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Thursday, 23 June 2011

To the Anderton Lift

Mon 13th June A cloudy start & we were away before 10 to the services below the staircase 3 locks in Chester, moving on up through them to shop at Tesco as preparation for visitors next weekend. Away again seeing a boat just pulling away from the next lock as we arrived; we caught them at the next lock & then shared the remaining 3 with Roger & Helen (but I forgot their boat name). Lovely couple from Swindon, he having an old working boat he is restoring as well as the 57' one we shared locks with. I was very envious of his 1923 Riley that competed at Brooklands as well as on hill climbs. We cruised on until 7, tieing up alongside Tattenhall Marina....what a long day, the weather improving all day!

Lily in front, Beeston Castle behind
Tues 14th and a fantastic day, on with the shorts & off with the shirt at last, though it was so sunny it went back on after a while. We stopped at the cafe by the Iron Lock at the recommendation of Angela whom we had met 2 weeks earlier, having a lovely coffee & meeting her again as she was helping out her friend. Arranged a meeting one evening later in the week with her & Mike, sadly scrubbed as he developed a nasty dose of something horrible from Egypt. Don't know what was going on but we crossed about 10 boats in the first hour, we then cruised on easily to turn into the Middlewich Branch & come to a rapid halt just before the first lock as we met Carol & Tony (from Leics IWA) heading towards Chester. Canalside chat about this & that before we cruised on through 2 locks stopping just before br 12 overlooking Church Minshull in a lovely spot though we couldn't get tight in.
Not a tree but a telegraph pole covered in ivy

Wed 15th Cloudy but warm at first, fine drizzle at 12, downpours from 2 till 4 then brighter, sunny as we moored up, only to start drizzling on the washing after it had been pegged out!

We were away at 9.30 and cruised steadily into Middlewich, stopping just past br 28 to have a look at the town, not worth it! Saw 'Gerald' with Roy & dog Thomas tied up for the weekend's Festival, we haven't seen him since Bulls Bridge 2 years ago & before that at Loughborough a couple of years earlier. I used to meet Roy regularly as I was taking late post to the late post box in Leicester & he was still working as a mail delivery driver. Got drenched as we started off after lunch and whilst we worked our way through the last 5 locks on the Trent & Mersey. Shared last lock with Pot of Gold, a charity boat based at Preston Brook. Fantastic charity, all self funded & they just charge £110 per day for up to 12 guests. They have a good fund raiser & around 90 volunteers. We tied up for the night just before br 175.
A wreck in a flash near Anderton

Thurs 16th Brightish start, showers soon, rain followed, we were off at 9.30 for a steady, lock free, cruise to Anderton, using the very good services block just before the lift, though the washer/dryer had died & they couldn't afford a replacement. We went down the lift at 2.15 by which time it was bright. The trip down is so smooth, taking about 30 mins, we had the caisson to ourselves. We then had a gentle cruise up into Northwich, trying for a mooring on the west bank as was recommended to us, but it was full, so we tied up to the wall opposite to the services block. We were a little concerned about the location just to the rear of McDonalds, but we need not have worried as it shut fairly early & quite a few of the pubs nearby were closed. Car drivers in Northwich know that there are no traffic wardens around judging by their respect for the double yellow lines along the river wall!

First view of Anderton Lift
It was Thursday so guess where we ate! Wetherspoons curry night, and a very good guest ale.

Fri 17th The forecast was awful, windy & heavy rain, so we decided to stay put and walked to the Salt Museum, except it is now called the Weaver Museum on the Brown signs, though still called the Salt museum on other signs. It is based in the old workhouse and is very interesting, though can be noisy with school parties. At £2 (concessions) it was an interesting 1 1/2 hours, and we learnt why there were no old buildings in the town as they had all collapsed or fallen on their side due to sudden subsidence caused by brine pumping. It also explained how in the earlier years of the 20th century, buildings were built on a ring beam foundation so that if they were hit by subsidence, then they could be jacked up to level again.
Reaching the bottom of the lift

Weather....a fine day with only a very short period of light drizzle! Forecasters.......!!

Sat 18th and a better forecast today so we were ready for the off upstream to Winsford, just as the heavens opened, and it carried on that way nearly all day. We didn't move & I spent a fair bit of time moving things around from my netbook into the backup drive, except that when I do the simple "backup" operation, not everything gets copied. As such I then have to spend a long time checking what has been copied & what hasn't. Later on I backed other stuff onto DVD & then cleared space on my hard drive, I just don't fancy storing it all on Picasa lest it gets lost. We also got ready for our Sunday guests.
Leaving the boat lift, I was on the bows

Sun 19th and our friends Stephanie & Geoffrey joined us at Anderton. They had been with us exactly a year earlier in Huntingdon by pure coincidence. Weather was very kind, the lunch & tea Carol made was wonderful and we all enjoyed our little cruise back from Anderton to Northwich & then onto the lift. I had paid £5 to secure the last lift up at 5, but I needn't have bothered as we were on our own. We were told that after we had left the caisson, it would be lowered to river level for the night, which necessitates a big pumping job each morning to bring it up to height: I don't understand why they do this as I'm sure they would be able to keep it up at high level fairly easily.
Our mooring against the wall before swing bridge

Our luck was in for as we left the lift a mooring close by became vacant making our guests' walk to the car park at gone 7 very easy. A lovely day & good to catch up with them again.





BW's very grand offices in Northwich

Salt Museum in Northwich




Obeying double yellow lines
with kerb flashes!













Ring beam on post was Council Houses in Northwich


Us at Anderton. The badge I'm wearing
says I'm the boss, I wore it on Fathers Day
Carol wears it now






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