Saturday 6th August
We continued on to Anderton today (still on the Trent and Mersey canal) passing through the centre of a huge chemical factory - we show the picture as proof that it’s not all lovely countryside on the canals! We have to be thankful, however, as we wouldn’t have canals if it weren’t for industry.
Within a few hours we arrived at Anderton. Again, very few boats around so we thought we might be in with a chance that we could go down to the River Weaver on the famous lift. The answer was ‘yes’ and we only had to wait 45 minutes.
Onto the Anderton Boat Lift. The lift takes narrow boats up and down between the canal and the river – a height difference of 50 feet. Boats are floated into a caisson (tank of water) and a huge hydraulic ram raises and lowers the whole lot. There are two caissons – one goes up while the other comes down. Built in 1874 it fell into decay and was restored 2000 / 2002 at a cost of £7 million. It’s one of the wonders of the canal system and Alton Towers should think about one!
Once down safely we turned towards Northwich (up river), as we haven’t been this way before, and soon moored at the town. We took a walk around the town – mainly estate agents and charity shops. We continued on, passing through Hunt’s Lock and then Royal Vale Locks. Just above the lock we found a beautiful and peaceful setting to moor for the night.
Sunday 7th August
We carried on to the end of the River Weaver to Winsford and Doug took a walk into the town to do some shopping and James and Oscar stayed on the boat – the visitor mooring being so bad that we couldn’t really berth the boat properly. We travelled up the Winsford Flash,which is the furthest navigable part of the river, to turn round and head back.
On the upper reaches of the Weaver we came across the only remaining salt mine in the area. The banks are piled high with road salt.
One or two of the swing bridges are no longer operational so you can either get through or not – duck!!
This is Royal Vale lock on our trip back down river. Three narrow boats and still room for the QE II – a very different feeling to the locks on the canal system. The lock only operates at certain times and you have to wait around on a ‘holding’ pontoon for the gates to open.
We’ve enjoyed our couple of days on the River Weaver – a great contrast between glorious, tranquil stretches and heavy industry. Tomorrow we are booked to go back up on the boat lift (as we couldn’t get a passage up today).
The impressive Anderton Boat Lift.