The Tuesday Night Club Official Web Site

The Tuesday Night Club on Tour

Index

Tour 2003

Index

10 - Ellesmere Port to Fiddler's Ferry. Manchester Ship Canal, Upper Tidal River Mersey and Sankey Canal. 

Sunday 29th June 2003

John Chapman "The Navigator" and Frank Smith, the West Bank (Widnes) Yacht Club Secretary (carrying a combination of ALL local knowledge of the totally uncharted Mersey above Eastham) arrived just in time for a 07:30 departure for a zoom down to Eastham Sea Locks, the exit of the Manchester Ship Canal out into the Mersey. VTS gave us clearance for departure and to be locked straight out at 08:00, some 3 hours before high water Eastham. We knew this was much to early, but were warned by Nigel Bowker, the barge master who accompanied Chris Coburn, that Eastham have a habit of buggering about pleasure craft departures. 
Arrival at 08:00 Eastham were true to form and we had to wait for the Westminster Dredging Co's suction dredger "WD Severn" and a MSCC tug to enter first. We were placed right behind the rather large "WD Severn", Neil expecting them to get some glee at us being blown about as it left. We eventually entered the large "80ft" (wide) lock at 08:25 and exited at 08:55. As the dredger was about to leave Neil tied on and we stayed put as the tug was blown about - Ho Ho! 
It was straight down the Eastham Channel, for a bit to clear the entrance dolphins (wooden markers) and the known damaged remains of further dolphins downstream. Eventually at 09:05 we turned and started up stream, rather gingerly on the Springs (8.6M Liverpool) flood. As expected we soon had a controlled grounding as we did not clear the Eastham Sands. After about 15 mins we stopped sliding across the sands and were off. 
Ince Bank was caught at around 09:45 (we should have been further over the northern side) and at 10:00 we floated off and started to make rapid progress. Eastham was in constant contact and seemed rather unduly concerned about our groundings. A passing and circling police helicopter was given the thumbs up sign and soon shot off. 
From now on Frank Smith expertly guided us up the channel to Runcorn Bridges, from Hale Head (10:25), now close to the north shore. Just before Runcorn Bridges (10:55) we had some difficult manoeuvres, as we had to swing out from the bank (to avoid some nasty underwater sticky out sheet piles, that had only recently sliced the keel of a visiting yacht.) and go across the flood to go through the central arch of the railway bridge. 
All went well, just as well as we had now caught up with the full bore of the flood. We were taking the now main southern channel, which we saw on our reccy goes hard to the south bank. Around Old Quay the scour / erosion had uncovered a nasty line of piles, part of old bank protection. We knew where the covered section of the piles were and past between these and the just visible ones with out incident. 
Half way to Fiddler's Ferry we, as predicted grounded again. Here the flood was weak and we hung around for about 15 mins as a cheeky very shallow draughted catamaran from Fiddler's wandered about without grounding using a small outboard (no sails and centre board up!) 
Owing to the very obstructive behaviour of a certain other "Captain", who claimed "ownership" of the water above Warrington Bridges, "Captain" Arlidge decided to heed the threats and only proceed to Fiddler's Ferry. At least here we would be rather more welcome and could be the first narrowboat to enter the lock since it's re-instatement by Warrington Borough Council, to serve the small yacht harbour, which is, of course a small section of the Sankey Canal, with dropped bridges replacing the swing bridges at each end. 
We still had plenty of flood left when we arrived at Fiddler's Ferry, more than enough to have got us up to Warrington and Howley Weir. After Ian had negotiated the many small yachts and did a rather "in one" wind against the flood, Neil took over to do the very slow, controlled approach to the lock against the still fierce flood. Coming as close as we dared to the bank, the bow was put in and a sudden burst of full power used to heave the stern round, which by this time was still in the force of the flood. A small "pivot" was done on the upstream lock wing wall, but we were soon of and a controlled entrance into the 70ft lock chamber (pass at 12:15 and in at 12:30). 
There was rather a large welcoming committee, including Anthony Dooley (who must have a rather good video!), Steve Parish and David Long from SCARS. 
At 12:50 we were tied up in pole position, ready for our departure the next day. A 25.9Mile trip in 3 Hours 10 minutes. That night we walked into town and went to the rather indifferent "Wacky Warehouse" pub, the "New Inn" - well at least it was still serving food on a Sunday evening. Unfortunately the "Ferry Inn" pub, on the pleasant waterside was not doing food. The weather for our passage was a perfect Force 2, Westerly.

Dscn0992.jpg (47573 bytes)
Leaving Ellesmere Port. Manchester Ship Canal.

Dscn0993.jpg (41545 bytes)
Ellesmere Port Wharf. Manchester Ship Canal.

Dscn0995.jpg (44140 bytes)
Ellesmere Port Wharf. Manchester Ship Canal.

Dscn0997.jpg (43288 bytes)
The very pleasant Manisty Cutting . Manchester Ship Canal.

Dscn0999.jpg (52886 bytes)
Ellesmere Port Manisty Wharf. Manchester Ship Canal.

Dscn1001.jpg (39799 bytes)
Ellesmere Port Manisty Wharf. Manchester Ship Canal.

Dscn1002.jpg (49432 bytes)
Eastham Straight. Manchester Ship Canal.

Dscn1005.jpg (45655 bytes)
Eastham Straight. Manchester Ship Canal.

Dscn1006.jpg (47748 bytes)
Eastham. Manchester Ship Canal.

Dscn1007.jpg (87089 bytes)
Rather a lot of boat graffiti on Sheer Legs Oil Berth. Eastham. Manchester Ship Canal.

Dscn1010.jpg (42607 bytes)
Eastham Locks. Manchester Ship Canal.

Dscn1012.jpg (31652 bytes)
We hang around at Eastham Locks to wait for WD Severn and a MSCC Tug. Manchester Ship Canal.

Dscn1013.jpg (69602 bytes)
Eastham Locks. MSCC Tug Audrey. Manchester Ship Canal.

Dsc07502.jpg (80007 bytes)
Eastham Locks. Waiting to go down to the Mersey. Manchester Ship Canal.

Dscn1015.jpg (62070 bytes)
Eastham Locks. Manchester Ship Canal.

Dsc07504.jpg (93573 bytes)
Eastham Locks. Departure into the Mersey. Manchester Ship Canal.

Dsc07506.jpg (86742 bytes)
Leaving Eastham Locks of the Manchester Ship Canal and off into the Mersey.

Dscn1018.jpg (80808 bytes)
Leaving Eastham Locks of the Manchester Ship Canal and off into the Mersey. Ian Clarke, Frank Smith, John Chapman and Martin Clark.

Dscn1019.jpg (59272 bytes)
Leaving Eastham Locks of the Manchester Ship Canal and off into the Mersey.

Dsc07510.jpg (32565 bytes)
Leaving Eastham Locks of the Manchester Ship Canal and off into the Mersey.

Dsc07507.jpg (40085 bytes)
Looking down the Mersey, it does not look very far to Liverpool. Notice the crap state of the entrance Dolphins.

Dscn1023.jpg (37444 bytes)
Looking down the Mersey.

Dscn1024.jpg (64126 bytes)
Looking back at Eastham. Mersey Estuary.

Dscn1025.jpg (43452 bytes)
Looking back at Eastham. We have now turned and are heading upstream with the flood.

Dscn1027.jpg (26104 bytes)
Looking back at Eastham. Mersey Estuary.

Dscn1028.jpg (54155 bytes)
Looking back at Eastham. Mersey Estuary.

Dscn1029.jpg (20451 bytes)
Looking back at Eastham. Mersey Estuary.

Dscn1031.jpg (24064 bytes)
We are now over the north side. Liverpool Airport. Mersey Estuary.

Dscn1032.jpg (25707 bytes)
Looking back. Mersey Estuary.

Dscn1033.jpg (33788 bytes)
Waiting for water by Ince banks. Stanlow in the distance. Mersey Estuary.

Dscn1035.jpg (25235 bytes)~
Approaching Hale Head. Weston Point in the distance. Mersey Estuary.

Dscn1036.jpg (28230 bytes)
Approaching Hale Head. Weston Point in the distance. Mersey Estuary.

Dsc07512.jpg (36706 bytes)
Hale Head. Mersey Estuary.

Dscn1037.jpg (18829 bytes)
Looking across to Weston Point. Mersey Estuary.

Dscn1040.jpg (21398 bytes)
Runcorn Bridges come into view. Mersey Estuary.

Dscn1041.jpg (47821 bytes)
Stuck again! Looking back downstream. Mersey Estuary.

Dsc07516.jpg (35065 bytes)
Looking back at Seldom Seem Rocks. Mersey Estuary.

Dscn1042.jpg (29360 bytes)
Alongside Hale Gate Marsh. Mersey Estuary.

Dscn1043.jpg (30125 bytes)
We are tight to the northern bank. Runcorn Bridges in the distance. Mersey Estuary.

Dscn1044.jpg (38958 bytes)
The fridge seems to know the way! Mersey Estuary.

Dscn1045.jpg (61039 bytes)
We really are a bit early on the flood! Mersey Estuary.

Dscn1047.jpg (46741 bytes)
Looking back. Mersey Estuary.

Dscn1049.jpg (35424 bytes)
Getting up towards Runcorn Bridges. Mersey Estuary.

Dscn1050.jpg (80379 bytes)
New footbridge. Mersey Estuary.

Dscn1051.jpg (28771 bytes)
Looking back from Runcorn Bridges. Getting up towards Runcorn Bridges. Mersey Estuary.

Dscn1052.jpg (29855 bytes)
Looking across to Runcorn and Weston Docks. Mersey Estuary.

Dsc07522.jpg (52269 bytes)
Runcorn Bridges. Neil now on depth sounding with barge pole. Mersey Estuary.

Dsc07523.jpg (56119 bytes)
Runcorn Bridges. Mersey Estuary.

Dsc07524.jpg (85240 bytes)
Runcorn Bridges. Neil now on depth sounding with barge pole - we seem to have 8ft here! Mersey Estuary.

Dsc07527.jpg (73834 bytes)
Runcorn Bridges. Going through on tickover with the flood. Mersey Estuary.

Dsc07528.jpg (63944 bytes)
Runcorn Bridges. Mersey Estuary.

Dsc07529.jpg (53120 bytes)
Runcorn Bridges. Mersey Estuary.

Dsc07530.jpg (81776 bytes)
A lovely un-posed picture of Frank Smith and Ian Clarke - who you can see are intently concentrating. Just upstream of the Runcorn Bridges. Tidal River Mersey.

Dsc07534.jpg (52782 bytes)
Anthony Dooley captures us on video from Bank Quay. Tidal River Mersey.

Dscn1055.jpg (61687 bytes)
Now safely past the Runcorn Bridges we have still to get through the nasty piled section of channel. The entrance to Old Quay Lock can be seen on the left. Tidal River Mersey.

Dscn1054.jpg (44709 bytes)
Looking across to Widnes and the Spike Island entrance lock. Tidal River Mersey.

Dscn1056.jpg (35577 bytes)
Looking across to Widnes and the Spike Island entrance lock. Tidal River Mersey.

Dscn1058.jpg (83825 bytes)
Passing Old Quay Swing Bridge, on the MSC . Notice the evil line of piles extending into the channel. Tidal River Mersey.

Dscn1053.jpg (122028 bytes)
The disused Old Quay Side Lock would make the safest connection between the Upper River Mersey and the MSC. Tidal River Mersey.

Dscn1059.jpg (33783 bytes)
Looking back at the Runcorn Bridges. Tidal River Mersey.

Dsc07535.jpg (34731 bytes)
Fiddler's Ferry Power Station. Tidal River Mersey.

Dsc07538.jpg (38492 bytes)
The cheeky VERY shallow draughted catamaran. We are grounded, waiting for water. Tidal River Mersey.

Dscn1062.jpg (28468 bytes)
Looking back at Runcorn Bridges. We have just started off again. Tidal River Mersey.

Dscn1064.jpg (34135 bytes)
We are making for the piled wall near the pylon, which is where the channel is. Daresbury Labs in the distance. Tidal River Mersey.

Dscn1065.jpg (30755 bytes)
Looking back from Randalls Sluices. Tidal River Mersey.

Dscn1066.jpg (44761 bytes)
Disused Randalls Sluices of the MSC, just beyond the pylon. Tidal River Mersey.

Dscn1067.jpg (60621 bytes)
Strange boilings near Randalls Sluices. Tidal River Mersey.

Dscn1069.jpg (38213 bytes)
Looking up, Fiddler's Ferry in the distance. Tidal River Mersey.

Dscn1071.jpg (33893 bytes)
Fiddler's Ferry in the distance. Tidal River Mersey.

Dscn1073.jpg (45031 bytes)
Looking across to Daresbury. Tidal River Mersey.

Dscn1075.jpg (39508 bytes)
Fiddler's Ferry.  Tidal River Mersey.

Dscn1076.jpg (51473 bytes)
Fiddler's Ferry.  Tidal River Mersey.

Dscn1077.jpg (45715 bytes)
Fiddler's Ferry.  The lock is just beyond the first two sail boats. Tidal River Mersey.

Dscn1078.jpg (81435 bytes)
Fiddler's Ferry Lock.  Tidal River Mersey.

Dscn1079.jpg (95450 bytes)
Fiddler's Ferry Lock.  Tidal River Mersey.

Dsc07543.jpg (47720 bytes)
Fiddler's Ferry.  We go upstream to pull in against the flood. Tidal River Mersey.

Dscn1081.jpg (60455 bytes)
Fiddler's Ferry Marina.  Tidal River Mersey.

Dscn1082.jpg (49560 bytes)
Fiddler's Ferry.  Sewage works outfall. Tidal River Mersey.

Dscn1083.jpg (66932 bytes)
Ian pulls round against the flood. Fiddler's Ferry. Tidal River Mersey.

Dsc07544.jpg (41076 bytes)
Neil gets down to steal Ian's thunder! Fiddler's Ferry. Tidal River Mersey.

Dsc07545.jpg (92416 bytes)
Creeping up to to Fiddler's Ferry Lock. Tidal River Mersey.

Dsc07546.jpg (55493 bytes)
Fiddler's Ferry Lock. Tidal River Mersey.

Dsc07547.jpg (76049 bytes)
Fiddler's Ferry Lock. Tidal River Mersey.

Dscn1085.jpg (107866 bytes)
Fiddler's Ferry Lock. Sankey Canal.

Dsc07552.jpg (92397 bytes)
Fiddler's Ferry Lock. Sankey Canal.

Dscn1087.jpg (87266 bytes)
Fiddler's Ferry Lock. Sankey Canal.

Dscn1089.jpg (67011 bytes)
Fiddler's Ferry Lock. Sankey Canal.

Dscn1093.jpg (120691 bytes)
Fiddler's Ferry Lock. Sankey Canal.

Dsc07553.jpg (126981 bytes)
Fiddler's Ferry Lock. Sankey Canal.

Dsc07555.jpg (126188 bytes)
Fiddler's Ferry Lock. Sankey Canal.

Dsc07556.jpg (122976 bytes)
Fiddler's Ferry Lock. Sankey Canal.

Dsc07563.jpg (112659 bytes)
Leaving Fiddler's Ferry Lock and onto the Sankey Canal!............the first narrowboat to do so since it's re-opening.

Dsc07565.jpg (93134 bytes)
Fiddler's Ferry Lock. Sankey Canal.

Dsc07568.jpg (104270 bytes)
Reversing back to our mooring on the Sankey Canal.

Dsc07571.jpg (85426 bytes)
Moored up on the Sankey Canal.

Dsc07581.jpg (122930 bytes)
The Rev. David Long, chairman of SCARS welcomes Neil to the Sankey Canal and presents him with a SCARS mug.

Dscn1097.jpg (104700 bytes)
The entrance to Fiddler's Ferry Lock  - now you see why we wanted to approach it from upstream against a flood tide! Sankey Canal.

The Tour Continues...


Tuesday Night Club Members | The History of The Tuesday Night Club
Home Page | "Earnest" | "Beatty" | Canal Restoration