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The 1995 Tour

Index

Manchester Ship Canal, River Weaver, Chesterfield Canal, Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation and Erewash Canal.

6- Northwich to Winsford Flash and back to Weston. Weston to Ellesmere Port. Ellesmere Port to Chester. River Weaver, Manchester Ship Canal, Shropshire Union Canal.

Tuesday 18th July 1995

The Keepered Weaver locks were open from 08.00, so we ambled off at 08.05 after a longish water top up. Arrived at Hunt’s Locks at 08.15, but no one around! Colin badly hurt his leg / knee at a concrete step up to the lock. They were of a hollow construction. The offending one had the top step plate missing!!! 
Neil got a bit pi$$ed off. We were the only boat on the Weaver and they were expecting us at 08.00! Neil rang Northwich Waterways Office (5 mins back!) at 08.22. Very apologetic Waterway Supervisor said that he would be there in a few mins. 08.30 BW van screeches to a halt and still apologising BW Supervisor comes out and operates the lock (small one). Halfway through the relief locky arrives an “F”ing and Blinding match start between the two BW bods “ I told you to be here at 08.00, It’s the only F-ing boat on the river, all the way from London and you could not be bothered to get up!” The supervisor then screeches off in his van and a rather glum locky finishes the proceedings. 
We carry on our way at 08.50. Arrive at small Vale Royal Lock at 09.10 another rather glum BW bloke speeds us through, out at 09.20. We fit under the fixed Newbridge swing bridge (6ft 4ins) and are soon under Winsford Bridges and into the Lower Flash. Get to the end of the Flash and desperately try to find the course to the upper flash, but completely covered with thick rush growth. Turn round at 10.15 and shoot off back down stream. 
We have to clear Weston Marsh lock by 16.30 as we are booked out back onto the Ship canal, for our short hop to Ellesmere Port. Vale Royal Locks from 11.05 to 11.15, BW bods trying to re-plank the top of the large lock gates in situ. One bloke in water in diving suit, trying to nail boards in under water!  Hunts lock from 11.40 to 11.50. Pass Northwich Town Quay at 12.00. Saltersford Locks from 12.55 to 13.05. 
Acton Bridge (pass) 13.25. Dutton Locks, 13.40 to 13.55. We arrive at Weston Marsh Lock, just as a trip boat is coming out, so go straight in at 15.10 and out at 15.20. We managed to find the “official” buoyed channel through the Weaver mouth and turn left onto the Ship Canal. 
A surprising spectacle floated across in front of us. Two shepherds on a large punt with teeny outboard piled high with sheep wool bales were attempting to cross the Ship Canal, from the scrubby pasture on the Mersey side. This was the most un-seaworthy craft we have ever seen. We had to slowdown to save swamping it……..wonder if they had a “Certificate of Seaworthiness”! 
Passed Ince Powergen Berth at 15.55. Tied up was the pusher tug Ordale 2 and a couple of dump tanker barges. These were taking the Orimulsion fuel to the power station. Stanlow Oil Refinery was somewhat shielded by the Ince Cutting, but once out of this the full spectacle could be seen. There was such a stink of hydrocarbon gas that we quickly turned the gas fridge off. Not long after this Dan jokingly asked us if we fancied a cup of tea! 
Soon the Stanlow Oil Docks were passed. There were a few tankers in, but nothing moving (Eastham VTS had already warned us that we would not pass anything as long as we were in at Ellesmere Port by about 16.30) Passed the big dry dock at 16.30 and at 16.35 we had rounded the lighthouse into Ellesmere Port Docks. Phoned up Eastham VTS, to say we had cleared the Ship Canal. They asked if we had passed a ship. They were surprised and seemed to have lost it! 
We were soon in the bottom basin lock and had no trouble with the swing bridge (chained open at this time due to building works – the Holiday Inn was not quite finished) Came up the narrow locks out of the basin and at 17.15 we were up the top and out onto the Shropshire Union Canal. 
Neil had been noticing that the BMC was running a bit rattley, due to the last couple of days thrashing? An under way inspection followed with the small mooring pin being used to lever the engine mounts. One of the rear ones was found to have a sheared rubber mount. This was put down to the Titford Pools half brick between skeg and blade incident. Neil thought that a replacement must be found soon to avoid wearing the stern tube due to the BMC’s now excessive flapping about. 
We still pushed on, finding a fair amount of cr*p in the canal, until we left Ellesmere Port behind. Other spectacular views could be seen across the Mersey and of the Stanlow Oil refinery. After a fairly smooth trip we eventually arrived at Chester visitor moorings (20.00), just before the Dee Branch. A Julian meal soon followed + wine + beer……….we were just too knackered to even think about going to the pub!


Northwich Swing Bridge. River Weaver Navigation.

Northwich Swing Bridge. River Weaver Navigation.

Pimbolt's old boat building yard. Northwich. River Weaver Navigation.

Part of Pimbolt's yard is now a floating hotel! Northwich. River Weaver Navigation.

BW Northwich Yard. River Weaver Navigation.

Railway viaduct below Hunt's Locks. River Weaver Navigation.

Hunt's Locks. From here on the river looks very little used. River Weaver Navigation.

Hunt's Locks. River Weaver Navigation.

Waiting for Hunt's Locks. River Weaver Navigation.

River Weaver Navigation.

Hartford Bridge. River Weaver Navigation.

Railway Viaduct below Vale Royal Locks. River Weaver Navigation.

Vale Royal Locks. River Weaver Navigation.

Vale Royal Locks. We use the small lock as the large one is out of use. River Weaver Navigation.

Leaving Vale Royal Locks. River Weaver Navigation.

The fixed at present Newbridge Swing Bridge. Fixes headroom to Winsford at 6ft 4ins. (2001 - This has just been restored to working order.) River Weaver Navigation.

Newbridge Swing Bridge. River Weaver Navigation.

The industrial landscape at Wharton, just before Winsford. River Weaver Navigation.

Wharton. River Weaver Navigation.

Old Winsford Wharf. River Weaver Navigation.

Winsford Bridge. River Weaver Navigation.

Into the Flashes at Winsford.

Looking back at the entrance into the Flashes. Winsford. 

Winsford Bottom Flash.

Winsford Bottom Flash.

Winsford Bottom Flash.

The Red Lion pub at Winsford Bridge. River Weaver Navigation.

Desperate measures at Vale Royal large lock! River Weaver Navigation.

Vale Royal Small Lock. River Weaver Navigation.

BW Barge - with lookouts! River Weaver Navigation.

Old Weaver Flats at Sutton. River Weaver Navigation.

Remains of an old lock at Sutton. River Weaver Navigation.

Sutton Bridge. River Weaver Navigation.

Leaving Weston Marsh Lock, and the River Weaver. M.S.C.

Leaving Weston Point. M.S.C.

Is this legal???!!! M.S.C.

Look across Mersey Estuary. M.S.C.

Ince Power Station. M.S.C.

Pusher tug at Ince Powergen Berths. M.S.C.

Powergen Berths. M.S.C.

Stanlow Oil Refinery Tank Farm. M.S.C.

Ince High Cutting. M.S.C.

Coming out of Ince High Cutting. M.S.C.

Stanlow Oil Berths. M.S.C.

Ferries to Stanlow Oil Docks. M.S.C.

Stanlow Oil Docks. M.S.C.

Stanlow. M.S.C.

Stanlow Oil Docks. M.S.C.

Stanlow Oil Docks. M.S.C.

Looking back at Stanlow. M.S.C.

The Waterfront restaurant at Ellesmere Port. M.S.C.

Ellesmere Port - entrance to Ellesmere Port and the locks up to the Shropshire Union Canal. M.S.C.

Ellesmere Port. M.S.C.

The Tour Continues...


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