Saturday 31 March 2018

Winsford Saturday 30 March 2018

I didn't notice any trains during the night which was good but I did hear the rain a few times. The forecast for today was rain all day but its now half one and so far we haven't seen any rain at all, mind you its been very chilly outside.

A little after 10 I started the engine and rang Hunts lock to tell them we were ready for off. There are several new lock keepers this season who are still being trained up by the older hands, Its handy that both the older keepers at Hunts are called Bob, so easy to remember. They soon had us up and on our way. Being the weekend the Northwich rowing club had several boats on the water, Their club is situated just down the weir stream.DSCF0643

We were to pass one boat that didn't do to well, he was walking home while others transported his boat for him after recovering the upturned craft from the river.DSCF0645

As the weather was a bit better than last time we came this way I got a couple of better photos of the new Mobile Homes.DSCF0647

I am not sure I would want this digger working right behind my house perched on the hillside like that, the ground doesn't look that stable to me.DSCF0650

If you want more details on the properties then visit www.olympicparkhomes.co.uk

After our last trip up here I took the Anemometer off while we were in Vale Royal Lock, however we went straight under Newbridge with a good 4 inches to spare, so the river has dropped quite a bit in the week.

A little further upstream someone has created a rather up market accommodation for wild life, I am not sure what they hope to attract, the entrance faces the river but is a good 6 ft above water level so I don't see it attracting Otters, I am sure someone will know?DSCF0652

We pushed on to the head of navigation, and winded at the entrance to the bottom Flash, There were two Narrowboats mooredDSCF0653 up against the town moorings today, we however dropped back down below the two bridges and moored at The Red Lion for the night.

Today's Journey map 105½ miles, 2 locks in 2 hours.

Friday 30 March 2018

Northwich Friday 30 March 2018

First things first, yesterday I took loads of photos of the Daniel Adamson and also all the boats crossing the MSC to get to Ellesmere Port I have uploaded them all to two Drop Box files https://www.dropbox.com/sh/a3t3vihf5lispmm/AABQeR2k_tbfrpo8SGITtRlAa?dl=0

Yesterday evening we ate at The Leigh Arms and I think it was even better value than last time we went, no wonder its so popular.

This morning we moved before breakfast, only a 100 yards to the water point and filled the tank while we filled our tums. All done by 10am and on our way, the forecast was for rain mid day, but they were wrong. As I left the moorings I gave the lock keeper at Saltersford Lock a ring to tell him we were on our way, they like you to ring then they can have the lock ready or maybe hold filling it until you arrive if another boat is just ahead. All their numbers are listed in the leaflet they give to you when you book the lift.

As we approached the lock the trees down the weir stream were full of Cormorants, looking like fruit on the tree.DSCF0626

Once clear of the lock, O and the lock keeper asked if we enjoyed our meal in the Leigh Arms, they seem to know everything on this river, we headed up stream passed the old Soda Works, the only bit of the building standing now is the remains of the front columnsDSCF0627all the rest is gone and they are cleaning the site.

Passing the lift two boats were about to go up and it looked as if the trip boat would be coming down, but we carried on up to Northwich. I wonder how many commercial boats they get that they have to reserve this bank for them? I think you were able to moor there before they put the new flood defences wall in.DSCF0630 DSCF0630

We stopped in town for a short time to visit Waitrose, we are getting posh aren't we?

I took a few more photographs of the old side slip at Northwich Drydock, it will be interesting to see if its restored back into use or if Health and Safety requirements will thought them.

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Clicking the photos will enlarge them, just like all the photos on my blog.

I have never seen Yarwoods basin so empty before, I guess they have all gone to Ellesmere Port.DSCF0637

We decided to moor for the night just below Hunts lock, just after the railway viaduct. We then took a short wander round the weir stream, there was quite a bit of water coming out of the sluice gate but only a small flow over the weir.DSCF0638 The entrance to the dry Dock is via the weir stream but it doesn't look as if the footbridge crossing the stream opens very often. Also down the path beside the stream is the old entrance to the sewage pumping house, well worth a visit (from the other side) when they are running the old engines.DSCF0641 There is a video of the engines running in one of my old Blogs as well as the now demolished Soda Works.

Today's Journeymap 09 6 miles, 1 lock in 2½ hours

Thursday 29 March 2018

Acton Bridge Thursday 29 March 2018

We set off just after 9am just as nb. Elizabeth came by, so we followed them all the way to marsh Lock. Our arrival coincided with Steam Boat Daniel Adamson coming up in the lock from the Manchester Ship Canal. DSCF0536

Her passage was slightly slower than expected as one of the bottom gates wont shut under its own power so the chaps have to use a Terfor and pull it shut from the far side, fitting the strop is not without its difficulties.DSCF0539

Once the gate was shut the lock only needed to lift a few inches before the Daniel Adamson could get out onto the River Weaver and head upstream.DSCF0544

You will find more photos of Daniel Adamson in my  Drop Box .

We then carried on down to Western Point to wind at the entrance to the now derelict Runcorn Canal, it only needs some new gates for the first section to be put back in use.DSCF0550

Eddy Stobard now has the use of the land at Western point and boats cant get passed the low swing bridge, I don't know what's in all these white pallets but there are lots of them. DSCF0552

On our way back up stream we spied a nice spot at an old weir to take photos of the boats heading for Ellesmere Port for Easter. We are not sure if there were 14 or 15 in the end. I like it when I spot old waterway working furniture, This is an old mooring ring, but what is unusual is that it has a pin attached to it, so the eye of the rope was passed through the ring and then the pin through the eye of the rope behind the ring. This results in the rope being attached just like a belt buckle.DSCF0577Once past Marsh Lock we started meeting the boats coming down to make the crossing, hopefully I have a photo of them all and I  have published them in my Drop Box  .

When we reached Sutton Swing Bridge the main body of them were coming down so we waited for the last and followed them down to the lock. Following the arrival of Daniel Adamson CRT left the top lock gates open so the boats could go straight in as they arrived. DSCF0580Here Ilford and Clematis are the last pair to arrive and we left CRT shutting the gate as we continued on to our chosen spot to get the photos.DSCF0582

It wasn't long before they came streaming out, I am not sure how but Ilford went last but came out in the middle. Again all the photos are in my Drop Box.DSCF0601

Much to our surprise not only were this lot leaving but a single Narrowboat was coming in from the Port.DSCF0617

Once they had all gone we again headed upstream past the chemical works, I font know what causes this foam but it was also bubbling up through the ground.DSCF0547

The banks of the river further upstream are covered with Wild Garlic, I expect it will be in flower shortly.

We then met the Daniel Adamson coming back down the river to return to Ellesmere Port, the CRT boys are having a busy day today.DSCF0622

On to Dutton Lock where most of the flotilla spent the night with only 4 locking down this morning, but we were going up alone. Once the Lady lock keeper had seen us on our way it was up to Acton Bridge for the night, we just managed to squeeze on to the back end of the visitor mooring, front rope on a bollard and stern chained to the piling.

Today's Journeymap 08 16½ Miles 1 Lock in 6¼ hours.

Wednesday 28 March 2018

Sutton Bridge Wednesday 28 March 2018

Will it rained again last night, and still my body is not in line with the clock so had trouble waking up this morning. Departure was again delayed, not due to rain but hail. When it finally stopped at 1030 I contacted the Saltersford Lock Keeper to say we were on our way, he told me other boats were coming down but if we were there before the others he would work me down, however just as I was dropping the stern rope of this pair came along.DSCF0523

It would be bad manners to pull out in front of them so I let them by and followed them down to the lock. If you look closely you can see Roger doing the brass on Clematis in the rain.DSCF0524 As usual she was paired with the butty Ilford They went right to the front of the lock and I came in behind them, a few minutes later another ex working boat Alcor arrived and lay beside us. DSCF0525They are heading for Ellesmere Port via the Manchester Ship Canal for Easter.

Being on the inside at the back we were last out of the lock but it wasn't long beforeDSCF0526Alcor was winding it on and heading ahead only to be waiting for us in Dutton Lock. As they were all mooring overnight below Dutton Lock I was invited to leave first, looking back you can see just how big this lock is.DSCF0527

Unfortunately the Peregrine Falcons have not returned to the viaduct this year, however the Ravens have nested and an Egret has also been seen in the area as will as a Short eared Owl.DSCF0528

I assume it was CRT or someone working for them carrying out a survey at the old demolished Pickerings Bridge. At first as we approached I thought it was someone with a model boat crossing the river but when we got closer we could see the operators and the boat more clearly. There is more information about it HERE.DSCF0529

DSCF0531We carried on to our planned mooring for the night just before Sutton swing bridge, there were several boats moored hear and there was just room for us between the first two. The chap on the first boat came out and kindly took my stern line so it didn't take us long to make fast. We hadn't been here long when we heard the barriers of the bridge go down so we wondered who was coming through, but they just opened and then closed the bridge again.DSCF0532

It will be opening again tomorrow to let the Daniel Adamson through, a stem powered historic vessel, so maybe they were just checking it still worked before it arrived.

Today's Journey map 078 miles, 2 locks in 2¾ hours

Tuesday 27 March 2018

Barnton Cut Tuesday 27 March 2018

Well the weather forecast was right and we woke up in the night with the rain, that was in between waking up with the Canada geese who spent the night just across the river. This morning there was more heavy rain but by 11am it was down to a fine drizzle so we set off for Winsford the official head of navigation.DSCF0505

Just before Newbury swing bridge they are extending the mobile home park by building two large gabion walls, I wonder if they will be advertised as having their own Haw Haw.DSCF0498

Newbury bridge is quite low, we have to remove the stove chimney and lower the exhaust and flag pole, I thought the weather station would be OK but the anemometer just twanged on the underside bolts, so I remover the head before we came back down stream which happened to coincide with a car crossing. DSCF0513

Union Salt had a salt mountain a little further up stream last time we came this way. Today its 90% gone, It must have been the beast from the East.DSCF0502

The moorings at The Red Lion pub have had a makeover since we were last this way, lets hope they are not as slippery when wet as the town moorings at the end of the Lower Flash.DSCF0509

After winding we headed back down stream, by now the weather had improved quite a bit and the sun was peeping out, but much cooler than yesterday.

Just by the official winding hole, only needed if you are a lot bigger than us, there is another salt storage depot, this one the salt is all covered but today they were even removing salt from there.DSCF0504

Continuing on I got the feeling I was being watched and I wasn't wrong as this is who was sitting in the tree.DSCF0510

As the locks are all manned they close for lunch each day so we stopped on the same moorings we used last night and had our lunch before locking down through Vale Royal lock, it was good to see that they had the second winch back, so didn't need to carry it over the lock to open and close the gate. DSCF0514As usual they rand ahead to Hunt's lock to let them know we were coming. The keeper here had 2 trainees that he was instructing. Chatting to him it turned out that on Sunday he was in Middlewich pulling the trapped boats from the Middlewich Branch following the breach.

Saturn, the restored horse drawn fly boat was moored outside Yarwood's Basin It can often be found at the bottom of the lift as part of the attractions.DSCF0518

A little further on were the barge and tug that I tried to photograph yesterday, today its just a static shot of them moored up and left.DSCF0522

CRT have moved the waste disposal facilities from the town bridge out to a floating pontoon here, this is to reduce and hopefully stop them being used by non boaters to dump rubbish, this is a problem CRT have all over the system that householders use CRT facilities to dispose of their rubbish. The new facilities consist or a row of domestic type wheelie bins, its a shame they are all for general waste and non for recycling.DSCF0521

We considered going down to Acton Bridge for the night and eating in the pub, but it was too late when we arrived at Saltersford Lock to go through, so again we are on the Barnton Cut moorings.

Today's Journey map 0611½ miles, 2 locks in 3¼ hours.