Welcome to Shell-Bell.co.uk

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

July 5th 2012 Cadbury World

We were woken this morning at 07:30 by a gentle tap on the boat from another boat.  Some little toe rag had untied  our back mooring rope and we were half way across the cut but we were soon tied up again. After showering and breakfasting we left Birmingham and headed for Bournvillle where we moored in the secure BW moorings and headed off to visit Cadbury World. We had a great time at the world famous chocolate makers with some very welcome samples. After our visit it was back to the boat  and we soon came to Kings Norton junction where we would turn through the guillotine locks and join the Stratford on Avon canal. We made good progress with clear passage through the Brandwood tunnel. Our moorings this evening are at Earlswood. Last but not least no rain today, glorious sunshine all day.

Today 11 miles      2 tunnels

Cadbury World

old toll house Kings Norton junction

Guillotine lock Stratford and Avon Canal entrance




July 4th 2012 Into Birmingham

The moorings at Minworth were ok apart from the visit around 7pm of a youth on a motor bike who ripped up the tow path at brake neck speed, not once but twice covering the boat with mud as he did so. It was an ealy start today as we set off for Birmingham. It was raining by the time we got to the first lock of the day and carried on raining for most of the morning. Progress was reasonable considering the number of locks between us and our destination. There would be a total of 27 locks to go through before we reached Birmingham city centre. The locks were interesting in the later stages as they were under roads and buildings. As we neared the the last of the locks the lockie appeared, bit late thought I. We have moored just passed gas street basin thanks to Ian and Irene of NB Free Spirit for their mooring info.We  have had a nice walk around the city and very pleasant it is too.

Today 9 miles    27 locks

Our left turn under the M6

locks under buildings in Birmingham

Shell Bell (2nd boat) moored in Birmingham

July 3rd 2012 New waters

We pulled away this morning at around 09:30 in overcast but dry, warm conditions. It was a steady journey down to Fazeley Junction. We used the service block at Peel’s Wharf before once again setting off. Soon it was time to leave the Coventry canal and turn right and head off down the Birmingham and Fazeley canal. By early afternoon the rain returned with several showers  making an appearance as we made our way through the 11 Cudworth locks the short tunnel. It was still raining when we moored for the night at Minworth.

Today   13 miles        11 locks       1 tunnel

Turning down the Birmingham and Fazeley


ornate footbridge over the canal


July 2nd 2012 On the Coventry

A slow start this morning saw us pulling the pins and leaving Shobnall just after 10:00am. First stop was at Shobnall Marina for diesel, this has just re-opened after the previous people closed down. Must say the staff were excellent, very helpful and efficient and they let you self declare. With the tank topped up we made for Fradley Junction. We had only been going for about an hour and the rain came and basically stayed around all day. We stopped for lunch in Alrewas then it was back on the move to Fradley Junction. The canal was reasonably quiet with only the odd boat on the move. Once through the third lock at Fradley we turned left and headed off along the Coventry canal. We have moored at Whittington and the rain has stopped but for how long I wonder?

Today  13 miles       10 locks

July 1st 2012 Back on the move

What a pleasant start we had today we left Suffolk around 10:30am although windy it was bright and warm, we had a good run up the traffic was light but by the time we got to  Mercia Marina around three hours later it was raining. We soon emptied the car and had everything onboard, with the weather improving we decided to set off this evening so at 17:30 we backed Shell Bell off her pontoon mooring and made our way out off the marina the wind was a bit of a pain but at least the sun was shinning. We decided that we would moor at Shobnall and it was around a two hour trip, arriving just in time to watch the European football final.

Today  6 miles       1 lock

moored at Shobnall

June 29th It has been awhile

As the title suggests it has been a while since our last blog. It’s been a sad time in the Parker household with the death of our daughter in law after a year long battle with her illness. Shell bell has been in for a paint job and although there is still a bit to finish off. The cream coach lines and the name have yet to be added.We are getting ready to go back on board Sunday and head off on Monday in the general direction of Stratford on Avon. It will be a short trip around a couple off weeks.

Shell Bell before her new paint jo

Shell Bell before her paint job










Shell Bell in her new colours

Shell Bell in her new colours

May 7th 2012 Home Base

It was a fairly nice morning as we set off a little after 8am but the forecast said rain later (what a surprise).There boats already on the move and we went into Fradley top lock as one came out a good start. the next two locks would be the same what a good start alas there was nothing coming up the last two locks. In all it was quite a quick passage through the Fradley Locks, and soon we were gently going passed the line of permanent moorings one of which is held by another bloggers boat NB Waterlily there is a link to his site on the left of our home page. Just passed Waterlily another familiar boat came into view it was Living in Sanity Again with Sheila at the helm and Bruce walking between the locks a quick shouted greeting and all to soon we were passed(there is also a link to there blog site as well). It was a steady day with company at most of the locks.The rain did make an appearance after lunch but wasn’t heavy. We eventually arrived back in Mercia Marina around 4pm and set about tidying the boat and stowing stuff away as we plan to return to Suffolk for about a month in which time Shell Bell will be painted but more about that later.

Water Lily at her moorings

These two were taking bread from my hand whilst I was locking down

May 6th 2012 Who said it was quiet

Yesterday I blogged how quiet it was with not many boats on the move. Well today made up for that. Boats round every corner and queues at some of the locks with all the usual banter. It was a nice sunny day as we left Stone and set of on what would be a long day as our destination was Fradley Junction. At the first lock of the day the mile marker indicted that we were at the half way point of the Trent and Mersey canal. At Haywood Junction we passed the book boat plying its trade and there were plenty of people around so hopefully sales were good. We have moored between woods end lock and the Fradley top lock tonight. Tomorrow should see us back in Mercia Marina and we plan to travel back to Suffolk on Tuesday.

Today  23 miles     8 locks

Half way point on the Trent and Mersey

The book boat

May 5th 2012 Harecastle and Beyond

Starting today at 8am our first lock was within a hundred yards so it didn’t take long. A quick stop at the Red Bull service block to top the water tank etc. and we were off to transit the next three locks that would see us pass the Macclesfield canal turn and head for the Harecastle tunnel. On arrival at the tunnel the tunnel keeper asked us to moor as we would have a wait of about 45 minutes. The tunnel keeper gave us our brief about what action to take if we had problems in the tunnel and also asked us to take a parcel to the tunnel keeper at the southern portal (other end). After a boat came through we were given the go ahead to go through the tunnel. It took just a shade over 30 mins to transit the tunnel and of course hand over the package to the grateful tunnel keeper. Once clear of the tunnel we made our way through Stoke.  It has been noticably quiet with very few boats on the move, even the tunnel keeper said they were over 50% down on the amount of boats going through the tunnel. Being Saturday we did encounter some hire boats around Stoke. We carried on south and cleared the locks in Stone and moored on the outskirts.

Entrance to the Harecastle tunnel

how cute

Is this the smallest Narrowboat or do you know better

May 4th 2012 Heartbreak Hill

Wow it was cold this morning ,My first job was to check my crayfish trap which i had set last night, i never got any crayfish but i did have a nice haul of sand gudgeon and roach all returned safely. Next job was to check the engine oil and water levels.  But we had to get going as today we would  do 24 locks on our way to Kidsgrove. This stretch of locks is known as heartbreak hill most are paired locks (two locks side by side) and are reasonably spread out over what would be a distance of about 7 miles. All in all it wasn’t too bad and we made reasonable time even stopping on route for lunch and have moored in Kidsgrove between lock 44 and 45. So tomorrow we have four locks to complete heartbreak hill and then through the Harecastle tunnel. Our current Plan should have us back in Mercia Marina on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Today  7 miles   24 locks

What no Crayfish

Paired locks