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Thursday, 3 August 2017

Birthday Girl.

I hope Helen is not too embarrassed by these photos. I have tried to pick ones that she will approve of that have been taken over the six years we have had our boat, and I couldn't let her birthday pass without recognition on the 'Holderness' blog, especially as she actually takes many of the photos.

For our first year we headed down the Leicester Section of the Grand Union, on through the North Oxford and the Coventry to the Trent and Mersey heading for the Caldon Canal. I don't remember any great problems and it was just great to be away together. I think this was somewhere near Barlaston and the Wedgewood factory.

It seemed that we had the Caldon Canal to ourselves. Once back on the Trent and Mersey we headed north again on the Macclesfield, Peak Forest, Ashton and to Manchester on the Rochdale. We then headed off to Liverpool on the Bridgewater and Leeds Liverpool. After a great stay there we headed for Chester and Ellesmere Port. Then back down to Birmingham on the Shroppie before back up throught Stoke and the Macclesfield to get to the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. It was quite an adventure but once again we felt that we had it to ourselves and despite the weather and the bottom being close to the top in places and drained pounds we had a great time as you can see.

We used a marina at Thorne that winter and the next year we up the South Yorkshire Navigations to Sheffield and had a great time there. We must go back soon. We then headed back and on to Keadby and up the Trent to Chesterfield, which everybody should do some time as it is beautiful especially above Shireoak. This is Helen writing up her log as we go down the Keadby and Stainforth canal on the way to the River Trent.

From the Chesterfield we were back on the Trent as far as the Fossdyke and Witham Navigation to visit Lincoln and Boston We then continued up the Trent to Nottingham and through to the northern reaches of the Erewash canal. After that we headed down the River Soar. We had some great weather and Helen is enjoying the sun as she waits for a lock to fill near Birstall north of Leicester.

In 2015 we picked 'Holderness' up again at Dewsbury and headed once more up the Trent and then on to Birmingham. We love Birmingham and no excuse to visit, but luckily it is the major cross roads of the system. Here is Helen at the top of the Balck Delph flight of locks enjoying the challenge of the descent. We ventured on to the River Severn and headed to Glouscester via Droitwich. We also loved the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal. We decided to take a pilot from Sharpness and travel to Bristol, via Portishead to get to the Kennet and Avon canal.

From the kennet and Avon we used the Thames to get on to the Oxford Canal to head back north. We turned on to the Grand Union and here is Helen once again leaning on a gate at Calcutt middle lock with the distinctive paddle gear.

Not only do we love Birmingham but we also enjoy cruising around the Birmingham Canal Navigation with all it's backwaters. Helen loves a map and a leaflet that adds value to a walk and here she is at Bumble Hole, Windmill End, on the Dudley canal No.2 just by Netherton Tunnel taking us on a walk around the nature reserve that was once a hive of industry.

From Birmingham we headed down the Stratford Canal and the River Avon before looping back up via the Severn and the Droitwich to get on to the Oxford Canal to head for the Thames. We did the full length of the Thames from Lechlade to Limehouse Basin anyway. Here is Helen passing as a Lock keeper. It is funny how the people on cruisers don't seem to like to get off them to work a lock when they are on self service. Helen remained calm, usually when she was been asked daft questions, or being told what to do by somebody in white trousers on a cruiser. She certainly looks the part anyway.

The boat had a repaint over the winter and we perhaps did not plan the best route following that as we headed north once again as the City of Culture Year in Hull beckoned. As we are both volunteers we wanted to be close so as to miss as little as possible. We headed down the Wolverhampton 21 and were soon on the Shropshire Union heading north. we had a crew of daughter and partner for this section and here is Helen taking it easy near Tyrley Wharf.

This was at the summit pound this year having made it up from Manchester to the Yorkshire side, well almost. The border is at the other end of the summit pound, and if I may say so, the most beautiful parts of the canal start then too.

We really love our time on the canals and rivers of England and Wales and truly relax. Give us a wave if you pass us.

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