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Tour 2003

Index

11 - Fiddler's Ferry to Widnes. Upper Tidal River Mersey and Sankey Canal.

Monday 30th June 2003

After a bit of a rest in the morning we were locked out of Fiddler's Ferry Lock at 13:00, to punch the last half hour of flood, to be sure of not getting stuck on any of the sands on a falling tide. This was in absolutely foul weather, driving rain, low cloud and misty. Frank Smith was again our guide and we decided to go the easier northern channel route. This would not involve any manoeuvres in front of the Runcorn Bridges. 
Dave Croft managed to get some very good moody pictures of our arrival at Spike Island (West Bank, Widnes) Lock. We did in fact touch the top of one of the sand ridges (by now on a falling tide), but Ian took off the power and we drifted back into the narrow channel, so a "Chris Coburn" was narrowly averted. 
As usual Neil stole Ian's thunder and did a rather good entrance into the waiting lock, surrounded by many onlookers. (13:50) After a trip round the basin we moored up pride of place, right outside the club house. Of course we were the second "modern" narrow boat to enter Widnes Lock on the isolated bottom section of the Sankey having been upstaged by the "other" salty narrowboater! 
That afternoon, good old Frank Smith took us on a reccy trip up to Runcorn Hill to see the channel out below Runcorn, with our own eyes. Due to a rather nasty haze, the course below Hale Head was impossible to see. Frank also took us to see the "end " of the Bridgewater and the visible course of one of the two Runcorn Flights of the Bridgewater Locks down to the Mersey / Ship Canal, which was in remarkably good shape, with a footpath running through part of it.
That night we took Frank's recommendation and had an excellent fish and chip supper, from his local chippy.

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Locking down from the Sankey Canal onto the Tidal River Mersey. Fiddler's Ferry. (Photo Dave Croft)

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Locking down from the Sankey Canal onto the Tidal River Mersey. (Photo Dave Croft)

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Locking down from the Sankey Canal. Nosing out onto the Tidal River Mersey. (Photo Dave Croft)

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Locking down from the Sankey Canal. Nosing out onto the Tidal River Mersey. (Photo Dave Croft)

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Locking down from the Sankey Canal. Digging into the flood. Tidal River Mersey. (Photo Dave Croft)

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Leaving Fiddler's Ferry. Digging into the flood. Tidal River Mersey. (Photo Dave Croft)

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Tidal River Mersey, Fiddler's Ferry in the distance.

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Tidal River Mersey, Fiddler's Ferry to Widnes.

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Tidal River Mersey, Fiddler's Ferry to Widnes. Passing the site of Randall's Sluices from the Manchester Ship Canal.

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Tidal River Mersey, Fiddler's Ferry to Widnes. We have just past the site of Randall's Sluices from the Manchester Ship Canal.

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Tidal River Mersey, Fiddler's Ferry Power Station.

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Tidal River Mersey, Fiddler's Ferry to Widnes.

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Tidal River Mersey, Runcorn Bridges. It was about here we lost the flood and the tide started to ebb.

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Looking back to Fiddler's Ferry Power Station. Tidal River Mersey.

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West Bank. Spike Island Lock is just below the sticking out building on the skyline. This building is the Chemical Museum. Tidal River Mersey.

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Arriving at West Bank. Tidal River Mersey.

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Arriving at West Bank. Tidal River Mersey. (Photo Dave Croft)

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NB Earnest arriving at West Bank. Tidal River Mersey. (Photo Dave Croft)

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NB Earnest arriving at West Bank. Tidal River Mersey. (Photo Dave Croft)

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Spike Island Lock. West Bank. Tidal River Mersey.

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Spike Island Lock. West Bank. Tidal River Mersey.

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Entering Spike Island Lock. West Bank. Tidal River Mersey.

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Entering Spike Island Lock. West Bank. Tidal River Mersey. (Photo Dave Croft)

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Spike Island Lock. West Bank. Sankey Canal. (Photo Dave Croft)

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Spike Island Lock. West Bank. Sankey Canal.

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Spike Island Lock. West Bank. Sankey Canal.

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Spike Island Lock. West Bank. Sankey Canal.

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West Bank Yacht Club Moorings. Spike Island. Sankey Canal. (Photo Dave Croft)

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West Bank Yacht Club Moorings. Spike Island. Sankey Canal.

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West Bank Yacht Club Moorings. Spike Island. Sankey Canal.

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West Bank Yacht Club Moorings. Dropped bridge just beyond this point. Spike Island. Sankey Canal.

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West Bank Yacht Club Moorings. Spike Island. Sankey Canal.

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Pole position at the West Bank Yacht Club Moorings. Spike Island. Sankey Canal.

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Spike Island. West Bank. Sankey Canal.

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"Yes dear........we have got here OK"...........Spike Island. West Bank. Sankey Canal.

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Spike Island. West Bank. Sankey Canal. (Photo Dave Croft)

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The Crew - Ian Clarke, Martin Clark, Peter Wright, Frank Smith, Neil Arlidge, John Chapman and John the locky. Spike Island. West Bank. Sankey Canal. (Photo Dave Croft)

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Looking back up the Mersey from Spike Island.

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Looking back up the Mersey at low water, from Spike Island.

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Looking back up the Mersey at low water, from Spike Island.

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The evil sticking out piles, in channel, at the entrance to the filled in Widnes Docks, just below Runcorn Bridges. tidal River Mersey.

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Frank Smith and John Chapman.

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Waterloo Bridge - the end of the Bridgewater Canal Main Line in Runcorn - for the moment!

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View from Runcorn Heights over the Union Salt Weston Point Works and the River Weaver.

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View from Runcorn Heights over the the Union Salt Weston Point Works and the Mersey Estuary. The promontory sticking out is Hale Head.

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The Bridgewater Canal, Main Line, filled in Runcorn Locks. This is the old flight.

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The Bridgewater Canal, Main Line, filled in Runcorn Locks. This is the old flight.

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The Bridgewater Canal, Main Line, filled in Runcorn Locks. This is the old flight.

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Runcorn Bridges from West Bank.

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Runcorn Bridges from West Bank.

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Runcorn Bridges from West Bank.

The Tour Continues...


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