Monday, 25 March 2019

Dutton Breach

Day : Monday
Date : 25 March 2019
Start : 1115
Finish : 1645 Dutton Breach T&M

It was 11-15 am when we set off today, Diana went for a walk to Walton Hall for a look round and I tried to book a passage through Hunts and Vale Royal locks for when we are down on the Weaver which I eventually achieved, but spoke to some very helpful people at CRT and even those who didn't know pointed me in the right direction.

I have often wondered what the large tower is at the Science Park and have come to the conclusion its nothing more than a water tower unless someone can tell me otherwise.At Waters Meeting, Preston Brook it was hard right for a run down to Runcorn, it was surprisingly cooler than on the main line for some reason. On our way to the terminus we passed this work platform, complete with outboard engine.

There is now a nice welcoming notice on the wall by the theatre encouraging boaters to stop and visit the town, we have never stop here but have stopped at the very end with no problem.

Now Runcorn has its new toll bridge spanning the Ship Canal and the Mersey, I don't think it was open last time we came down here.

There is great talk of reopening the locks from the end of the Runcorn Arm to the Ship Canal. Most of the chambers are still there and the line can be easily followed, but they were abandoned when the road was built to feed the Silver Jubilee Bridge as it crosses the top lock. It is hoped that with the new bridge this feeder will be redundant, but I cant see this happening soon as they are refurbishing the bridge at the moment.

I don't recall noticing this stone plaque on the face of Doctors Bridge when I have been down in the past depicting sailing ships in Runcorn.

Making our way back up the arm we again passed the work platform, but it had changed slightly and now has a tea room, changing room and toilet onboard, O and it wasnt tied up.

We made our way back to Waters Meeting and again turned right arrived at Preston Brook tunnel at 1525, just right for a passage on the half hour. There was already another boat waiting so it gave Diana a chance to pick a second hand book. I didn't tie up and the bows floated across the canal, boy is it shallow if you get off the line. We followed the Canaltime boat through the tunnel, about half way through I caught something on the rudder so couldn't steer, I chugged on slowly, do I struggle on or hit reverse, this may clear the rudder but it might end up in the prop. In the end I risked it and after a bit of clattering it was all free, probably a lump of sunken branch.

There was a boat waiting to enter the tunnel when we emerged and another waiting to come through Dutton lock, when we finally cleared the lock a third boat arrived heading for the tunnel just in time.

We decided to moor for the night at Dutton Breach, good job there are plenty of rings as there were 4 boats there already, but still room for one more.

Today's Journey 16½ Miles 1Lock in 5¼ hours

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Higher Walton

Day : Sunday
Date : 24 March 2019
Start : 1020
Finish : 1730 Higher Walton

We ate at Carluccio in the Trafford Centre last nigh as they are on the lower floor it was a bit quieter that the establishments on the first floor where you come in. The moorings proved to be peaceful and the first disturbance was the rowers going by at about 8 am.
We pushed off at 1020 and I called in at Stretford marina for a pump out, only to find them closed, this was after turning round and reversing down to their services.
As we approached Sale we were just thinking how quiet it all was, then we met the Sale Cruising Club out for a jolly, we met 30 of them all in convoy. As we passed the flats on the left hand side this pulley and hook had me wondering what the person who put it up was thinking.
The Bridgewater Canal Company (BCCC) are doing some work on the Sale boat club moorings, I expect the club is having to pay for it, cutting away the bank and renewing the fencing between the moorings and the tram way.
The rowing club was out in force but the ones on the water were going ahead of us and the others were still by the bank when we passed and then went north so no clashes. The Rowing club put staggered barriers across the tow path each side of the club to slow the traffic passing where that are boarding their boats. In the park next to the rowing club the miniature steam train was taking passengers round the loop.
A couple more shots of the old Linotype works, one showing the new houses going up and the other scaffolding round the old listed building still standing on site.

We didn't catch up to the rowers until they had turned round and were just starting to make their way back after a breather, they all came nicely in single file leaving me plenty of space.
We passed one of the BCCC work boats that has recently been painted up and still looking splendid.
Along this stretch is the old Massy Hall school, now a private dwelling surrounded by private, keep out signs, just to make sure they have a Lion on the lawn and Crocodiles in the pond.
We stopped for a while in Stockton Heath for tea and scones with fellow Cutweb members before setting off again to moor in the middle of nowhere at Higher Walton.
Today's Journey

18½ Miles 0 Locks in 5½ hours

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Trafford Centre

Day : Saturday
Date : 23 March 2019
Start : 1030
Finish : 1430 Trafford centre

For those that follow me in Facebook will know we went to the Chilli Club for diner last night. Its a nice airy place with good lighting and good sized portions at a fair price, but we thought the wine a bit expensive so stuck to the beer.

This morning a quick trip to town and off at 10-30 am. The canal was much quieter than yesterday and we didn't meet so many boats but we did get overtaken as we passed a long row of moored boats. We also had someone say hello and that they read the blog.
There were a couple of nice lengths of hedge laying along the off side in Oughtrington, it looks as if it may be on the common.

There was very little change with the old buildings at the Linotype
works but there are now several more new houses around the remains. I don't think there was this much scaffolding last time.
As we came onto the mile straight at Sale I could see a bunch of rowers ahead of me all over the canal, luckily they were going in
the same direction as us when they set off so we didn't catch them up.
We met a few boats before waters Meeting including a couple of day boats and a wide beam but the canal is good and wide. At Waters Meeting we turned left past the Kelloggs works, we smelt it a little earlier. There is still the remains of the arm that use to run through the factory but I can't find out how long it use to be.
We carried on to the winding hole just past the Park Way bridge where we turned and then reversed back to the Trafford Centre where we have moored for the night.

Today's Journey

12½ Miles 0 Locks in 4 hours

Friday, 22 March 2019


Day : Friday
Date : 22 March 2019
Start : 0930
Finish : 1330 Lymm

We were a bit close to the railway last night, something to consider in the future. This morning we were off at 9-30 to arrive at Preston Brook tunnel ready for a 10 am entry.
Just prior to the dry Dock CRT have re-concreted the canal edge
and laid a semi hard foot path, I say semi hard as nearer the lock its quite boggy.Of course the dry dock is now unused again with the demise of Claymoore Narrowboats who took it on after Tim died, I think its the first time I have seen it full of water.

As we were leaving Dutton Lock a boat emerged from the tunnel so we were able to leave the gates open for them, we actually arrived at the tunnel mouth with about 10 minutes to spare and just floated around, as you can see from this photo the tunnel is almost straight, just a little wobble towards the far end.
Once through the tunnel you are on the Bridgewater canal, a separate company from the Canal and Rivers Trust, but our CRT licence is valid for 7 days on here under a reciprocal agreement.
There was no sign of life at the Claymoore yard but someone was working on one of the boats, so he may have bought one from them of it might be a sponsored boat, I know they had at least one. A little further on 2 canoeists and a paddle boarder were making the most of the morning sun. A quick pip and they moved to one side.
The canal was quite busy and I would estimate we have seen at least a dozen boats on the move today, 4 of the Canaltime share boats.
As we approached Lymm I not only saw my first Swan on a nest but just a few yards away was a second Swans nest with 3 eggs in it, I suspect she laid early and then abandoned the nest as I don't think 2 Swans would nest so close to each other.
When we arrived in Lymm there was only one other boat moored there so were able to get a mooring with rings, however since we have been here several others have arrived and moored up

Today's Journey 12 Miles, 1Lock in 4 hours

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Thursday 21 March 2019 Dutton

Day : Thursday
Date : 21 march 2019
Start :1030
Finish :1430 Dutton

Last night was a full moon, for some reason known as a "worm moon". I did photograph it but it just came out as a large white dot, the Tata factory was a bit better but a little shake on the long hand held exposure.
This morning we were off at 1030 am. A Canal time hire boat had already passed but we passed them moored up a few hundred yards along the canal.
This year we have seen the demolition of old buildings between the canal and Witton Albion football ground, they are now in the process of clearing all the trees from this site.
The old warehouse across the road from the Lion Salt Museum at Marston has been completely demolished and only the floor pan left in place to show where it stood with an interpretation board.
We stopped at the Anderton services to top up with water as we will be on the Bridgewater tomorrow so only a few facilities for boaters.
Passing Anderton Boat Lift this Cormorant was sat on the offside bank, he waited for me to take this photo before scuttling off.
It was then that we met the only boat of the day. We got the timing wrong for Saltersford Tunnel arriving at half past twelve, so we had lunch while we waited for our slot at one 'clock. As we approached bridge 206 we could see a Heron standing on the parapet, such a shame it was the far side parapet and not this side, as we got closer he was disappearing so this was the fullest shot I could get.
By now the weather was warming as the sun pushed through the clouds, we carried on past the site of the Dutton Breach before mooring for the night on some rings a short way before Dutton Lock.
Today's Journey
8½ Miles 0 Locks in 4 hours

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Wincham Bend Wednesday 20 March 2019

Day : Wednesday
Date :20/03/2016
Start :1700
Finish :1800 Wincham Bend

Well it certainly felt like spring had sprung as we drove back to the boat under a clear blue sky. We stopped off at Alvecote to enquire about a mooring for next year.
It was 5pm before we were ready to cast off and decided just to go down as far as Wincham Bend for the night. Work is progressing well at the building site opposite the Broken Cross pub.
A little further on just before Wincham Wharf, Tata are removing 3 redundant iron brine pipes, These are being removed by boat
and then taken to Wincham Wharf to be carted way.
Our chosen mooring is a set of rings about 300 yards being the wharf and we pulling just before 6 pm.

Today's Journey
2¼ miles in 1 hour

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Sunday 3 March 2019 home moorings

Day : Sunday
Date : 3 March 2017
Start : 0900
Finish : 1000 home moorings
When I looked at the weather forecast yesterday it said rain for after lunch today, it lied it was raining at 8 o'clock this morning so a wet trip back to the marina, on the plus side there was no wind which meant the reverse down to our berth went well, but no one was watching. So that's it for a bit. We had three wet tips and the rest was lovely weather, a lot better than expected. We did 100 locks, I think 16 were in our favour and 102 miles.

Today's Journey
2¼ miles in 1 hour.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Saturday 2 March 2019 Wincham bend

Day :Saturday
Date :2 March 2019
Start :1015
Finish :1300 Wincham Bend.
Started a little later as I had a couple of jobs to sort out first. Just as we pushed off in the sunshine two boats came towards us so Big Lock would be ready, No, the bottom gates leak so much it was already half empty and we had done about a quarter of a mile.
Its good to see that CRT are making a proper job of raising the concrete edge at Croxton Flash, this has slowly been subsiding and last year CRT screwed a piece of wood along the top to stop the water lapping the towpath, ( see my Blog) now they have raised the concrete several inches above the water.

We have been out for 15 days and until today had not seen a single Kingfisher, then we saw two close together, so I suspect they were a pair, one flew off but the other dived and caught a fish, by the time I got the camera it had just swallowed it. Then a short while latter we saw a third.

The sun stayed with us until just before we were going to turn round at to the north of Wincham Wharf, then it started to spit with rain, we winded and then moored just by Wincham Bend, we had only just tied up when it started raining properly.
Today's Journey

7¼ Miles, 1 Lock in 2¾ hours

Friday, 1 March 2019

Friday 1 March 2019 Middlewich

Day :Friday

Date :1 March 2019

Start :1000

Finish :1430 Middlewich

Last night we ate at Barchetta the Italian restaurant, It was a toss up between there and Shampaan and as it was still raining Barchetta won. Its probably our favourite Italian restaurant. It was still raining when we went to bed.

We set off at 10 o'clock this morning to much better weather, we had to go up through Wheelock Bottom Lock to wind and then come down again. By the time we returned the Black Smith had his workshop open and his wares on display We lingered for a short time to fill with water and make use of the recycling facilities.

We were soon on our way an as normal now all locks were against us. We did meet one boat, but he had only come from the long term mooring above Booth Lane top lock.

As the day progressed the weather improved, a bit of care is required coming down Rumps Lock as the water jetting out from under the cill could easily end up inside the back of the boat if you drift back too much. I think Kings Lock would have been with us but a lady came up and drew the bottom paddles so I had to sit above the lock and wait for them, still I suppose it was in our favour even if Diana did help them through. We then dropped through the Middlewich 3, again against us to moor for the night a short way above Middlewich Big Lock.

You may recall at the beginning of the trip I voiced my concerns about the safety of people crossing Big Lock now that the footbridge has been condemned, I have just had an email from CRT telling me they plan to put a scaffold bridge across the canal while the existing bridge is refurbished and until that is erected there will be signs to the nearest safe canal crossing point.

Today's Journey 7 miles, 10 locks in 4½ hours.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Thursday 28 February 2019 Wheelock

Day :Thursday
Date :28 February 2019
Start :0945
Finish :1300 Wheelock
We made an early start today for some reason. The weather has made quite a change from the last few days, when we set off it was very dull and overcast, but not in the slightest damp. That all changed at Kings Lock, as we locked up in the dry we were watching the rain fall in the pound above to within 10 feet of the top gate and as there was no breeze at all the boundary didn't move, but we did into it and it rained for the rest of the journey.
As we approached the end of the Middlewich Arm I spotted this duck climbing the steps, its probably a female Mandarin we didn't spot her partner anywhere.
CRT have been cutting back the offside vegetation along here, this was very evident at Rumps Lock where the conifer has had a good seeing to.
Looking at the salt works a little further along it looks as if at one time a railway line ran right through the building so that wagons could be filled undercover, today lorries use it.
A short time back CRT replaced the lock moorings at Booth Lane bottom lock, it was quite a big job, it now looks as if they need to do the ones below the middle lock as well. They have put some white posts in to give temporary mooring.
We carried on in the now heavier rain to moor for the night at Wheelock, tucking in behind the floating Blacksmith on his boat Emily towing his forge on the butty Bronte.
Today's Journey
6½ miles, 6 locks in 3¼ hours.