Ok so we woke to rain again, its getting bit of a habit. We pushed off spot on 10 am for the few minutes journey round to the life. When we arrived there was a boat waiting so we moored behind them and I went up to the office to book our passage, again I was only just in time for the 1045 trip.The volunteer doing the bookings took my name and was able to pull up all my details from when we came down, she just had to make sure she had the right Holt, it seems there have been 4 of us use the lift since the new computer system was installed. Back down on the moorings the loading master was waiting for me.
On my return from the office I noticed a working boat moored below the lift, this turned out to be the horse boat Saturn showing groups of school children round. You can see the boat we are sharing with already in the caisson.
Once at the top we let the other boat leave first, regardless of which way you are going you have to turn right onto the Trent and Mersey canal and then if you want to go north, like us you have to wind almost in front of the visitor centre. I expected the hire boat to carry on to the right back to Middlewich, but he winded and also went north.
We both had a clear run at Barnton Tunnel, its a little bit wiggly so you have to take care looking through before you enter. Although this tunnel is only 572 yards long it has two air vents in the roof, up above ground these stand quite tall, so the roof of the tunnel must be quite close to the surface at that point. As we reached the far end of the tunnel there were 3 boats waiting to come in from the other way.
Its only a short run from here to Saltersford tunnel, again a narrow and twisty tunnel, this time its almost impossible to see through so boats pass through on a time system. Boats going north can enter the tunnel anytime in the first 20 minutes past the hour where as boats coming south can only enter between half past and ten to the hour. This gives a 10 minute window for boats to clear the tunnel before anyone comes the other way. We had to wait behind the hire boat for about 15 minutes so the three boats we met must have entered as soon as it was their time. There are bollards to tie to to wait but most of the bank has fallen in so there is only room for 1 to tie up, so we just bobbed about. At 12 o’clock the hire boat invited us top go first while he untied.
At the far end there was just one boat waiting for 1230 so they could come through, I think the passage took us about 5 minutes so the 10 minute window should be more than adequate. We carried on along the Trent and Mersey as far as Dutton Stop Lock where we winded to come back, this would have been easier if there had not been a boat moored opposite the winding hole. The boat yard between the winding hole and the stop lock looks a picture, some one with a pride in their property.
I couldn’t quite work out where the recent breach was, we passed this notice at the winding hole so assumed the breach must have been south of this point but there were no obvious signs of any work being carried out.
We retraced our steps hoping to moor near Acton Bridge but north of the bridge is private moorings and to the south its CRT long term moorings all the way to bridge 208 even though there is only one boat moored there at the moment. We have moored just to the south of bridge 208 and I have just been out and retrieved the pins and put double ones in. The disappointing thing for me was the first boat pulled the pins, well the ground is like a sponge, but the second one who obviously new we were drifting just carried on without even looking back. I would have stopped to re-moor any boat I found drifting about, luckily we were onboard.