This morning we walked to the local Morrisons before tacking Middlewich Big Lock, big because it’s the first of the wide locks, but there are no more for quite a while. We shared it with a little narrowboat which the steerer assured me had a concrete hull and that it steered like a tub!
As you probably know, Cheshire has, since Roman times, been involved in the manufacture of salt and the evidence is all around. There’s a good guide to the canal by the Trent & Mersey Canal Society here.
We soon encountered some flashes, which are shallow areas formed by subsidence from salt extraction, extending the width of the canal. At the end of the canal carrying era numerous unwanted boats were sunk in these flashes as shown in this 1988 photo. (Sinking a wooden boat is actually quite a good way to preserve it as the timber doesn’t dry out.) There is no sign of them now so they’ve either rotted away or, hopefully, been raised and restored.
Tata is one of Europe’s leading producers of sodium carbonate, salt and sodium bicarbonate.
After a break for tea & ice cream we travelled the short distance to Anderton where we bagged a mooring next to the historic Anderton Boat Lift, but more of that tomorrow when we have had a look around.