Friday 14 September 2012

Weaver Trip - Day 7

Thursday 31st May 2012

Left our moorings under a threatening sky and shared the first two locks with another two boats that were rafted together. We then moored in Northwich as it began to rain very heavily. It was pouring with rain but this didn't dampen Elaine's spirit to visit Marks & Spencer! After a soaking, visiting the shops, we moved up to the sanitary station before pushing on. Because of the weather, we failed to really enjoy this historic little town but vowed to return again.
Northwich has a fantastic road swing bridge that was in fact the first electrically operated swing bridge in the UK.
We cruised on down through Saltersford and Dutton Locks to reach the end of, sensible, navigation at Weston Marsh Lock. This is the lock that links the River Weaver to the Manchester Ship Canal.
As we turned, a large wide beam boat 'lazy days' was just coming up in Weston Marsh Lock; assisted by British Waterways. It wasn't long before this boat was close behind us and it finally passed us as we pulled over at Devils Garden Moorings to wave him past.
We then both pushed on to the lock where we both moored for the evening as the lock was now closed. It proved to be a lovely mooring although we knew we had to move off early in the morning as these were the moorings for the lock.

Moored below Dutton Lock

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Weaver Trip - Day 6

Wednesday 30th May 2012
Woke to another glorious morning and I wandered down to the Anderton Lift Office to make arrangements for our passage. We were booked onto the 10.45am slot and had to be in the holding area for 10.15am. At 10.15 prompt we moored in the holding area outside the gift shop where we bought two brass plaques (Weaver Navigation and Anderton Lift) Buying them slightly sooner than we were entitled as we hadn't made the passage yet; but I guessed we couldn't really go back now!

Exiting the Anderton Lift onto the River Weaver! (picking up watermarks from the dribbles off the guillotine gate that became known as the Anderton Spots)
We had a very enjoyable cruise up the Weaver to Winford passing through two locks. Although the locks are very large there seemed to be a lot less surge than on a normal narrow lock! Plus; all the work was done by someone else!
We passed the "final British waterways recommended winding point" and moored outside the Red Lion Pub where I took on two pints of 'Dutch courage' (Black Sheep) before proceeding beyond the recommended extent of navigation to wind in the mouth of Winsford Bottom Flash!
We then headed back down the river to some lovely looking moorings above Vale Royal Locks (Northwich).
The sun had been beating down all day and I was now struggling from sun stroke. We enjoyed the serenity of the quiet river and its wildlife coupled with the novelty of mooring in wide water.
I was amazed at the lack of flow on the river and think there is probably more flow on the Llangollen!
An evening of Trivial Pursuits before going to bed!

Leaving the Anderton Lift and turning onto the Weaver

Vale Royal Moorings - very quiet!
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Weaver Trip - Day 5

Tuesday 29th May 2012

Woke at 6.45am on an overcast morning with all the potential to turn into a scorcher!
We moved off at 8.00am up to the water point for a top up. Cruising up to Middlewich I picked up a few voicemails and dealt with a few problems - free of charge to my employer!!!
At Middlewich just before Big Lock we assisted in the rescue of a drowning pigeon. It had fallen into the cut and according to a boatman on the towpath only had minutes to live before our intervention. It was rescued and the boatman returned to his boat carrying the weak bird for resuscitation; to the delight of his wife! As we cruised on, the bird was recovering and receiving the treatment more befitting to a rare breed!!
At Anderton we moored ready, and excited, for a morning decent down to the River Weaver.

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Weaver Trip - Day 4

Monday 28th May 2012

A very early alarm at 6.30am! A quick bowl of cereal for breakfast so we could move off up to Harecastle Tunnel portal as early as possible. We were keen to cruise as far as we could each day on this first part of the trip, up to Middlewich, as this we were cruising over well cruised ground and the new waters of the Weaver were waiting for us.
Arriving at the Tunnel at 7.30am we were the third boat in the queue; though unusually they were allowing boats from the north through the tunnel first! It was 8.30am before we entered (plenty of time for photographs and Facebook updates etc.).

Waiting in the early morning queue at Harecastle Tunnel.

We timed our passage to perfection taking exactly 40 mins to pass through!
We have an auxiliary plug in tunnel light that we have never used until today and it was a real benefit (plugged in at the back of the boat) lighting up far more of the tunnel!

The auxiliary tunnel light in action!

The weather was red hot with very little breeze and although we tree hard not to grumble about it, it was challenging travelling down heartbreak hill! (25 locks and 10 miles).
The Broughton Arms provided an unscheduled mooring for lunch with a great couple of pints and the best gammon steak I have eaten in ages!
We finally arrived in Wheelock at 4.30pm where we moored for the evening.

The Broughton Arms - Great Lunchtime Stop!

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Weaver Trip - Day 3

Sunday 27th May 2012

A very early start moving off at 7.00am. A plan that paid-off! Allowed us to travel during the cooler part of the day, avoided all the queues at locks and got pick of the moorings at Westport Lake in Stoke.

A mooring in the shade at Westport Lake, Stoke.

We watched the Monaco Grand Prix; which was the usual procession with all the gilts and glamour of a film festival!
In the late afternoon Elaine and I had a walk around Westport Lake, before dinner on the boat.

It was another great day weather-wise and looking forward to the forecast good weather tomorrow. (It was bound to be sunny anyway; as it's Monday! Aren't all Mondays glorious or does it just seem like that when you are stuck in an office at work!)

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Weaver Trip - Day 2

Saturday 26th May 2012

We were up early as we needed to drive our car to Tattenhall (near Chester) and pick up a taxi back to Great Haywood so the car would be at the right marina at the end of our cruise.
At Tattenhall we arrived just after the office opened and quite quickly picked our summer mooring! The marina is still very much under occupied and everyone has at least one spare space next to them. It's a little sad that the marina is so sparsely occupied but it makes mooring up in strong wind all the easier without neighbouring boats!
Our Taxi (Aries Taxis from Tarporley) arrived promptly as usual (we last used their services in the Summer of 2011). Not only are they reliable but they drive Volvos; and sadly I'm a fan of the Swedish mark!
Don (the driver/owner) and I were in deep conversation sharing Volvo tales and generally discussing the merits of driving Volvos. Don thought I was conscious of where he was driving and I thought Don (being the driver) knew where he was going. It was Wolverhampton before we both realised this was not the route back to Great Haywood! However, the trip around the outskirts of Stafford to get us back on track was quite enjoyable. We were back at the Marina before lunch and still in good time to enjoy the Monaco Grand Prix Qualifiers and have some lunch before pulling out of the marina at 2.15pm.
Had a very enjoyable cruise up through Stone until we encountered three youths at the top of the Meaford Flight at dusk. They were spending their evening dismantling the canal bridge parapet and throwing large chunks of brickwork into the canal. We challenged them and notably, and rather annoyingly, I failed to snare them (they were quicker on their bikes than I was on foot), the mobile signal was poor and it was getting dark!
By the time we finally arrived at Barlaston to moor for the evening it was twilight.

A queue at Weston Lock (can't grumble the weather was fantastic)!

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Weaver Trip - Day 1

Friday 25th May 2012
Travelled down to Great Haywood in very busy traffic and passed a record number of accidents (thankfully all on the opposite carriageway!). Offloaded, what seemed like, a wagon full of provisions out of the car and piled onto the boat. It made me reflect on why we don't have a motor home and instead on how accommodating the boat can be in terms of Tare Weight in comparison to that of a motorhome (our contents on the boat must now out way the weight of ballast)!
I had a brief wander around the marina taking a few photos as tomorrow we would be starting our journey to move the bat up to Tattenhall near Chester; for the summer.

Great Haywood Marina( just before sunset).

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