Friday, 16 September 2016

River Weaver Wanderings pictures to come

Friday 16 September 2016 up the Weaver from Saltersford to Northwich
A rainy night and cloudy morning saw us leaving the scenic visitor moorings (room for half a dozen boats, if you count the lock landing) below Saltersford Lock. We had said at Dutton lock that we would pass through Saltersford when they open at 0900, so we dressed for wind and showers for the three mile trip to Northwich, to view and maybe try the new town marina between the bridges. The huge salt works had been nibbled away even more by the demolishers: Only the working "Air Liquide" works opposite the Boat Lift will be left. Reaching Northwich on market day, we quickly used the services to empty loo holding tanks and get rid of rubbish before squeezing in on the visitor moorings opposite the pretty full new marina. The whole town side has been redeveloped since we were here last, although there is no chandlers nearer than Midland Chandlers at Preston Brook.

Thursday 15 September  Frodsham market and from Sutton Weaver Bridge to Saltersford

We both needed a rest after walking a long mile back from Frodsham, so got the chairs and table out on the bank. Later on, we set off up river to Acton Bridge, meeting at least half a dozen scullers on the way, from the rowing club just above Acton Bridge. We were following a small narrowboat with master, ex-soldier Jim and dog Rosie! After a walk up to the canal and back, we continued to much quieter moorings below Saltersford Lock, preceded by a cormorant. Overlooking the lock was a large willow tree with about twenty cormorants arriving to roost in the approaching dusk, quacking like ducks. A grebe lazily floated below the lock, head on shoulders. We had arranged to moor here and go up the lock next morning, as they close about five.

Wednesday 14 September A gorgeous day exploring the lower Weaver
Today, the plan was to travel all the way down the Weaver to the Mersey, so we set off inglorious sunshine through Saltersford Lock. They didn't answer either VHF channel 74 or the mobile, so we just arrived! The lock keepers unhurriedly used the larger lock, telling us they also cut grass and tend flowers when time allows. The scenery is sublime, We passed under Acton Bridge to Dutton Lock and onwards, noting the visitors moorings were not quite as in Pearsons guide in all cases. The river splits away for the last couple of miles, leaving us to travel down the navigation past a mile of chemical works before we paused to take photos at Weston Marsh Lock, the tidal lock with views of the mouth of the Weaver and the Ship Canal, plus the distant Mersey mud flats. We then continued up the deep Weston Canal two thirds of a mile, with the Chlorine works all along the right bank. We moored in front of the simple swing bridge which prevented us getting into Weston Docks and reaching the distant boarded up church visible at the far end of the dock through the bridge, which looked perfectly clear and navigable. The docks were being used to store pallets of chemicals, so we just popped ashore to take pictures from the bridge before making our way back up the Weaver to visitor moorings just up river of Sutton Weaver Bridge (not at the services on the opposite side, below the bridge, marked as moorings in Pearsons guide). We made the best of a lovely evening, reading on the bank with a glass of wine, etc. Happy Days!

Tuesday 13 September the Anderton Boat Lift
After a busy few days at home, completing various tasks, we arrived back at Anderton in plenty of time for our 1630 descent onto the River Weaver. John moved Annie to the services opposite Anderton Marina (where for two years we  moored our share boat Osprey), where we loaded up and did the usual jobs. Reaching the Boat Lift, we were asked to descend early, so happily chatted to the two staff as we did so. A mile or so down river, we moored on one of the two pleasant visitor moorings, well used by a number of boats.

Leeds & Liverpool cruise from Liverpool via the Bridgewater Canal to Anderton unfinished pictures to come

Thursday 8 September Homewards from Anderton
Bridge 206 has a good view of the Weaver below Saltisford Lock. Today, Liana decided to walk the three miles back to the car at Midland Chandlers, Prestonbrook, while John took Annie through the Saltisford and Barnton tunnels to Anderton. Liana got rained on, unfortunately. The shorter 400m Saltisford tunnel has timed movements, South for 20 minutes on the half hour, North ditto on the hour, because it is so bendy, you can't see the other end until you reach the middle! At Anderton Boat Lift, we booked passages down and up because there is Winsford Regatta on when we return, so the lift may be busy. You can turn up and use it for no charge, if you have a CRT license, bit booking costs £5.
A phone call to the friendly CRT Enforcement Officer gave us permission to overstay on the 48 hour visitor moorings while we go home to catch up on family, house, church and Lions Club activities.

Wednesday 7 September 2016 Runcorn and on to the Trent and Mersey Canal
Our mooring in the country just outside Higher Walton, near Thomason's Bridge, was pretty and not too noisy: Just a gentle hum of traffic in the distance. The fine day beckoned, so we enjoyed the morning sun and scenery, stopping at the excellent stores at Moore for milk, water and a paper. After a gentle hour or so, passing the Daresbury Science Park, modern and expensive looking (stainless steel benches overlooking the canal), we turned right onto the Runcorn Arm in the shadow of the large M56 bridge. Naturally, we met a boat! The lovely weather showed this 4.5 mile length of canal at its best: While there was a view onto open country on the right, the left side has been filled with decent quality new housing this century. We have to admire the way that the Bridge water Canal has been maintained, with good towpaths and painted cranes with stop planks wherever needed. We enjoyed the whole trip to the basin in Runcorn. The Waterloo pub is now a Sikh temple, sadly for the drinkers! The town is fairly ordinary, but ok, with an excellent bookshop called The Old Curiosity Bookshop in the High Street. Before Liana took the train from the nearby station to Litherland to collect the car, we found the filled in locks and walked up from the Ship Canal back to the basin. Strictly speaking, the “basin” is not the original end – the two sets of ten locks passed through the right and left hand arches of the blocked bridge at the end to a basin beyond, then down to the docks. Maybe, one day …..
John motored back to Midland Chandlers near the junction to meet Liana. Leaving the car, we took Annie through Preston Brook Tunnel (South on the half hour) and up the few inches of Dutton Stop Lock. Ironically, we passed five boats moored at the site of the 2012 Dutton breach, as the lack of hedges gave a great view of the Weaver valley. We moored further on, looking down on Dutton Lock and the Acton Swing Bridge.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Liverpool visit Saturday 20 August to Thursday 25 August

Thursday 25 August: The leaving of Liverpool
John had to leave the front right engine mounting bracket off, as the studs had broken: Another job to get sorted quickly. Annie had to be at Mann Lock, close to Albert Dock, by 0800, ready for the CRT staff to see three narrowboats and a widebeam through all the docks and locks.

Liana and Annie facing Liverpool 1 in Canning Dock, after leaving Salthouse and Albert Docks

boats entering Mann lock: There were no pontoon moorings

passing in front of the Three Graces

looking back at the Liver Building from Mann Lock
It was much more enjoyable in mild, calm weather, and we could take our time, following two boats. Once up the four Stanley locks, it was a short trip to Litherland's secure CRT services and moorings, where we left Annie for a long weekend with family and friends.

the hexagonal Victoria Tower in Salisbury Dock, where you turn right for the four Stanley Locks

After turning right, you pass under the girder bridge and past the huge brick warehouses, being converted into hotels / flats

the largest brick warehouse in Europe

through the bridge to Stanley Locks

Liana operating the lock ratchet mechanism to open the huge bottom gates

Stanley Locks. The CRT men were great.

leaving the top of Stanley Locks

back on the L&L

I hope this wonderful 1819 warehouse survives
Annie moored at Litherland 14 day moorings with CRT services

Sunday-Wednesday: The visit
We had been told we would love Liverpool: They were right! We visited the Maritime Museum, the Slavery Museum next door at Albert Dock and the museum of Liverpool, all close to the boat. We had free electricity, probably so we didn't run our engines. We visited the Walker Art gallery twice, it was so good. The massive, red sandstone Anglican Cathedral contrasted with the light touch of the designer of the 1960s Roman Catholic Cathedral. We used our National Trust card to visit 59 Rodney Street, a time warp photographers near the cathedrals. Liverpool 1 is a 42 acre shopping area! Anfield was visited, to see the new stand. We could not believe the number of tourists from all around the world, all having a good time. We went on the ferry across the Mersey. We walked and bussed around the city, and shopped a little. We had a great time.

Saturday 20 August: The Arrival
Wigan CRT staff had recommended mooring just before bridge 10, in the country: Mooring pins, but pleasant scenery. However, John's hands slipped on the mallet in the rain, and it plopped into the canal, never to be seen again, despite him spending an hour or so fishing with the magnet! Hi, ho!

We set off at 8.30, leaving plenty of time to reach swing bridge 9, a mile away, before the CRT staff arrived at 9.30 to open this bridge and bridge 6, too, for us.
weedy canal between bridges 10 and 9

The CRT men await you at swing bridge 9  at 0930

convoy into Liverpool

Liana passing Aintree

At Litherland, we stopped briefly to empty loo holding tanks, as they charge &10 a cassette in Liverpool!
Litherland CRT Services: Empty the loo here

lovely bridges close to Stanley locks
We had to travel the eight miles to the locks at Stanley before 1PM, when the CRT staff arrived to operate the four locks, with some help from Liana.
Annie in Stanley Top Lock, waiting for the CRT lock keepers

you turn right off the canal into Stanley Locks

Festina Lente made haste slowly down the locks with us!

Titanic Hotel to right, massive brick warehouse to left
this bridge must have worked like Keadby Bridge at Scunthorpe: Add water to the bucket on left to lift it.

turn left at the Victoria clock tower
SIDS Ditch was dug through filled in docks. At this stage, it was wet and very windy! The Ocean Liner shows we were exposed to the Mersey winds from the west.

John had to look for this gap

concrete channels joined some docks
First leave buoys to right, then in next dock leave buoys to left

Liver Birds in sight!

Approaching lock

tunnels in front of the Three Graces
Museum of Liverpool

Mann Lock

Annie entering Albert Dock
passing through Albert Dock to Salthouse Dock

Annie moored in Salthouse Dock