Mid-Week Runs

Parkgate Chippy Run - Tuesday 30th April

Stephen will be leading this years run from Oakmere Shell petrol station. Leaving at 10.45am and heading to Ellesmere Port to the BMW garage for a brew and then up the Wirral to Parkgate for fish and chips on the front. Just a social run - come on any bike.

A report may appear here later!

Tuesday 23rd April - Sleap Airfield

Rob Randall sent in this report about our 3rd Mid-week run this year.

We started the day at J & S Motorcycles, a group of 5 gathered for a pre ride cuppa, though have to say the breakfast did look very tempting.

Bernie led the way to Sleap which proved to be a very pleasant ride, Rob thought his Honda CX500 might hold back all the bigger bikes but for his real first trip out on the Honda all went very well.

We enjoyed as usual an excellent lunch at Sleap and enjoyed the sun waiting for the Chinese Flagged Russian small aircraft to take off but despite watching the many visits from the mechanical boys topping up with various different Lubrication bottles take off time was outside our time frame.

Ellesmere was not too busy so parking was easy enough for us all on the main road but disappointment loomed as we discovered the ice cream kiosk was closed so we had to settle for coffee and cake sat over looking the lake.

Rob led the way back home via Bangor on Dee, an excellent day out before the forecast rains of the next few days.

Tuesday 16th April - Visit to the Daniel Adamson

The Cheshire Cats get up close and personal with the Danny.

Theo Alberda reports.

For some time now the Cheshire Cats have been planning a midweek ride out that would take in a visit to the steam tug Daniel Adamson. This old “boat” and its history really intrigued our club members. As luck would have it one of our members has a good friend who was one of the strong contingents of dedicated volunteers keeping the Danny in pristine condition. The friend was approached, and the wheels put in motion for an exclusive visit by the Cheshire Cats Section of the VMCC motorcycle club. The date was set for Tuesday 16 April 2019. A beautiful day dawned and a contingent of sixteen riders gathered at the “Cock of Budworth” pub for the ride out to the “Danny”. So, what’s the attraction?

Let’s start with a brief history;

  • The Daniel Adamson affectionally known as the “Danny” was constructed, and named, as the RALPH BROCKLEBANK in 1903. She was intended to tow barges between Ellesmere Port and Liverpool. In addition, she was able to carry some passengers and the then owners provided scheduled river crossings which continued until 1915.
  • From 1915 until 1921 she only operated as a tug. At this time, she was sold to the Manchester Ship Canal Company who used her primarily as a tug but also re-introduced a passenger carrying service.
  • In 1936 the passenger accommodation was also upgraded, with the interior being furnished in wood laminates and light fittings in the then contemporary art-deco style. Following this refit, the vessel was renamed “DANIEL ADAMSON” in honour of the Manchester Ship Canal Company’s first chairman.
  • From 1936 to 1984, DANIEL ADAMSON operated both as a tug and as the company directors’ inspection vessel as well as a venue for corporate hospitality functions.
  • In 1986, removed from service, she was berthed at the Ellesmere Port boat museum.
  • By early 2004, after years of vandalism, the decision was taken to scrap her. Luckily, Dan Cross a local tug skipper, stepped in and managed to purchase the vessel for a nominal fee. The Daniel Adamson Preservation Society was formed. The vessel was towed from Ellesmere Port to Liverpool, where she was dry docked and the hull surveyed, grit blasted and painted enabling her to gain a 5-year seaworthiness certificate.
  • Clearly a lot of money would be needed for the completion of the restoration work and several grants materialised that kept the project afloat. In 2012 the Heritage Lottery Fund approved a first-round pass for a £3m bid, including development funding of £37,300.
  • Dec 2017. The Daniel Adamson Steam Ship was presented with the Engineering Heritage Award by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers

For historical interest the old tug possesses a Scotch manufactured boiler, similar in design to that which was fitted to the Titanic (although it had some 29 boilers!), a double acting compound two cylinder steam engine (one for each of the two 4.5 ft propellers) as well as several generators, all lovingly restored.

The magnificent lounge and staircase were restored to the original art-deco style of the day. The chairs were exact replicas made from a lone survivor chair located somewhere in the area. The small tables, with the swivel ashtrays, also had to be replicated. These were manufactured by local craftsmen – and who said these skills were lost!

For the tug to get the required certification it had to be fitted with the latest navigation and safety equipment.

Our visit coincided with a maintenance day. Everywhere you looked there were these dedicated volunteers carrying out planned work such as painting, boiler and engine maintenance. Despite their very busy schedule they made time to show us around. Initially the boiler was not available to be viewed as some platework had to be reinstalled. The engineers made every effort to get these plates back in place and by mid-day we were escorted through the boiler and engine rooms in small groups.

Our man Ross, on the bridge, in front of the modern navigation console. Some of the club’s motorcycles can be seen parked in the background.

Bob Cannell, the DAPS Steward Co-Ordinator, is standing on the stairs giving a welcome address and some history.

The upper deck of the lounge was also restored in that magnificent art deco style.

One of the engines. The piston rod can be seen in the foreground. Just look at how beautifully maintained everything is. Mike Griffiths looks on.

And, while we were enjoying the tours of the Danny, unbeknown to us, the volunteers were scrutinising our motorcycles in the parking area. After careful consideration it was a unanimous decision that Bob Moon’s 1937 Gilera was best machine on the day for which he was presented a Danny cap.

Bob Cannell presents Bob Moon with a cap of the Danny for the best machine on the day. It was strongly rumoured that the black 1957 Heinkel scooter came a close second.

The Cheshire Cats lads were most impressed by the dedication of the volunteers without whom the privilege of viewing and sailing on her would be lost forever. For the immediate future the “Danny” will be moored at locations on the river Weaver and open to the public for viewing on selected days. They also offer cruises within the Weaver waterway at a reasonable charge, the proceeds going to the upkeep of the vessel. Our club is now working on arranging a day trip made up of its members.

Mention must be made of the “Danny” volunteers who fitted us in and around their heavy maintenance schedule. The club wish to thank John Huxley for all his efforts in making this memorable day happen. Thanks also to Bob Cannell for accommodating us on the day. Worthy of mention is that John Huxley’s involvement with the Danny goes back many years when, as a young apprentice, as he was involved with a refit in 1953.

Till the Next time – the “Danny” has not seen the last of the Cheshire Cats!

Friday 29th March - Bala/Vrnwy

Lake Vrnwy and Bala.

Friday 29thMarch, a beautiful sunny morning found Alan, Andy, Rob and Stephen at the butty cabin at the Broxton round-a-bout.

Planned ride was to Lake Vrnwy for lunch and then across country to Denbigh via Bala and Cerrigydrudion.

Stephen stayed with the group before heading back home via Bangor on Dee, we got caught up in the Go Slow driving protest for a couple of miles but managed to pick our way through the traffic, lunch outside in the sun at the dam wall on Lake Vrnwy was excellent as was the ride through The Snowdonia National Park to Bala.

Next Stop was A&D motorcycles for a cuppa and a look at the bikes on sale before heading home, a great sunny day out on the bikes with good company.

What more does a man need?

Photo below