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The Tuesday Night Club on Tour
9 - Middlewich to Middlewich, Trent and Mersey Canal, Anderton Lift, Weaver Navigation / Weston Canal to Northwich and Weston Point Docks and Return, Trent and Mersey Canal, Shropshire Union - Middlewich Branch.
Sunday 30th March 2004
Started off at 09:00. Uneventful run up to Anderton (12:00), completing
all the T&M for Martin Clark. Eventually we found new BW Weaver Office in the
basement of the new lift building (closed). BW sprung into action and at 12:50 we started down the Anderton Lift.
The lift was now much quicker, up to design speed and no jerking in the rams.
Out of lift at 13:20 and sped on down to Northwich. Martin Clark decided to jump ship at that point as Ian Cardinal was joining tomorrow, for a couple of days on the Weaver, then journey down to Chester. Neil decided on a quiet night so soon buzzed off back to the Visitor Moorings below the lift. All hell broke out in the early evening as a mink attacked a duck, the mink making most of the noise.
Wednesday 31st March 2004
Neil left Anderton Weaver Visitor Mooring solo at 08:30, to go back to Northwich
Visitor Mooring (09:00) for a spot of shopping and to await the delayed arrival of Ian
Cardinal, who had blagged a lift from Wigginton with his organist. No supermarkets near the river in Northwich, so
Neil had to make do with expensive trip to Marks & Spencer.
There was a fair bit of large activity on the Weaver as tugs and rather large mud hoppers came down from the dredging works at Vale Royal large lock. The plan is to get the large lock fully operational, seeing as the collapse of the small lock bullnose is still far from rectified. BW staff said that the new automatic sluices have not been used since the collapse, sluicing has been done manually using the old sluices......could the new sluices have caused undercutting of the bullnose?
Ian arrived at 13:40 and there was the usual quick TNC introduction as we sped away downstream, hoping to catch Dutton Lock before the 15:45 knock off time. Neil at least hoped to show Ian the downstream section of the Weaver as well as the Weston Cut....there was also the Bottom Lock of the Runcorn and Weston Canal to attempt entry into the chamber. Anderton Lift was passed at 14:00 and fortunately the Saltersford Locky (in fact the multi-tasking tug driver Neil had chatted to earlier!!!) quickly locked us through (large mechanised lock) and we reached Dutton Lock with bags of time, at 15:10.
After this we ploughed on down the Weaver and continued along the Weston Canal passed Weston Marsh Lock. Soon the defunct swing bridge at the entrance to Weston Point Docks was reached (16:50) and the rather intact Weston and Runcorn Canal bottom lock was investigated. There were the remains of stop planks in the lock and we did manage to easily navigate though the crud up to these. After a good "stirring" wind we reversed up to the swing bridge, then blatted back to Weston Marsh Lock, where we stopped so that Ian could gaze over its decrepitude and the exit of the Weaver into the MSC.
After our 15 minute wander we set off again to find the pleasant outside bend field moorings above the entrance to Frodsham Cut. We noticed that the stop gate over the boat club basin moorings at Sutton Bridge was open, so we were not surprised to see another boat coming back, the first pleasure boat moving we had seen all day. We moored up at 18:20 at the peaceful moorings and prepared a ships meal on board - yet another spag bol, the frozen mince having thawed out on the gang plank over the afternoons cruise.
Thursday 1st April 2004
We had arranged to meet John and Gill Watson at Middlewich that night, so
left reasonably early at 08:50. No problems at Dutton or Saltersford Locks, we came in gently to the bottom of the chamber (fierce upper ground paddles)
as directed on the way down and the locky took our lines with cork ball on a bit of blue rope.
We were at the lift at 11:15 and as we found on the way down the entrance to the Weaver Office in the basement could only be reached by a ridiculous route, owing to locked gates. This included walking up to middle floor of visitor centre, walking up through this, coming out of top floor, then walking back down through the gate marked "No entry, staff only" to get to the Weaver Office. Is this an indication that BW would like you to book passage at a fiver, even when there were only 4 boats on the Weaver???!!! Anyway the 11:30 passage was cancelled (we think that a spot of dredging had taken place in the entrance basin to the lift), so we got the 12:30 booking.
This was OK, as it gave us time to have a late fry up! Out of the lift at 13:00 after Ian (and Neil's!) first passage UP the lift. Uneventful passage to Middlewich. It was the normal three abreast at Wincham Wharf brokerage. We arrived at Big Lock at 15:50, so had plenty of time to get up the locks to Middlewich Junction, then up Wardle Lock to plonk our selves just upstream of John and Gill's house (17:10), with "Tam Lin" moored outside.
Maureen at Wardle Lock did not come out to scold us for yanking both top paddles up immediately, but then we used a fait amount of power to keep Earnest on the bump board until things had settled down.
Neil phoned John up, only to find him waving at Neil off the stern of "Tam Lin"! We met up with John and Gill, then walked to "Kings Lock" pub where we ate in the rather all blue dining room (with annoying table decorations!) After a couple of pints and meal we repaired back to John and Gill's house for a coffee and to raid their whisky supplies.
Bridge 173. Trent and Mersey Canal.
Croxton Aqueduct. Trent and Mersey Canal.
Bridge No 175. Trent and Mersey Canal.
Croxton Flash - the lack of rush growth in the spring exposes this sunk butty conversion. Trent and Mersey Canal.
Bridge No 177. Trent and Mersey Canal.
Approaching Rudheath. Trent and Mersey Canal.
Orchard Marina, Rudheath. Trent and Mersey Canal.
The Old Broken Cross pub and Bridge No 184 at Broken Cross. Trent and Mersey Canal.
ICI (Brunner Mond) Northwich. Trent and Mersey Canal.
ICI (Brunner Mond) Northwich. Trent and Mersey Canal.
The start of Wincham Wharf moorings. Trent and Mersey Canal.
Looking back at ICI (Brunner Mond) Northwich. Trent and Mersey Canal.
Wincham Wharf. Trent and Mersey Canal.
Rather too many boats moored at Wincham Wharf. Trent and Mersey Canal.
Bridge No 192. Wincham. Trent and Mersey Canal.
The sad remains of the heritage Lion Salt Works at Marston. Trent and Mersey Canal.
Bridge No 196. Trent and Mersey Canal.
Anderton Marina to the right. Trent and Mersey Canal.
Anderton Lift. Weaver Navigation.
Northwich Town Swingbridge open for the dredging traffic. Weaver Navigation.
Dutton Locks. Weaver Navigation.
Looking back at Sutton Railway Viaduct and Swingbridge. Weston Canal.
We manage to get up to the Runcorn and Weston Canal Bottom Lock.
Runcorn and Weston Canal Bottom Lock.
Runcorn and Weston Canal Bottom Lock. Weston Canal.
The broken swingbridge at the entrance to Weston Point Docks. Weston Canal.
ICI Weston Point. Weston Canal.
Looking back at Weston Point Docks. Weston Canal.
Ian Cardinal and Weston Marsh Lock. Weaver Navigation.
Looking back at Saltersford Locks. Weaver Navigation.
Middlewich Junction. (Wardle Canal) Middlewich Arm of the Shropshire Union Canal.
Wardle Lock. Middlewich. (Wardle Canal) Middlewich Arm of the Shropshire Union Canal.
Wardle Lock. Middlewich. Middlewich Arm of the Shropshire Union Canal.
John and Gill Watson's NB "Tam Lin" on its home moorings. Middlewich. Middlewich Arm of the Shropshire Union Canal.
The Tour Continues...
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