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Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Anderton to Wigan and OOPS!!!

Monday 20th June and a bright lovely start and stayed fine till light shower in the evening.

Eating my breakfast I saw the bows of diesel boat Alton alongside the saloon window at 8.30 & popped my head out. They were filling 2 boats that were moored at our bows and I arranged for them to move along to us, and then 2 or 3 other boats called them over so they had a pretty good start to their day. They were a very pleasant couple and were expanding their business pretty well. 125 litres at 82p, with 80/20 split.

Away at 10 and we cruised through the first 2 very twisty tunnels at Barnton & Saltersford and reached Dutton Stop Lock where I was an idiot. Annoyed at the silly width where I needed to open both gates to let Carol out, but they were too wide to step across, so I pushed the far gate open with the boat slipped....I started  to fall in...decided I could leap to the other gate.....and failed! The water was well over 6 feet deep, but unfortunately I had hit the foot board with my chest and now have a few cracked/broken ribs!! Don't try it. Chap came out of a boat in front & asked if I could do it again as he had missed it, though straight after it had happened I felt foolish & wet but had no pain.
Before the fall above Dutton Lock

Soaking wet

Carol cruised through Preston Brook Tunnel whilst I showered and we arrived at Preston Brook to look for the services. They certainly were not anywhere near where Nicholson showed being about 200yds along the Runcorn arm. That done & with a full water tank we cruised on to Stockton Heath, mooring along a pretty little street. I took note of the house number alongside Lily, asked the street name & whether they knew of a taxi company when a taxi arrived & dropped a lady off at the house I'd noted!!! Warrington Hospital checked me over, said I'd cracked or broken my ribs & told me to use painkillers!!

Tues 21st  and I didn't sleep too well. I didn't go to bed but set myself up in a reclining chair & foot stool but moving around hurts!! Walked into Stockton for a paper & coffee & found walking hurts & its hell if I try to cough. Stockton is obviously a fairly well to do suburb of Warrington & off side the garden we moored opposite was beautiful, reminding Carol of her old one. Away at 11.30 for gentle cruise on the wide & deep Bridgewater Canal through lovely Cheshire countryside. We spoke to an old friend/customer who lived nearby & arranged to meet her for supper at The Swan with two Nicks at Little Bollington. Lovely evening with loads to talk about as we hadn't seen each other for 10 years. Lovely pub but food only OK, certainly not up to what Nicholson reckoned.

The Swan with Two Nicks

Wed 22nd and we didn't move today as we visited Dunham Massey a glorious National Trust house & gardens just 1/2 mile from our mooring. It had rained pretty hard much of the night but for our visit it was fine which was good because we had a brilliant guided tour of the gardens. It is a place to be highly recommended, especially if you are NT members.

Thurs 23rd and a wet start with a pretty strong cross wind, but it brightened by lunch. We cruised into Sale where I had stopped in digs for 3 years whilst I was at college. I intended to walk to the houses where I had stayed but my ribs hurt too much, so we stopped & watched Wimbledon & went for our Thursday curry fix. So far this week 25 miles and one tiny but eventful lock. We had hoped to meet up with friends who live in Sale but they were in Derbyshire, shame.

Wrecks near Sale

Friday 24th And after a coffee we were away at 11. I had looked at the map as we passed the Kellogs factory (why not a single sign on it?) and said to Carol how good it would be if the Barton Swing Aqueduct was swung, and it was!! Before that we heard over a tannoy " Nice flowers Lily Pad, well done!" and realised that the CCTV system covering the depot we were passing had active monitoring, but a bit of a shock. We were held up for about 20 mins, but the first boat to arrive had a wait of well over 2 hours as 2 boats went down from Manchester before this last one returned. It was interesting to see how it worked & to compare it with Anderton, I hope the videos worked.

Now that's a bit big for most canals

Swing Aqueduct nearly closed
Lily over the Ship Canal
Whilst waiting I asked about sanitary stations to be horrified to hear that the one we were aiming for at Worsley had been closed by vandalism & how various others were shut. Worsley is lovely and is the reason why the Duke of Bridgewater cut his canal as here is where his coal mines were cut into the hill. There was a very smart new housing development alongside the canal with what looked to be very large houses. My ribs precluded a wander, but we'll do this on our return. We carried on a bit further & stopped at a boatyard to fill & empty & then crossed over the canal to tie up for the night. The chap off the cruiser at Barton was there & he told me he had Weils disease about 6 years ago & it was hell to get cured! Just 8 miles.


Saturday 25th and it had been very wet overnight. We had to get through a BW controlled Plank Lane lift bridge between 10.00 & 14.00 according to Nicholson (not so according to later reports) and also wanted to watch GP qualifying at 12.00 so we were away fairly early. We got a good mooring for qualifying, but then couldn't find the paracetamol we had bought to control my pain, so decided to move on to Wigan to get some. We were caught up as we cruised by Sue & Peter on Sokai from Saul Jn, their large Lister & big prop being ideal for water skiing on deep canals & rivers. We shared the two locks up out of the Leigh branch & then Helmhurst Lock on the Liverpool branch & breasted up together close by the BW offices & shared a drink & good chat plus they gave me some pills which I'll return when we meet again in Liverpool. The weather had stayed fine all day, though mostly overcast & it was much milder for our 10 miles & 3 locks.

On the services matter, BW Wigan office on Friday told me the Elsan point at Helmhurst was US & that my nearest would be at the top of the Wigan flight, which as the locks are only 57ft long & Lily is 70ft and it would have been over 2 miles to walk, was not a lot of good. I also noted the other station at Butts Basin looked as if it was in service, I'll check on the way back.

Winding mechanism to open Henhurst Lock

Moored outside BW offices with Sokia abreast
Sunday 26th and a lovely warm day & we stopped in Wigan, saw a few bits in the town plus a not very exciting GP. Very cross now as Nicholson says the Trencherfield Mill 5500hp ( I'm sure I read this somewhere ) engine is steamed each day, we heard it blow its whistle at 11.30 but were busy, and then found it only steams on Sundays, we'll have to try to time our return visit appropriately.

Outside Trencherfield Mill

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