Welcome to Shell-Bell.co.uk

This is the blog of Norwyn & Sheila aboard their narrowboat Shell Bell.

August 23rd 2012 About turn

It was overcast but nice this morning as we pulled away from our moorings outside the Cheshire cat pub. A few hundred yards later and we winded (turned the boat round) just before bridge 121. It was a steady pace as there are a lot of moored boats along this part of the canal. Once clear of those we came to our first lock of the day and shared it with NB Legend. Once clear of that lock it is a short hop to Beeston iron lock; although a double lock it has been narrowed with repairs over the years so the advice now is one boat at a time. We joined the queue 6th boat in line. Waiting over, we cleared the lock and headed for the next and upon arrival we were waved straight in alongside NB Windsor Castle a hire boat from Anderton Marina with a very nice family onboard. We shared the remaing locks inluding the Bunbury staircase lock with them. Saying our farewells once clear of the locks they headed off for overnight moorings on the Middlewhich branch and we made our way to Calveley where we have moored for the night. Tomorrow it’s back into Nantwich but we hear there may be a festival on and mooring maybe a problem!!!!!!.

August 22nd 2012 Chester

Today we caught the bus into Chester. Never having been to Chester before we were pleasantly surprised what a lovely city it is. Sheila made good use of the shops by buying a new handbag and a Pandora bead for her bracelet. We had lunch, did some more shopping then walked back to Shell Bell along the Tow path- around 40 minutes walk. The rest of the afternoon and early evening we spent sitting on the back of the boat in the sunshine with a beer.

Chester Cathederal

August 21st 2012 An early start

As the heading suggests it was an early start for us today. It was around 06:45 when we set off from our overnight mooring, we stopped on the service block near Nantwich Marina and topped the water tank and emptied the loo tank. Then we were on our way. We had a lovely cruise down to Christleton; our mooring for tonight.The only excitment we had was when we were waved down by two very polite children telling us that round the corner the canal was blocked by a boat. Sure enough the crew of NB Penny Jenny were trying to move the obstruction – an unmanned boat left on very inadequate mooring pins had come adrift With our help plus the help of a dog walker we managed to get it moored up again but i wonder for how long!!!. I must admit the children from Penny Jenny waving on the tow path did remind me of the railway children. Tomorrow we plan to catch the bus into Chester for some retail therapy.

August 20th 2012 Lunch in Nantwich

A short cruise for us today, we had decided to go to Nantwich and and moor for the day. It was a glorious, bright and sunny and we soon came to the two Hack Green locks – a test for the first mates injured arm; a test passed with flying colours. After a little over a couple of hours we were moored in Nantwich. We walked into town and did some shopping and then had lunch at the delightful book shop tea rooms, it was very good.The rest of the day we have spent sitting in the sun on the towpath.

The first mate back in action

Book shop tea rooms our lunch was great

August 19th 2012 Sheila has a fall !!!!!

We set off this morning in lovely warm conditions with no wind. Our first stop was only a few hundred yards away at the service staion where we topped the water tank and dumped the rubbish. Once done we set off again making our way to the five Adderley locks. By the time we reached the the top lock it was raining steadily. Sheila called into the farm shop at the top lock to buy lamb chops and sausages. It was steady through the locks and we soon exited the last lock, then disaster struck. Sheila slipped on the lock landing and went down with a real thud. We moored the boat and Sheila put ice on her damaged elbow and also checked herself out for anymore bruises. After about an hour we set off again but with fifteen more locks to do and Sheila down to one arm it was going to be difficult. Arriving at the Audlem top lock we worked out a plan sheila could open gates and drop paddles and Norwyn would wind them up. This plan was made easier by the fact that we were going down not up. We eventually made it through the fifteen locks and made our way to Coole Pilate, our chosen mooring this evening and at last the sun was shinning. Sheila, although a bit sore is fine and should be back on first mate duties tomorrow.

The Shroppie fly pub in Audlum

August 18th 2012 Market Drayton

]We moored last night at Norbury Junction and with no signal we were unable to blog. Today we have had a gentle cruise to Market Drayton. With rows of moored boats on route the average cruise speed was reduced. Also on route there were some narrow cuttings and with a lot of boats about we spent some time stationary waiting to get through. At Woodseaves cutting the tow path is closed to walkers and at one point there are buoys set to guide boats round a landslip caused by all the rain we have had. Today though has been warm and sunny; hopefully it will continue.

Tight fit through Norbury Junction

Landslip woodseaves cutting

Late brood of Moorhens spotted today


August 16th 2012 Onto the Shroppie

Although windy it was nice and bright when we set off this morning. We were soon through the three locks leading into Gailey. The weather remained good and we made good progress. We had to wait for NB Nomad at the entrance to the narrows and then had to wait half way through for another boat to pass. Once through the narrows it was a short trip to Autherley Junction where we turned onto the Shropshire Union canal, The shroppie is a lovely canal and we have moored just outside Brewood. This evening the weather has turned a bit. It is very windy and there has been the occassional shower.

THe lovely top lock at Gailey

Looking back down the narrows

August 15th 2012 Wet Again

It was a lovely morning when we raised from our slumbers, bright and sunny but the weather forcasters had predicted a wet and windy day. After deciding not to sit tight at Tixall for another day we set off; our destination was Gailey. The weather held as we made our way through Acton Trussell. By the time we reached Penkridge the rain had started but not too uncomfortable. There was a bit of a problem at Penkridge lock with a hire boat broken down but all was soon sorted and we made our way into the lock. We used the services at the top of the lock and set off for our next destination, Otherton boat haven where we would top up with diesel. It was raining quite hard by the time we got to Otherton. Then the fun started, whilst taking on diesel the heavans opened and the Cap’n, 1st mate and the lady suppling the diesel all got soaked to the skin. Once dried and the bill paid we set off again only to get another soaking within a half hour so we decided to call it day and we have moored in the pound (area between two locks) just outside Gailey. The evening turned out rather nice so once again Norwyn went fishing and was rewarded with some nice roach.

Shell Bell in Tixall lock

August 14th 2012 Glorious sunshine

What a glorious morning we woke to. It was sunny and warm. Leaving Handsacre this morning we followed another boat through the narrows and had a steady cruise to Rugley were we moored neat bridge 65 and headed for Morrisons to top up the food supplys. Leaving Rugley after lunch we set off for great Haywood junction where we would turn onto the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal. It was a pleasant trip with two locks (Colwich and Great Haywood). Having made the turn at the junction we carried on for maybe half a mile and moored at Tixall Wide; we only just managed to squeeze in. It’s very busy here with the moorings full.

spot the rowing dinghy

Tixel Wide our mooring tonight

AUGUST 13TH 2012 Slow cruise to Handsacre

A slow start today; leaving Branston around 09:30 we made steady progress although the weather was not great – no rain but overcast and breezy. The river section before Alrewas was a lot calmer than our last trip when it was just coming out of flood. Fradley junction was busy and we stopped on the services to top up with water and empty the loo tank. There were three lockies on duty at Fradley which helped to speed us through. The rain shower came eventually but it was short and sharp so not too uncomfortable. We have moored near the Plumb Pudding pub at Handsacre. The evening was very pleasant with warm sunshine and Norwyn had some success roach fishing.

The marker board on the lock was only just out of the red the last time we were here

A few roach on bread punch