2011 started with us frozen in at Macclesfield Marina. The ice was 6ins thick and there was no chance of going anywhere - and boy was it boring!
Once the ice had melted we spent a month cruising up and down the Macclesfield Canal, trapped in by the winter maintenance stoppages at Bosley and Marple. We’ve cruised this canal so many times now the boat could steer itself. We finally gave up our moorings in Macclesfield Marina and to celebrate our freedom had a leaving party at the local pub. It was a free-for-all jamming session and Roger made his public debut on guitar.
The winter stoppages ended and we were free! Once we got past the shopping trolleys in Marple locks we headed up the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and spent a wonderful few weeks exploring pastures new. The canal was so quiet we only saw a handful of moving boats all month.
April saw us back on the Macc as we were booked into Kerridge Dry Dock for blacking & I had a few hospital appointments back in Manchester. As beautiful as the Macclesfield Canal is, we were glad to be off it again and spent the rest of the month on the Trent & Mersey. The weather was warm and sunny and I even managed some sun-bathing on the roof.
The weather in May was lovely and we spent most of the month on the beautiful River Soar with the highlight being the Leicester River Festival.
Most of June was spent on the Grand Union Canal, travelling slowly down to Stratford on Avon for the River Festival.
We liked the River Avon so much, that after the River Festival we used Barton Marina as a base while we explored the area.
August was a busy month with us cruising the River Severn, visiting Worcester Beer Festival and Stourport, followed by the Staffs & Worcester, Shropshire Union, Trent and Mersey and Bridgewater Canals.
The boating highlight of September was the Liverpool Festival, family-wise it was learning that we’re going to be grand-parents. We spent most of the month on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and really enjoyed it, despite all the warnings we’d received about it being a bit dodgy.
We spent most of October in the centre of Manchester in Castlefield Basin, interspersed with trips to Boothstown and Worsley. Viewing Manchester as tourists rather than as residents was an eye-opener as you just don’t appreciate the city you live in while you’re there. We had a great time with several visits from family and friends.
November saw us back on the Shropshire Union, travelling to Chester.
After visiting Ellesmere Port, Christmas shopping kept taking us back for short stop-overs in Chester. Over the holiday period we booked into Tattenhall Marina while we were away visiting, but we couldn’t get out again quick enough and we’re now back on the cut. As long as the water stays liquid we’ll be out and about, only needing to dive back into a marina in case we get frozen in like last year.
Thankfully, the snow we had early in the month has gone and temperatures are quite mild again making for perfect cruising weather into the new year.
2011 was our first full year living aboard. We travelled 882 miles, through 542 locks and 21 tunnels and we enjoyed every day of it.
I hope you've enjoyed reading about our travels, I've certainly enjoyed writing about them. I'd like to wish everyone of you a very peaceful, healthy and prosperous New Year, see you again in 2012