Saturday 8 July 2017

Home Saturday 8 July 2017

Well we are back in Suffolk and the boat is tucked up back at the marina. We left at 1000hrs this morning for the almost 1 mile cruise back to our marina, just under half an hour. Then it was load the car and head home.

Its good to see that CRT are still using traditional working boats to maintain the system.DSCF8551

This trip we have done 100 lock up and down the Anderton Lift covered over 160 miles and spent 19 nights on board. All this was achieved in 82 hrs travelling time.

Here it the route we covered almost meeting up at Runcorn, please restore the Runcorn Locks.IMG_0227

Today's Journey Map 20 0.85 miles in 25 minutes

Friday 7 July 2017

Broken Cross Friday 7 July 2017

Last night we were moored in the social centre of Winsford. There must have been 20 young people sitting around at the peak of the coming and going but we heard very little from them and they finally drifted away as it got dark. We didn't get the storm so we did have our BBQ in the dry.

We set off this morning at 1000hrs heading down stream and did manage to catch sight of a Kingfisher. I think they are probably well hidden this time of the year.DSCF8538

As we passed The Union Salt works I noticed that this building was right fall of salt, its always been empty when we have passed before.DSCF8540

I rang Vale Royal locks as I passed the Vale Royal visitor moorings to tell him we were coming, slight delay as they were waiting for a boat coming upstream so could we please wait on the floating pontoon, which we did and then walked to the lock to watch the boat coming upstream.

Once through the lock we were on our way towards Hunts Lock, passing these ducks on the way, I think its a female Mandarin Duck with 2 youngsters. DSCF8544

On the bank at one of the yards sits an old tug. I don't know how large the engine is in it but the cooling consisted of 4 pipes about 8 to 10 foot long, it must be a much more efficient method of cooling than a skin tank like most Narrowboats are fitted with.DSCF8545

A train was crossing the viaduct below Hunts lock as we arrived, the lock wasn't quite ready for us, its all manual handle winding to operate them so takes a little time.DSCF8546

Then through Northwich where they have just installed a new flood defence wall, the top 3 feet of which is glass, this panel has already been broken, I wonder how long the rest will last.DSCF8548

Down to Anderton lift, we arrived a few minutes to 12 and I nipped straight up to the office to try and book a transit up, but the office was unpersoned. I waited about 10 minutes and a CRT man came in through the same door as I had and asked if I was being attended to, when I said no he went into the office and came to the wicket to sort my booking. Would 1250 today be any good he said, which more than pleased me. so back to the holding area and wait our turn coming up on the very next passage.

Once back on the T&M we headed back towards our mooring stopping very briefly at the services to dump some rubbish. We didn't go all the way to the moorings but stopped for the night just passed The Old Broken Cross pub. Shortly after mooring a boat came by and pulled the mooring stake of the boat ahead, so out came the magnets and I helped him fish for it, we ended up with three stakes, one of which was his lost one.

Today's Journey Map 1911 Miles, 1 Lift, 2 locks in 4¾ hrs. Tomorrow we will be home.

Thursday 6 July 2017

Winsford Thursday 6 July 2017

A bit of a late start this morning, I got engrossed in Melvin Brag on radio 4 "In our Time" all about how and why birds migrate, so it was 1030hrs when a boat came down Hunts Lock that we set off. This saves the lock keepers a bit of work as the locks are manual and the gates have to be wound open on quadrants.DSCN1079 Between the big lock and the small one there are the remains of some old gas lights.DSCF8518

On the bird front, first we saw a blackbird with a white chest, it looked almost like a Magpie when it flew off, but didn't get a photo, then this rook with white spots, you can just see one under his chin.DSCF8520

The lock keeper rang ahead to Vale Royal Locks for us and told us there was a boat coming down, he also told us that they had removed the quadrants at Vale RoyalDSCF8522 and the lock keepers were winching the bottom gate open and closed. When we arrived at the lock the gate was open and we went straight in, you can see where the quadrant should be. Once in the lock keeper on the off side pulled the gate shut with a petrol winch like this one, used to pull the gate open.DSCF8524

New Bridge is a swing foot bridge that is quite low, but today there was a better headroom than usual as the river level is quite low up this end.DSCF8525

Passing Union Salt the mountains are getting quite high, I have not seen them this big before but its probably being used when I normally come this way.DSCF8527

We carried on past the end of CRT controlled waters into the bottom flash to moor at the town quay, its starting to look a bit run down with boards lifting and weeds growing, also its silting up and we couldn't get against the edge, only the bows in. I know the water is low at the moment which didn't help. After lunch Diana went to buy BBQ food while I filled with water. This could be a lovely venue and its a pity its not better used or looked after. Looking back in the flash there was what looked like a fishing machine, where a net dips into the water, often see abroad, but it turned out to be nothing more than a trampoline, goodness knows how it got out there and I expect it will stay until it rots.DSCF8529

As we were backing our a chap was pumping up an inflatable stand up paddle board, he passed us later when we had moored up for the night. He stopped for a chat but like all these inflatable things it seemed very driven by the wind.DSCF8534

We have moored opposite the last winding hole on the river but not needed unless you are a lot longer than us as we can turn with ease up by The Red Lion.

Today's Journey map 185½ miles and 2 locks in 2½ hours

Wednesday 5 July 2017

Northwich Wednesday 5 July 2017

Last nights mooring was the middle of nowhere, opposite the derelict Sutton locks which is now a graveyard for old boats.DSCF8495

This morning we moved off about 1000 hrs as usual, looking back they must have been firing the Rocksavage power station up with all the steam billowing about, it was a dead certainty that the wind generators in the Mersey weren't doing anything.DSCF8497

A little further upstream there are some old farm building buildings, at first glance it looks as if someone is making them into houses but then you see the window and door openings all look original, so I wonder what its original use was.DSCF8498

We did meet a boat before we got to Dutton lock, it was a couple out rowing, they had gone past upstream just before we set off. The photo was taken at the moment they realised they were coming across the river at an angle directly towards us. DSCF8501I must say it was a nice wooden boat not a plastic one.

Yesterday I posted a photo of one of the 200 yard marker posts before Pickerings Foot Bridge, The one on the upstream is still in very good order.DSCF8503

Normally as we pass under the railway viaduct I would ring the lock keeper so he had the lock prepared but today we intended to stop below the lock for water, so it would be some time before we needed the lock. As we passed under the viaduct a goods train was just crossing, most of these seem to have two engines hauling them these days. It would have been quite unusual in steam days but it did happen but then they would have needed 2 crews to man them.

We pulled over to the water tap just as the lock keeper dropped the lock, at first I thought he had done it as he had seen us coming, but it turned out there was a boat coming down. I had a chat with the keeper and hold him our plans taking water, it turned out the boat coming down the lock wanted water as well. This tap is trying very hard to take the record for being the slowest on the Weaver, so we cast off before the tank was full, giving the Keeper a hoot as we did so for him to open the gates. He said we would be too late for locking up at Saltisford as the lock keeper would be at lunch so we arranged that we would stop on the lock moorings below saltisford lock for our own lunch and the lock keeper would open up when he was ready. We had just started eating lunch when "Over the Rainbow" a charity trip boat came up the river and to our surprise the lock gates swung open. Dinner was put down, engine started, ropes untied and we followed them in, to breast on the outside of them while the lock filled. The steerer told me that he would have to leave the lock first because he had a lift booking, no problem I said. The lock filled, we untied from him and pushed away, the gates opened and he was still tied up, so I went, needless to say he never caught us up. The party on board were from a local WI group.DSCF8507

We passed the lift just as it started going up with two boats in the caisson, I could see the one coming down was empty which meant the CRT Anderton Lift trip boat was probably coming towards me from Northwich and I wasn't wrong, we had gone just a short way passed the lift and round the bend there she was. DSCF8516Good job I was on the right side of the river. All the moorings through Northwich opposite the marina were full so we carried on and moored just below Hunts Lock.

The birdy photograph of the day, mum and two youngsters swimming along the river.DSCF8510

Since we have been here I have just heard that the lift is broken again, well it did run for a few days without problems.

Today's Journey map 1711 miles, 2 locks in 4 hours

Tuesday 4 July 2017

Sutton Locks Tuesday 4 July 2017

Last night we ate in The Stanley Arms, well we were on their private mooring. I must say their pies are good with thick cut chips and not just 6 of them. Their home made Lasagne was stuffed full of meat and was also a good size portion.

This morning I set off just after 0900 hrs backwards towards the Anderton lift, needles to say just as I got to the bridge a boat came the other way. There were two boats waiting on the moorings to go down, I assumed on the 1000 hr run, but only one went into the lift, the other one was going down with us at 1045 hrs and the other 1000 hr one didn't show up so a space wasted.

We were soon on our way down, there was no one coming up in the other caisson, both seemed to be working fine now. At the bottom we turned right, down stream. The old Soda works is still being cleared away with buildings further back being demolished now.DSCF8472

I spotted this what I assume to be a mile post on the bank, I don't know if they date back to the navigation or were put in for the Weaver Way walk.DSCF8478

The navigation had concrete signs to warn boaters when they were 200 yards from a bridge or lock. This one is downstream of the removed Pickerings Bridge at Pickerings Cut. The one upstream is in much better condition.DSCF8484

I rang the lock keeper at Saltersford Lock and he said the lock was ready but he may be a few minutes before he got there to open the gates. He was walking over as we arrived and when we left he rang Dutton lock to tell them we were on our way. DSCF8480As we passed Acton swing bridge a cruiser pulled out and followed us through Dutton Lock.

We stopped for lunch at Devil's Garden before continuing to the end of the river where the Runcorn canal use to come in.

There was a boat ahead of us who was hoping to go into the end basin, but this is no longer possible as its now an Eddy Stobard base, he nearly did go in as his engine stalled when he went into reverse while approaching the low bridge that shuts off the end.

We both winded in the entrance to the old Runcorn and Western CanalDSCF8485 and made our way back past the Mexichem chemical works. I did wonder what this discharge into the river was as we passed.DSCF8488

Also on this site is the Rocksavage Power Station which is a gas fire Power Station that is capable of producing 800 Mw and nearly half of that is used by the adjoining chemical works.DSCF8489

We made our way back under the M56 where just beside the river WS Transport had a tent big enough to work on 7 lorries complete with trailers.DSCF8490 Just ahead of us was the railway bridge and beyond that Sutton Swing bridge.DSCF8494

We carried on a little further mooring in the mouth of the weir stream on the non path side. We have the bows quite close to the bank and the stern a little further out. Since we have been here the local rowing club and canoe club have been by in force.

Today's Journey map 1616.7 miles, 2 locks, 1 lift in 6 hours.

Monday 3 July 2017

Anderton Monday 3 July 2017

We didn't set off until nearly 1030hrs. This was to time our arrival at Saltersford Tunnel where the passage time is between the half hour and ten to the next hour. We arrived just as the boat ahead had entered the tunnel, so spot on. This tunnel is mainly lined withDSCF8456 concrete render and is far from straight so at times there is no light at the end, but the first few yard are brick and covered in spiders webs.DSCF8453

Once clear of the tunnel its only a short run to Barnton Tunnel, this one is just one way working and you go when the tunnel is clear, but from the end again because of the wiggles its almost impossible to see the far end, so two boats could enter at once and one would have to give way, but the timing for that would have to be spot on so unlikely to happen much. Both portals are on a bend so you don't even get a straight look in until you have your bows in the mouth. This tunnel is plain brick throughout.DSCF8458 Both tunnels have quite dry roofs which is nice. We are then on the stretch of canal that runs close to the River Weaver, and just on the far bank they have almost finished demolishing the old Soda Works.DSCF8462

We stopped just before Anderton Lift and I went into the office to see if there was any chance of a passage down to the River Weaver today, I wasn't expecting one as the lift broke down over the weekend so there would probably be a back log. However things were not that bad and we can get down in the morning.

As it was only just passed midday we decided not to moor but to continue on to almost Wincham, wind and come back to spend the night. What we didn't expect but didn't bother us was the length of queue waiting to use the facility block at Anderton. One of the boats was old friends that we haven't seen for years on Derwent6.

We we returned the queue had gone but there were still boats using the services. Derwent6 was moored just before the lift but no sign of life, we continued on to moor outside the Stanley Arms on their private moorings for the night. This means that tomorrow will start with a bit of "backwards" to get to the lift.

Today's Journey map 1511miles and 2 tunnels in 4¼ hrs.

Sunday 2 July 2017

Dutton T&M Sunday 2 July 2017

last night while I was doing the washing up there was a knock on the glazed side doors, it was a local chap who had brought his daughter fishing who was interested and wanted a chat. His parting words were, I don't know if I would moor there overnight as there is an housing estate just over the back, this was from a chap who lived in the housing estate behind the lake. Anyway we woke up in the morning still alive, the boat hadn't been sunk, painted a different colour and I couldn't find any scorch marks where they tried to torch it. So all was well.

Did I mention it rained again during the night.

This morning we were away at 1000hrs. the water so clear you can see the bottom, fish and any rubbish which included about half a dozen dinner plates and mugs.

I think this may be a young Black Headed Gull but I am not sure on that.DSCF8420

A little further on, thanks to the clear water I spotted some blue poly tape streaking away obviously on the bow of the boat,DSCF8437 straight into neutral and this is what I retrieved. If I hadn't have spotted it then I would have been singing the poly song.DSCF8423

After about 50 minuets we were moored up at the end of the Runcorn Arm where we took a wonder down the old Runcorn Locks. The Restoration Society have done a bit of path laying and also some excavations since we were here last time.

DSCF8427 DSCF8429 DSCF8428

We then walked along the Manchester Ship Canal under the old Jubilee Bridge which looked splendid in the sunshine.DSCF8432

Looking the other way we could see the new Mersey Gateway Bridge, there looks to be only a small gap in the main deck now before they have a crossing.DSCF8430 We then did a little bit of shopping before returning to the boat for lunch.

We had just finished lunch when I heard Diana talking to another local. he had hired a boat and gone up the Llangollen during the Foot and Mouth disease outbreak. He was a handy guy to talk to as he was a local Taxi drive/song writer. He has written a song about the Runcorn Locks and was telling us what the plans are for the Jubilee Bridge once the Mersey Gateway opens. Also how he hopes it brings more boaters to Runcorn.

After saying goodbye to John the singing Taxi driver we head back towards waters Meeting and then to Preston Brook tunnel where there were 4 boats waiting for 1530hrs to go through.DSCF8440 Of course once we were through the tunnel we had to then singly pass through Dutton stop lock with at least a 2" rise in level.

I managed one or two photos in the tunnel one showing the repaired section in the middle. DSCF8447This section is concrete but the rest of the tunnel is all brick.DSCF8442We moored about half a mile from the stop lock where there are some mooring rings buried in the undergrowth. We were planning to go to the site of the old breach but its quite busy and we knew the boats ahead were stopping there.

Dutton has a festival on at the moment and we are just on the edge of hearing the music which is fine. As I write this the BBQ is cooking, the only time I go near food other than to eat it.DSCF8449

Today's Journeymap 14 9½ Miles, 1 lock and 1 tunnel in 4 Hrs