other narrow boats, from the small village called Altofts to the town of Dewsbury, As said before Ezri was showing signs of wear which should had do something about,

OK I did something I poured water into engine and we set off not smarts move but when your get pushed for time a few other things you just have go.

We did first lock which went well, and were half way though the lift bridge, when as went up in the air a ambulance came down the road all lights flashing and screaming there was nothing we could do I pushed Ezri though and the bridge came down.

I should taken that a sign there and then, after things got worse ever lock was a fight, if it wasn’t pulling things out of the water it was trying to get the gates to work. And many time cound’nt even moor up start the lock before dad reached me. Just sit in middle and hope Ezri did catch on something. Dad even fell in which made me even more on edge and scared

Not only that but people stopping to watch and passing comment as Dad did the lock gates as went down in lock with Ezri. I would like to say two words “F*** Off” no really if your not helping keep your mouth shut and move on.

Out of the 20 people who we passed yesterday we had five who helped or let me know about up come problems thank you thank you.

Then Ezri gave up half way though one lock her engine started to make a very odd sound but in the end were crawling a long, at half six we meet a guy from CRT just outside Monsall who help Dad back to the car which left me to do the lock. That’s when I worked out Ezri there most be something really wrong with Ezri 

We had four lock left and it was eight pm we had started at half ten am, I know we broke the rules and ran late but there was no were moor up and no way I was stopping, just I left the last lock Ezri hit something right in the center but her front rope is that long I threw it over and Dad help me off.

By quarter past nine we made it to New Islington two lock shy of the turning for the Ashton and locked Ezri down and she safe

After ringing the New Islington people I found out I have two free days there which are today and Wednesday I go back to work on Wednesday afternoon, I will see about staying a little long. Because the way Ezri is now it was take an 12 hour even to make it after way up the Ashton let alone all the way to Portland basin.

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Narrowboat Ezri – Leaving Littleborough – Part Three

The last part of leaving Littleborough, Tuesday morning me and Dad returned to Ezri and much our relief Ezri was now floating and had this time she’d stayed locked in place.
I ran my checks and Ezri’s engine kicked in first time, but after the last few days, I was in little hurry to move off so when I handed over both my lock keys to my dad I drop the smaller into the canal. (the small handcuff one)
I am did my best to find it but all got for my trouble as two bruised ribs and a very wet jumper.
There was no way I was leaving Ezri there so even without the the key we headed off, we got to the lock and Dad said I should call CRT again, which I did only to get my location wrong. I did my best to call them back but it didn’t help. So after half an hour I called Portland Basin and asked if they had any handcuff keys and thankfully they did.
I knew without a handcuff there was no hope of getting Ezri out of Rochdale, so giving up trying to call CRT  back we locked and walked back to the car an other half a hour and then headed to Portland Basin, around trip of an hour taking directions from my phones sat nav.
The very second I stepped though the door at Portland Basin my phone rang which was CRT and I did my best to explain what the past days had been like.
Dad was able to buy two keys, and we set off once again.
Getting back to Ezri my phone rang again, once again it was CRT I told them of what had happened, and now that I had a handcuff key I should be Ok.
By now it was half past eleven and a job that should have taken a hour was now three hours long.
Switching Ezri’s engine I found out that she didn’t sound to well, she would move but some what slowly but moving was better that standing still.
We did the locks and were off, Me and Ezri headed down the canal and Dad went back to the car.
Ezri did all asked of her and when past under the motorway I gave out a cheer because everything after the Sandbrook was new and it felt such a relief be out of the hell that was/is the center of Rochdale.
But just after Castleton the wheels feel off again you see there were two more locks, Dad had parked the car at the Sandbrook but when he walked away the only path he could find just kept putting back in the car park so he did the only thing he knew which was take the car to were Ezri and were heading to.
I didn’t waited I carried on with the lock only to find it was drum lock which meant to had to turn it one way to open the lock gates and then another way to shut them, which would had been fine but it took he so long to work out I was getting more and more pissed off.
Four days to move this far not a happy bunny, and when I did get back on Ezri and try to move her out I found out I had open both lock gates.
So off I got once again damaging my ribs again, to open the gate which didn’t at first what move I hate drum gates, but in the end we were though and as tied Ezri open so I could shut the lock, Dad came around the bend.
He had walked from the car to meet me, by this time it was three o’clock we both hadn’t eaten and Ezri was starting to run slow, we made though the next two locks and even under the motorway again, but then the last lock.
The water when in but try as we couldn’t get the gates didn’t open, so we waited and waited in the end once again I rang CRT who thankful turned up, and in seconds saw one of the paddle had been left open

So here and now I would like to say a huge thank to evey one of the amazing Canal and River Trust people both on the ground and in the offices that help me and Ezri out that day.

Ezri and I made it to safe harbor and so far so good, her engine will need to be looked at once we get down to Portland Basin and few other things to but all in all things are looking good.

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Narrowboat Ezri – Leaving Littleborough – Part Two

Two weeks pass as Ezri and I sat Wharf above Bent house, and I called the Canal and River and told once again about not have water to carry on, I was asked to send my email again which I did but the only thing that happened was I got was a renewal form for Ezri’s licence which I brought over the phone, and was told as long as I moved Ezri next year I would get a full 12 months.

As I was making my plan to move Ezri I found out about Droylsden Marina, and Portland Basin on the Ashton canal which I mentioning them now as one of them I will come back to in the next post.

The rain came and filled in the missing water, over the past days so I made sure that there was water under Ezri for the journey and made sure that nothing floating in the canal, I would be even bring some water down the hill with me. You see once you leave Littleborough that part of the canal is all one level, until the two locks in the center of Rochdale,  then all down hill after that.

I knew from the last time I couldn’t stop at Little Clegg bridge No 54a or any were a long there as the bank as fallen in so the plan was with the help of my dad, brother and sister in law, (Katie who had never seen Ezri in real life) we could make it the other side of Rochdale, a matter of seven locks and one swing bridge.

Me and Ezri had done half of the trip before but everything after the sand broke would be new.

Saturday the 30 Apr was the perfect day, a little rain was comming but we would be done even before it started, We started off well Ezri in fact I think she was showing off she made the arch out the wharf in one move, and sat in the first lock waiting peacefully.

Two lock in and Ezri was amazing, the best she ever was, when got to the last of the Littleborough, Dad and Joel left, Me, Katie and Ezri to make the trip to the swing bridge, as they would be moving the car to just before there Smithy bridge railway station.

Ezri did all asked of her but is was very slow going as the bank had come down into the water a little and the rain had started up. I coundn’t even tie up and help the bridge So Dad and Joel had to deal with that, after the bridge they walked down next to us just to make sure of any other problems.

And so happy they did because just after this Ezri was beached.

 We had water all the way to Coppy Bridge No.57 until it all vanished and beached Me, Katie and Ezri in the middle of the canal going back didn’t help even trying to shake her didn’t she just sat there stuck, I threw Dad and Joel the ropes but even with help we’re were unable to pull in to the bank, so I rang the Canal and River Trust number then the emergency number I was told that they would refill the water level

So Ezri could be refloated but that would take 24 hours, We were in the middle of the canal so when the water came Ezri would just float off and become a danger not only that Katie cound’nt stay on Ezri as she work the following day  I asked them to send help so we could get the bank and make Ezri safe.

And they did a very helpful man came  but as I waited I was told by walks that someone had once again opened the paddles on the lock gates Moss Upper and Moss Lower No. 49/50 the two locks in the center of Rochdale.

Even with the help of the man from CRT we were able to get Ezri to side of the bank and Katie safely on dry land but Ezri became unstable and uninhabitable, as she was leaning to one side and any kind movement inside would pull her mooring pins out.
I had on other chose but to remove my all personal belongings and leave her, and wait for the water levels to return.

Leaving Ezri was hard I walk away from her before but I always know want I comming back but the area she was in… Calling it a war zone would be bringing it up a few levels.

So Me and Dad arranged to meet up on Sunday 1st May and the wonderful CRT man could help me on my journey but once we got there it very clear more water had been taken because over night once again the paddles had been vandalised letting more water out even the CRT man was shocked by the damage.

In a way I was lucky the only damage was some had pull out Ezri mooring pins and had moved from the side of the bank into middle of the canal stuck once again, but this time very bottom of the canal, still unstable and uninhabitable

We pulled her back to the side and walked away, and hoped that the water would have been resorted and I can leave this section of the Rochdale canal as it has be clear the people around the area don’t want any kind boating done.    

We didn’t leave it there because me and dad came back to Ezri later that evening and made sure her pins were still in place and we even when to check the lock gates. I made sure the paddles were down and the lock were shut, My told me later the ones he checked had been pad locked together.

Happy with what we had seen we went home.

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Narrowboat Ezri – Leaving Littleborough – Part One

Well I writing again and this time its huge post, So it going to be in three parts.

Before I start with moving tale, We have to go back a little and talk about the winter flood and being on winter moorings.

I had winter Mooring permit for Lock 47 which end 29th February but on 27th December the Canal and River Trust place a navigation closure notice for Sowerby Bridge to Summit dew to the wide spread flooding of the whole area and the centre of Littleborough which also stopped me returning to Ezri for three days.

The Canal and River Trust did an amazing job to put the canal back together but each time they did more problems were found, and in fact the restrictions are still in place from boxing day. Added to which they found a huge hole at Summit so had drain it before work could even start. So to save what little water was left they shut the whole section, from the Summit to just before lock 48 when mean shut they came with pad locks and everything.

Now here were things get a little messy, I am a continuous Cruiser which means I have 14 days in any one place, which meant when my winter permit ran out I would have to move and simple task. So I planed to move down into Rochdale and on the 13th March, I tried to move Ezri from Littleborough Higher Lock No. 47 to just after Little Clegg bridge No 54a about a one hour cruiser two locks and a small swing bridge.

I was able to move her thought Littleborough Lower Lock No. 48 without any problem but when I tried to moor up safely, just after the swing bridge I found it impossible to do so because of the low water levels exposing the rocks and the bricks at the side of the bank dew to the flooding.

Knowing the rules I did try and continue my journey onwards in Rochdale and beyond but I was prevented from doing so because the water in the middle canal became to shallow to navigate without damaging my boat.

So with my dads help we had to return to Littleborough. But not to Lock 47 as before but just before lock 48 just outside Littleborough just behind another narrowboat which been there for sometime I had to work the following day but on my return and found the water under Ezri and the other boat was very low in fact we were both leaning sideways.

I walked down the towpath find the whole length from Lock 48 to Rochdale was at this level, and because the water at the Summit Lock has been remove for repair. and a new navigation closure has been add from lock 36 to lock 45. I did the only thing I could and email CRT and tell them of my problem. I got a automated response but nothing more.

So I asked around about the low level of water and was informed by the amazing Rochdale Canal Volunteer Bob Furnell
(who help me work all the locks down from the summit on my first day)  that vandals had been opening the paddles on both lock gates Moss Upper and Moss Lower No 49/50 in the centre of Rochdale, using the same lock key anyone can buy over the internet and despite Mr Furnell best efforts he’s been unable to stop the vandals.

I waited until the water was back at safe level and move Ezri into the Wharf above Bent house lock so if the water is removed again Ezri will not get damaged and out of the way.

Two weeks when by and the water levels kept going down heading into Rochdale and the pad locks remained on the lock gates traping Narrow Boat Hannah between three locks

Then I got a letter from the CRT licensing telling me that I could only have six months because I had not been moving, so I sent the email again but this time to two other people, and again no response. So not wanting Ezri to be taken out of the water or another other kind action I bought a six-month licence.

And made a plan to move Ezri into Castleton, knowing there was no way I could stop just after the swing Bridge as I had tried to before.

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Narrowboat Ezri – The Littleborough Chronicles -No Were To Go

Yesterday was moving day, and that’s what me and my Dad did we moved Ezri. Only not to were we planed and most defiantly not in the way I am meant too.

Let me tell you how things were meant to go Ezri leaves her winter mooring, heads down though two locks a small swing bridge and the before the small village of Millrow and stop for my 14 days, then move on. Plus I was going video the whole thing with use of cheap camera.

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So I when through all the checks, to start Ezri’s engine which kicked frist time, but there was a small rattle which made swich off and run round Ezri trying to find were the sound was comming from, turns out the new door handle likes to shake a bit, then I rememded the camera a few bit of masking tape and it stuck to the chimney stack and working
I started Ezri up again and off we went, it all down hill so we have fill the lock up, So I tie Ezri to the post before the lock then help Dad with the gate, No matter how many times I tell him I can do it he always says go back to the boat.
Once the water was level I slowly got Ezri in I tied her to post on the right side and watched as my Dad unlocked the paddle to let the water flow out and Ezri down. We only use one gate so it nice and simple no banging about or being pulled towards the sill.
Ezri was so well behaved it was hard to belive she’d been stood still for 3 months. In no time were heading to the next lock, I started to think about the camera on the front it would record what ever Ezri would face so it would miss out the filling of the lock but would be very good POV so started to film everything else so I could edit the two thing together.
Everything went well Ezri when in then down as the way went and we left the lock just as we found it, Dad got and we headed to the swing bridge and nice half an hour trip, things went that well I started to think more about taking some photos
The swing bridge was simple I have forgot it wasn’t a CRT key one just a lock key thing, we gave the local people a good show, a few had never seen the bridge being used so that was a thing.
Now here is were the trouble started, the spot we found was just after a small fiberglass boat which I know so you would think it would a simple job just morr up behind.
Well I could get Ezri front in even her side but not her end so thinking I could just jump off and pull her in tried that didn’t work, because between the bank and Ezri back was huge stone which no matter how hard we tried would not move.

The plan then was to morr in front but once again we were stopped this times by lots of tree roots and the low water level, so we had three options the first to keep going and end up back at the sandbrook pub, because to get any further down would mean a walk back/bus trip back to the car for my dad. Two find somewhere before there and stop not were I wanted to be but safe or three turn Ezri around.
We picked option two for an hour we tried I even started pulling weeds out the towpath but the level kept get low and our tempers shorter.

In the end I almost grounded Ezri trying to turn her around it was another half hour of dodging Shallows and almost hitting rock did we make it to turning hole before Millrow and boy did I mess that up.
It was like standing on top of huge a coffee grinder pasting oil and water ever few seconds, I can’t really remember how in the end it happened but my and Dad took one control each and had Ezri almost on her side.

In the end I got off and pushed her around with a bit old fence poll I found, It was a bit odd having Dad take over Ezri, but we made back up, we did try again to morr up before and after the swing bridge but no dice.
So back to Littlebrough and a safe place, the problem is that at minute there is only just water to navigate through so all rocks and stuff are now touching the bottom of Ezri and scraping at her propeller. Not only that but that water gets more and more shallow as enter Rochdale and the two huge locks in the town center.

I was looking forward to posting the Ezri POV video well the bit that had gone right, but when I came to replay it I found all had was 3 seconds from the start and a corrupt file.
So the only footage is the lock two stuff and in a way glad because no one what to relive there failure, I have wrote to CRT to explain why Ezri is were she now is I just hope they understand

 

Narrowboat Ezri – The Littleborough Chronicles – Running Dry

Yesterday after working a little on Ezri, me and my Dad had a little run up to Chelbourne Wharfe, or The Summit I know the stoppage travel notice had gone out, Which in simple words means that from there to Sowerby Bridge the canal is shut, no movement what’s so ever. It a good few miles of canal and locks how it works if your narrowboat is between those to places I have no idea, I guess your stuck there until the notice has been lifted. I have more that once to see for myself but in many places to towpath is shut to. And if you were to move to your boat you not get very far, you see the canal has been effectively split in two as the water at the The Summit has been drained out so that CRT ( Canal and River Trust) can see what dange has been cause by the movemet of the bank further up the network.

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Having the canal like this more that a little scary as I can now se
e that the water I once though was very deep and safe is in fact very shallow and full unwated things which would do a hell a lot of danage to Ezri’s underside, I not only saw the odd house bick but a few huge bits scrap metal in bedded in the clay bottom, and to think Ezri had been inches away from them both going up and comming down. All of which will have to clean out before the water can be put back.

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It gets never more scary when you think about the lock gates with the water around them they just apper to be so small but once the water has gone there full size is realized all the craftmanship that goes on just to keep a simple thing like a lock gate working. And how far the sill really is away from the back of Ezri when the lock gates shut.
In the next few days I hope to see CRT put the water back in