Badger at Ellesmere Port Easter 2013

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Towing a Block of Flats

Thanks to a recommendation from my old friend Brian McGuigan, I recently got a job towing a block of flats from Macclesfield to Marple. Just to make matters more interesting, we tied the owner's GRP cruiser on the back to complete the convoy. The whole move took half as long again as a normal tow thanks to the square pontoon shape of the houseboat.

Revenge is sweet! I got a phone call from the houseboat owner yesterday asking for another tow from the bottom of Marple to Portland Basin. I knew Brian was going that way today so I persuaded him to do the job!
(The photo shows my arrival at the top of Marple with the convoy in tow.)

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Back to Work

Following five and a half weeks away at the Braunston show, combined with a trip to London, the Thames and Oxford, on return to the Peak Forest it was straight back to work with a tow for CAVALIER from Marple to Furness Vale dry dock for repairs to a broken rudder.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Etruria 2010

Sandbach attended the Etruria Canals Festival on 3rd-5th June. Other working boats present included Alton, Daphne, Darley, Ibex, Skylark, Towy and the modern, but no less a working boat, Stokie.

Daphne was having engine trouble so was towed by Sandbach from Kidsgrove to Etruria, where temporary repairs were effected. "Just in case", Daphne was towed northwards back through the tunnel . To round off a good weekend, Sandbach assisted both Towy and Alton who found themselves well stemmed up in modern canal conditions.

Photo shows Sandbach emerging from Harecastle Tunnel south portal towing Daphne. (Photo by Brian McGuigan)

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Black Country Living Museum

We have just returned from a trip to the museum to attend the bi-annual tug gathering. Some 16 tugs attended and given the low number of original tugs around this was quite a creditable score. It was good to renew the acquaintance of some tugmen I knew from my Alton days as well as meeting new faces in my new world of "little" boats. The top photo shows Sandbach in the museum arm and the lower photo is at the top of the Wolverhamton 21.

Monday, 15 March 2010

I have a couple of interesting photos of how Sandbach used to look when first built in 1946. Then she was 25ft long but she must have proved impossible to steer as in less than 12 months she was sent back to Yarwoods to have an extra 10ft inserted.

The top photo shows her sister BEESTON on the bank at Ellesmere Port museum awaiting restoration (copyright Brian McGuigan)

The lower photo shows her as first built (copyright Cheshire CC,County Record Office, DDX 289).

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Refit Update

The photo alongside gives an idea of the new look Sandbach will have with the two front windows eliminated. Work is progressing steadily and all should be ready for a visit to the Port at Easter.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

HNBOC AGM and New Can

Yesterday (Sat 6th March), I went with Irene to Braunston to attend the AGM of HNBOC. As good luck would have it, my new Buckby can by Terence was ready at the same time. As Terence now lives in Braunston collection was easy. I am well pleased with the end result but I now have the dilemma I use it on the boat and get it chipped and scratched or should it live in cotton wool at home.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

SANDBACH is currently in dock at the Ashton Packet Boat Company at Droylsden. The scene is like an old railway yard! SANDBACH is ex LMS. Alongside is the ex LNER maintenance boat JOEL and behind is the oldest canal boat in the country, MARIA, which is ex MS&L (Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway).
Having had a few years on working boats with a bucket and bowl for a shower etc I have decided on a bit of comfort with SANDBACH. The rudimentary shower already fitted has been replaced with a proper job. I am fitting gas so I can have cooking in summer without the stove being lit. I have also removed two small windows in the front deckhead which, in my opinion, spoiled her tug appearance. Being a tug, you can get away with the internal fittings that would spoil a full length unconverted working boat.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Annual docking

Sandbach is currently docked at Ashton Packet Boat Company, Droylsden having a partial refit. This is expected to take another three weeks.