Friday, 9 March 2018

The marina Friday 9 March 2018

After the afternoon rain the evening was quite clear with a star light night. being clear the temperature actually dropped down well below zero in the early hours of the morning.

It was about half ten when we set off in the sunshine, the wind had died away to nothing overnight. and we made our way back to the marina. We only met two boats on the way, one at a bridge hole and one by a fallen tree, in both cases they gave way to us and waved me through. An hour and a half later we were backing into our mooring spot, again not the best of timing because just as I was turning inside the marina entrance anther boat entered the marina and had to it and wait in the entrance until I sorted my self out, space is a bit tight for turning at the end of the pontoons.

Once we were packed up we set off down the M6 as far as junction 2 where we turned off to Bascote. We are spending the night at the Old Toll House at the top of the Bascote Locks..

Today's Journeymap 19 4½ miles in 1½hours

Our total for this trip has be 50 locks and a 140 milesIMG_0241

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Middlewich Thursday 8 March 2018

As we didn't have that far to go today we waited until the rain stopped about 11 before setting off. First stop Anderton services to fill with water and dump recycling. Lee and Roberta were there on Halsall, they had just loaded with coal and were getting ready to set off.

Once we had filled up we were away and a couple of hours later I was reversing into our berth. The reason for returning was not to go home, but to do an oil and filter change, at the same time I also top up the 4 T105 6volt batteries, they take anything up to 1½ Lts of water each time. We had lunch before I started just to let the engine cool a bit but still be warm to make the oil easy to pump out.

Once that was all done we moved the car a bit and put some items not required on board in the boot. Then it was back out on the cut, turning right and heading to Middlewich, it ended a bit damp with a rainbow. Once you are past Whatcroft Flash the next winding point is just below Big Lock and most conveniently there are moorings just beside it, so that is where we have moored for the night, tomorrow morning we have to retrace our steps to the marina and drive to Napton. But more on that tomorrow night.

Today's Journeymap 18 9½ miles in 3½ hours

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Anderton Wednesday 7 March 2018

A rather unusual alarm woke me early this morning, it was Curlews calling to each other, I wandered down to look out of the side hatch and there was a flock of about 20 using the offside field by the canal. Being early it did mean I went back to sleep so not an early start.

We finally pushed of at 11 am. in the sunshine as you can see by this view of Fiddlers Ferry Power Station.DSCF0406

A little further on and the new Runcorn Mersey Gateway bridge towers come into view, unfortunately you cant see the deck, just the towers.DSCF0407We arrived at Preston Brook Tunnel in good time, transited in this direction is between half past the hour and twenty to so we went through at 1230 after eating an early lunch. The tunnel suffered a collapse in November 1981 and was closed for over 3 years while repairs were carried out. While I transited the tunnel Diana walked over the top. The collapsed section is quite close to the half way point and has been repaired with concrete and not brick, evenDSCF0412though the tunnel is a listed structure. and all the rest of it is lined in red brick.DSCF0415

As I traversed the tunnel a boat entered behind me. I exited the tunnel a few seconds before Diana appeared and she met me at Dutton Lock, as I suspected on the way out, two of us could open the top gate without drawing a paddle, there was only a couple of inches level difference across the lock, even so I walked back and drew the paddle for the following boat.

As we approached the Black Prince hire base at Bartington they had just started to move boats about and one was lying across the canal, however they soon had the inside one away and the other one back against the bank, this was followed by lots of apologies and thanks for our patience waiting. We were now travelling and watching the clock, the transit time for Saltersford tunnel was half past to quarter to the hour, it looked as if we would do it comfortably. Then our next delay, at the last bridge before the tunnel was Halsall's bows and they weren't moving. Lee hopped off with a pole and got the stern out and she levelled up but still noDSCF0417visible progress. I offered a snatch but Lee felt she could be coming free so I pulled back out of the way, slowly there was movement and se was away and this was a very lightly loaded boat, good job they didn't have 15 ton of coal on. We arrived at the tunnel mouth at 28 minutes past two and again Diana decided to walk over. By now Nb.Solong had caught us up and I got quite a nice photo of her coming into the tunnel behind us.DSCF0421

Between Saltersford Tunnel and Barton Tunnel a mother was out with her child and dogs, I don't think I have ever seen a Spaniel get so close to the ground as this one did. He had his eye on a stick.DSCF0423 No time constraints on Barton, just make sure there is no one coming the other way which is not easy as there is a bend at each end of the tunnel, so your bows are in the tunnel before you can see the other end. We carried on in the sunshine to moor outside the Anderton Lift Visitor Centre. The ex tar boat Tay was in theDSCF0424 waiting area to go down to the Weaver, I asked if they were going in the morning, but it turned out they should have gone at mid day, but the lift is broken.DSCF0426

Today's Journey map 1710 Miles, 3 tunnels in 3½ hours.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Moore Tuesday 6 March 2018

Well after visiting the Charity Shop and the recycling bin not only is the boat lighter but we finally got away at 11am, still heading east. On the edge of Lymm there is a dog agility ground, it looks as if its also used for mass dog exercise, there were a different set of dogs on our return.DSCF0376

Lymm St Peters Church has a very interesting spire so please click the smaller photos for a closer look.

 DSCF0396 DSCF0398 

The day was a bit overcast but no rain, unlike last night, good job we hadn't planned to go out to eat.

Just beyond Burford Underbridge (not aqueduct) there is an old canal side building that stands right on the waters edge, the west end looks to be a house, I do wonder if they suffer with damp.DSCF0383

They also have a fine display of snowdrop drifts along the road side.DSCF0389

Quite close to Oughtrington Lane there is a yard that has a few manikins and woodcarvings, there is a new carving since we wereDSCF0380 this way last, the van parked behind it is quite impressive as well.DSCF0395

When we left the moorings in Lymm this morning we were the only boat there, when we returned there were 4. We carried on travelling west with just a very brief stop at Thorne Marine to pick up another brass label showing where the diesel isolation valves are.

We had planned to stop for the night in Moore as there actually some mooring rings there but as its right against the road we carried on for a bit stopping before we reached the science park.

Today's Journey map 1614 miles in 4½ hours.

Monday, 5 March 2018

Lymm Monday 5 March 2018

We set off this morning at about quarter past ten so that we arrived at Preston Brook tunnel on the hour, Although we have not had an air frost for about 3 days it was still cold enough overnight for the floating ice to freeze together into one lump.DSCF0368

CRT have been along this section of canal cutting back the off side vegetation which is good. DSCF0369

Dutton lock was against us but its the smallest head I have ever seen across the gates, I am sure two of us could have pushed the gates open each end, once through the lock I continued on slowly towards the tunnel mouth while Diana walked to the tunnel to look through and reported there was a boat coming through so we held back, it was five minutes to eleven so I think he may have been a couple of minutes late entering as it took us twelve minutes to transit the tunnel without hurrying. its the straightest of the three on this stretch and you can clearly see end to end.

The weather felt much warmer as we came out onto the Bridgewater Canal, or CRT Licence entitles us to spend up to 7 days on the Bridgewater without buying a licence, but once we leave we must not return for 4 weeks which I think is fair. Claymoore Navigation like most hire companies have their boats all back at base (except one in Dutton Dry Dock) so are moored over quite a bit of the canal, but still plenty of space to get through.DSCF0370

We passed our first fishing match of the year, it was a little after mid day and they had been at it since 10am and it was still a dead heat, no one had caught anything. One of the chaps said to me he had mentioned to his mate they would see someone daft as them out in the cold and we had just come by. To the very last man they were a friendly bunch.DSCF0371

Some dogs just cant resist picking up and carrying sticks, this one had half a tree and it didn't just walk along the towpath with it, it kept shooting off down the bank through the trees, but it didn't drop it.DSCF0372

We have used more diesel than normal due to running the diesel heating higher in this cold weather, also we haven't moved for 4 or 5 days due to ice so less engine hours so more diesel use per engine hour run, because of this I decided to stop at Thorn Marine and fill up, we also filled with water and bought a couple of engraved brass notices while we were there. As the water tap is on their meter and not a Peal Holdings tap they make a charge of £1 for half an hours use of the tap to fill a boats tank with water.

I was rather taken by this garden seat, its only big enough for one but I think it is carved out of one length of tree trunk, I hate to think what it must have cost to buy. As you can see its the prow of a Viking Long Boat.DSCF0374

We pushed on to our planned mooring for the night at Lymn, there is only one other boat here, unlike when we have been in the summer months and its been full. More shops have closed since we were here last, one of them being Rolando’s Gelato shop which is a shame.

Today's Journey map 1412½ Miles, 1 Lock in 4¼ hours

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Dutton Sunday 4 March 2018

Last night we wandered up to the Stanley Arms to eat and were very lucky to get the last available table. What a difference to last time when the chef had gone home and we had to order a take a way. The place is really buzzing again so worth a visit.

This morning we woke to the rain but it didn't last long, off to the Anderton Lift for cooked breakfast again and again got talking to Ted, we later found out that he and his late wife were instrumental in saving the lift and taking the petition to 10 Downing Street followed by fund raising. We looked for the notice that listed the people and organisations that supported the restoration financially but couldn't find it anywhere. We were lucky as Ted told us that Dave who was wandering around outside with a lifejacket on was the chap that took people to the top of the lift and he was doing trips up there today. It turned out Dave was very flexible on his timing. The first trip was 10 30 and it was already quarter to eleven, so we booked on the 12 30 and went at quarter past eleven.

It was a tad chilly up there with the double helical gears commonly known as Citroën  Gears, as André-Gustave Citroën held the Patent on them. I won't go into the workings and history of the lift because you can look that up if you are interested, I will just post a few photographs of the visit. Please click them to enlarge them.


Aqueduct full of


Looking down on the casons

DSCF0355 looking back to the aqueduct

 DSCF0356View from the old control cabin

DSCF0359gate lifting winches

DSCF0360redundant lifting gears

 DSCF0363 Caissons lifting motor

 DSCF0362Bevel Gears

 DSCF0367The lift

DSCF0365At quarter past two we decided to set sail, the sun was trying to come out and the temperature up to 6°C The ice was well broken with lots of open water, what was there was still about 15 to 20mm thick, so if it hadn't been broken I wouldn't have set off. We arrived at Saltersford Tunnel spot on 3pm and west bound traffic has to enter the tunnel between the hour and quarter past, so it was straight through, well not straight because it a wiggly tunnel. We carried on west to the site of the Dutton breach that occurred in 2012. there are several videos of this on the internet.

We had just moored up and it started raining heavily for about 10 minutes, if it stays like this the ice should be well rotten by tomorrow.

Today's Journeymap 13 4¾ Miles in 1¾ hours

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Anderton Saturday 3 March 2018

The temperature didn't drop to below freezing until first light this morning, but it was still enough to ice the canal over again. We would like to head onto the Bridgewater canal but there have been no boats come from that direction yet so I expect there will still be thick ice in lots of places.

A cooked breakfast today at the Anderton Lift Visitor Centre and we thought it good value, sausage, fried egg, bacon, hash brown , beans, 2 rounds of toast and 2 large filter coffees for just £6.35 each rounded off with a chat with an 82 year old volunteer who lived on a boat for many years.

As the day progressed it got warmer and the forecast shows it as being the last of the frost in this area but next week before it warms up by any great degree.

After lunch we decided to go for a short walk along the canal towards the Bridgewater canal to see the state of the ice. The Lift Basin has started to thaw so maybe that will be open Monday for boaters stuck on the river.DSCF0336

Just the other side of the lift the Candy Boat is moored and open for business, we did help by buying 3 types of fudge and we have seen a few kids wandering round with bags of sweets.DSCF0337

The ice been broken by a boat coming through at some point so we should be OK to move tomorrow afternoon until we hit virgin ice again which could be anywhere. Looking down to one of the industrial units on the estate I spotted this old Living Wagon,DSCF0340 I hope that it is being restored and not broken up. A little further along is an interpretation board giving some information about Barnton and the Trent and Mersey Canal. Please click to enlarge it.DSCF0341

We walked over the top of Barnton tunnel, I suspect that the eastern end was constructed by the cut and fill method as the land directly above the tunnel forms quite a valley, you can see oneDSCF0342 of the two air shafts in the photograph, but from the second air shaft to the west end the land follows the normal contour and there is no trace of any earth works. also the air shafts are of a different construction design.

Once we had passed the end of the tunnel we took the lane down to the River Weaver and walked back along the river bank, we didn't realise how far the river looped out. A short way along the towpath there are two rather heave lengths of chain just popping out of the ground.

DSCF0343   DSCF0344

We carried on walking and came across this mile post, I hadn't spotted any posts from the water when we have cruised the river and they are quite large.DSCF0345

There is now next to nothing left of the old soda works that use to be on the far bank, when the piles of spoil have been removed there will just be the remains of the yellow supports for theDSCF0349 riverside frontage of the works, so much different to our first trip on the river when they were removing the very first sheets of cladding.

We stayed on the river bank until we got to the Winnington Swing Bridge where we crossed the road and followed a footpath back to the Trent and Mersey canal through all the wild garlic and then back to the boat.

Today's Walk 3¾ miles on foot