Moored between “Hells Kitchen Bridge” and “Murder Bridge”. Am I insane? #narrowboat #boating #boatsthattweet

I tried again this morning (to move) – and succeeded.

Set off at oh-six of the day and for the first couple of hours the temperature was quite comfortable. Mind you, I then had to cruise some nine miles in search of a mooring…

The weather is being political again – promising much but delivering little, and none of that little being anything that anyone wants. The temperature hereabouts overnight tonight is forecast to stay all night in the mid seventies Fahrengezundheitings (23 or 24° Celsiums). Ugh. The much-vaunted “damned good thunder and lightning storm” that had been on the forecast has now been removed, and replaced with what we got, which was thick grey overcast skies and humidity. England is not well…

Found a mooring (eventually, lead image, top of page) that is slightly more bucolic than we’ve been used to hitherto. That’s Bramble Cuttings in the background, where I spent a tickettyboo couple of days when cruising in das direction towards the Anderton Boat Lift. On that occasion I noticed a couple of boats moored here and decided that it was worth investigating when next I passed this way – and sure enough, I found magic mooring rings.

Mooring rings on the canal – quite literally iron rings that some kind soul has seen fit to generously sink into concrete on the towpath, so all that a weary boater need do is to loop his rope through and Bob’s yer aunty.

There are many ways to tie up a boat on the canals, but within these there is a hierarchy.

Mooring rings is best and most convenient, quickest to tie up to and quickest to loose when ready for the off. They do have disadvantages though, in that they are placed by the powers that be in strict accordance with Sod’s Law. Sod’s Law states, in these matters (as well as many others), that there will almost never be two rings placed to match the length of your boat.

Next besten is armco and chains…

In these parts (around Cheshire) if the canal edge is of concrete then it llikely sports an underwater shelf making mooring a pain in the stern. If tis edged with armco then the chances are that it is civilised, and sports no such underwater obstruction. Plus, a chap can loop goat chains around the armco and tie his ropes to those, thus going nowhere fast.

Least favouriten of all (for me, at least, there’s no accounting for the weirdness of others), is pins…

Pins. Heavy pins of steel about 70cms long, banged into the soggy towpath and the ropes tied to them. Here the towpath really was soggy in extremis, so I’ve doubled up on the pins AND doubled up on the ropes. If not actually pulled free they do tend to loosen as other boats pass and create a wash, however polite they may be.

Here though, no such confoundications…

Magic Mooring Rings. Pure luxury with an iron & concrete motif, just like my face.

Oik up, fling a bit of hairy string through the loops and then attach an “anti-jogger” “anti-velocipedist” strip of hi-vis reflective yellow “look out you idiot, there’s a mooring ring and rope here” material to the business end. Job’s a good’un. Notice that Sod’s Law (As Applied To Mooring Rings) means that my nine metre rope will only stretch there and back once, as opposed to my preferred there and back twice. No matter.

The cruise here this morning – once I’d performed my domestic nonsenses at the service area (waters, wotnots and rubbish) – was a hoot. Initially quiet because of the hour (as planned, there’s a reason why I set off at sparrowcough o’clock in summer) the canal became much busier as time ticked by.

Sometimes getting a long, non-bendy narrowboat around a corner is fun – they drive and steer from the rear, like fork-lift trucks, but pivot from a point about one third of the way back from the bow. A lot of time the “sides” of the canal are too shallow to use, and so must be avoided during one’s manoeuvres. With overhanging trees to slap one in the face it is also an exercise in much duckery-divery.

A lot of the canal isn’t wide enough to have a right side or a wrong side, you’re just lucky to have enough water to float on in the middle of the channel. Where the canal was wide enough, of course, I met not one but two boats on separate occasions steaming full throttle around a bend on the “wrong” side – “my” side. Narrowboats don’t have brakes, you have to rely on reverse – and that only works if there’s a decent amount of water under the prop (otherwise there’s little to no water for the prop to throw about, forward or back).

There are wide bits too though, and some superb moorings on those – including one this morning that was available. I didn’t take it – there were three other boats moored on that little stretch and two of them were playing banjo music. The third one sported a chap with hair and a beard and an unwashed look that wouldn’t have been out of place in a display at the Natural History Museum (no judgement, just sayin’) but he also just looked and didn’t respond in any other (more usual) way to my cheery wave and my ‘Air hair lair splendid morning isn’t it?’, simply standing on his boat and watching me, intently. I then aborted my “Land Ho” procedure and cruised on…

Some beautiful moorings in this stretch (just around – quelle surprise – this bend), but also much banjo music and “Deliverance” vibes…

Still, twas all to the good, in that we arrived here at an hour when the previous occupant had probably not long since moved off, and here we’ll stay. There’s even an interwebnetting signal, wonder of wonders.

The bridge up ahead, around the bend that we’re facing, is called “Hell’s Kitchen Bridge“.

No idea why, but I’ll keep an eye on it and let you know what sort of meals are sent back and forth across it.

Which sort of reminds me. It’s overly-warm and as humid as a Turkish wrestler’s posing pouch – ought I to whip myself up some sort of minor curry for dinner?

What could possibly go wrong?

The bridge we’ve just come through is encouragingly called “Murder Bridge“.

Bramble Cuttings sits between the two, as will the Cardinal and I for a while now.

You do have to wonder about this neighbourhood. Other bridges are known by names such as “Flint Mill Bridge” and “Bridgey McBridgeFace”. What the heck am I doing mooring up between Hell’s Kitchen Bridge and Murder Bridge?

If someone with a faster and more data-free-for-all interwebnet connection than I could please to do some research and see what I’ve moored myself into, much obliged would be…


Right, I said curry and curry it will be. Rice, veggies, curry, just the thing for a hot and humid nonsense. Take that, you damnable weather.


Ian H., now with extra “moved on” and a dash of “moored somewhere else again”.


  1. The names do seem a bit too violent for such a peaceful pastoral setting. It’ might be foreshadowing. You need to carry around garlic and Holy Water I believe. Anyway that’s what the movies have taught me. Foreshadowing, Someone stupid dying, then Garlic and Holy Water.

    I don’t see why that wouldn’t be a applicable to real life.


  2. There’s something appealing about that particular stretch that I find quite inspiring ever since the picture of you sitting outside reading and eating your pasta next to that particularly ‘charming’ copse of trees (nearly typed corpse of trees there for a minute!) I could sit there and write with all kinds of imaginings!


Comments are closed.