Yesterday we had a day off, well from travelling at least. In the morning we did some housework, put the washing machine on then went and watched boats using the Anderton Boat Lift, we may try it ourselves later in this year’s trip.
Soon after we moved across to the pub’s moorings as a creaky willow tree was overhanging our boat and after our friend Jane’s experience were taking no chances!
We moored outside The Stanley Arms and had lunch there, while the washing dried in the sunshine. After our evening meal we went back up to the pub, just as a courtesy for using their mooring you understand, and was taken by this photo hanging with other canal related pictures in the public bar. I would guess it’s from the 50s or 60s and as it is two converted working boats I wonder if the family had found themselves without a home other than their boats when carrying work on the canals dried up so they built a full length conversion over the holds. All supposition of course, but compare them with the centre boat sunk in the flashes I included in the last posting!
This morning we were up and away by 8:30am (wow) as we had three tunnels to negotiate and another canal to get to. The industrial landscape around Northwich and beside the river Weaver was left behind this morning and we were glimpsing views across open countryside when the trees lining the canal permitted.
Once you are lined up there’s a line of sight through the tunnel so you just have to be sure there’s not a headlight headed towards you!
With less than a mile in between next came Saltersford Tunnel, now this one has a problem, it’s not straight but there’s a simple system, boats go north on the hour and for the next 20 minutes and south on the half hour and so on, giving 10 minutes leeway (minimum) to navigate the tunnel. As these tunnels are less than 500 yards long it works out well.
Just an hour and three-quarter cruise in the sunshine brought us to Dutton Stop Lock, which effectively separates the Trent and Mersey’s water from the Bridgewater Canal’s. In truth there was only a couple of inches difference but canal companies were very jealous of maintaining their water supplies. It’s also unusual because it’s wider than a narrow lock but not as wide as a normal widebeam lock.
Look! You can see the light at the end of the Preston Brook Tunnel!
It’s deceptive though as this one is three-quarters of a mile long so there is just a 10 minute window each hour to pass through it, but once again we turned up at the right time and only had a 5 minute wait to join the convoy of two other boats headed north before emerging into the sunshine and we were on the Bridgewater Canal.
The Bridgewater Canal Company is NOT part of the C&RT network but there is reciprocal agreement for C&RT licence holders to use their waters for 7 days whilst travelling to another part of the network.
There are more stunning views over the Cheshire countryside and I believe that is Runcorn Water Tower on the skyline.
We called at Midland Chandlers to try to buy a large caribina clip and somehow managed to come out with a hand held air horn, a TV aerial lead and some polish, but no clip.
We headed on, leaving visiting Runcorn for another time and moored up outside Moore Village Stores for a lunch break before ending our day’s cruising at Stockton Heath.
I noticed these canal-side cranes are in place to deploy stop-planks in case a section of the canal is de-watered for maintenance or in case of a breach. The planks are too long to be manhandled as on our familiar narrow canals.
After a suitable break we caught a bus to the outskirts of Warrington to visit Morrisons and walk across one of the Manchester Ship Canal’s bridges. After our return journey we had a refreshing drink at the London Bridge Inn before returning to the boat for our tea.