Sunday, 28 September 2008

Locking down was never like this.

0 Locks, 9½ Miles. Now moored at Northwich .

We arose to another misty landscape this morning but as there was little in the way of cloud cover the sun soon broke through making a brilliant day for cruising. The trip to Anderton took longer than we had envisaged due to the many boats moored along the way which slowed us down.

The trip up to Broken Cross was very pleasant being mainly rural but this all changed when we passed through the chemical works. The canal virtually goes through the middle of the plant with many, many pipes of various diameters passing over our heads and lots of steam emanating from all over the place, it reminded us of a place called Waireki in New Zealand where there is a thermal driven power station. Just beyond this is the site of the original Lion Salt Works which is in a bit of a sorry state but there are moves afoot to restore the place. It has a museum and tribute to the salt industry of the district on site which is open for limited hours.

As we neared Anderton we found the 200 acre Marbury Country Park on our right which is a park/forest with many walkways through it and obviously a very popular spot to visit as the walkways were well worn. The park is part of the old Marbury Hall estate and is looked after by the Cheshire County Heritage and Recreation. I suppose with all the gloom of the salt and chemical plants around here the locals need somewhere nice to visit.

On arrival at the Anderton Boat Lift we were greeted by a BW employee and shown where to book our passage down to the River Weaver which took place at 13.45hrs. While waiting we could hear rifles or guns being fired and it turns out that the local gun club have a firing range close by. We travelled down in the lift in company with a hire boat, the crew of which had arranged a surprise trip for their mothers 60th birthday.

Entry on to the lift was different to what I had expected as you go into a holding pen to start off with. The gate is closed behind you before the gate into the actual caisson is opened when both boats enter the caisson together. The gate was then lowered behind us and once we were securely moored up to bollards on the side of the caisson we waited with baited breath for the lift to start descending. It started off very slowly in a bit of a jerky motion but soon settled down to a very smooth trip. The view over the river from the lift was great except for the huge ICI plant on the opposite bank. We noted with some amusement a sign offering 4 acres of waste land for sale alongside the ICI plant. Other than grazing goats it wouldn't be much use for anything else because nobody would want to live there.

After exiting the lift we turned left to head up river towards Northwich which is actually bounded by both the river Weaver and the Trent and Mersey Canal which we had been on earlier today. We tried to moor on the visitor moorings just up river from the lift. There was only one opening available due to fisherman using the other spots and unfortunately we got stuck on a submerged concrete block. After some time of trying to get off this obstacle we eventually enlisted the aid of a passing boat who towed us free. We had no option after this but to keep going until we found the Baron's Quay moorings in Northwich. Here we found 3 boats spread out along the Quay taking up the space of five. I pulled in close to one of them and politely asked him if he would mind moving up to allow us to moor. The response I got was that "there are moorings over there" and he just turned his back on us. Arrogant sod!

We crossed to the other bank and moored at the back of the moorings for the BW services although there are more moorings on the same bank on the other side of the town swing bridge. A couple of hours later the 3 boats opposite untied, winded and set off down river so it wouldn't have hurt one them to have been a bit more courteous to a fellow boater.

1467 locks, 3063 miles, 51 Tunnels, 42 swing bridges and 39 lift bridges since Nov 2006

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi you two, if it was a Saturday that you arrived at Northwich; he boats were probably from Acton Bridge Cruising Club. We have met themon a few occasions - arrogant and look after No.1 seems to be their club motto.

Keep smiling!