Saturday, 30 April 2011

Anderton to Bartington Wharf…

This morning we travelled back up the Anderton Boat Lift and turned left onto the Trent & Mersey.  Not a long journey today as it was already 12.30 by the time we were on our way.  Even though we had only been on the river a few days, progress seemed extremely slow on this shallow and narrow part of the T & M.  We came through two tunnels, Barnton Tunnel and Saltersford Tunnel.  Both were quite narrow and very bendy – Saltersford had so many bends that you couldn’t see the other end, and there is a timetable stating when northbound and southbound boats can enter.  The wind had also become quite strong, so we had to use a little more speed that usual past moored boats, otherwise they would have been ‘wearing’ us!  We are moored for the night just past Bartington Wharf where Black Prince have a hire base.

SDC10484Waiting to ascend

SDC10485Caissons passing

SDC10486View from the top

SDC10488Leaving the Lift behind

SDC10489Entering Barnton Tunnel

SDC10490Saltersford Tunnel

SDC10494Inside Saltersford Tunnel

3 miles and 0 locks

Friday, 29 April 2011

Anderton Boat Lift and the River Weaver…

On Tuesday we made our way up the Trent and Mersey from Middlewich to the Anderton Boat Lift.  We were booked to go down at 10.45 on Wednesday morning.

We stopped to do loos and fill up with water, and saw the Fudge Boat, so we had to buy some.


Serenity’s visitors had arrived so we all went to the Stanley Arms for a meal.  There was an extensive menu, and the food was excellent.

On Wednesday morning we duly made our appearance at the Boat Lift, all looking forward to the trip down onto the River Weaver. It was amazing, what a great feat of engineering!

SDC10461Entering the lift

SDC10462The view from the top

SDC10460Ian on Serenity

SDC10473Going down

SDC10474Trying to be artistic!

DSCF0024Looking back

We turned to starboard as we left the Lift to go downstream towards Frodsham.  The Weaver is really beautiful when you’ve left the industry behind.  It was like being back on the Thames.


DSCF0033Sunken wreck on the approach to Dutton Lock

DSCF0034Dutton Lock

DSCF0038Dutton Viaduct

DSCF0039Our mooring at Devil’s Garden – what more could we want.

Yesterday we headed to Frodsham to drop off Serenity’s visitors and turned around as the rest of the river is very industrialised and we decided not to venture further.  We returned through Dutton and Saltersford Locks, and moored near the village of Barnton – we could see the Trent and Mersey canal up on the ridge beside us.

SDC10477SDC10478Saltersford Lock – we were dwarfed in this huge lock

SDC10479Our mooring near Barnton


SDC10480Cassie making friends

This morning we continued upstream to Northwich as we needed a few provisions, but, that done, we returned to just below the Boat Lift to await our passage back up onto the T & M tomorrow.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Cholmondeston to Middlewich…

After a nice lazy day off yesterday, including a superb steak bbq (compliments to the chef!) we set off this morning for Middlewich.  Another beautiful day (can’t believe it’s only April).  This is a lovely rural canal, with beautiful views all around due to the often quite high embankments, carrying you high above the valley of the River Weaver, and we had a very picuresque morning’s cruising.  We have moored just before Stanthorn Lock, just short of Middlewich itself. 


SDC10439The village of Church Minshull in the distance

SDC10440Jacobean style house beside Bridge 14

SDC10441Converted canal horse stables, between bridges 18 and 19, lovingly converted into dwellings after years lying derelict

SDC10442Cottage adjacent the stables

SDC10444Top Flash – a subsidence induced lake beside the River Weaver

SDC10445Our mooring, with Rog having got his tackle out (!)

SDC10446Spotted just as I was finishing writing the blog, a proper little Easter duckling, all fluffy and yellow among it’s more dowdy siblings – all together now - Ahhhh

7.4 miles and 2 locks

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Beeston Castle to Cholmondeston…

Our mooring at Wharton’s Lock yesterday was overlooked by Beeston Castle.  Ian and Karen took a walk up to the castle, but I declined as I knew the climb would be really steep, and my knees don’t like ‘steep’ – going up or coming down!

DSCF0020Beeston Castle

We had a bbq in the evening, and just as we had finished eating, the thunderstorm that had been threatening for a while arrived.  Although the thunder and lightening were quite intense, it didn’t do much more than spit with rain until later on


SDC10433Stormy skies

After much deliberation this morning we decided to move on and get onto the Middlewich Branch of the Shroppie.  The first lock we hit was Beeston Iron Lock.  Although originally built as a wide lock, the sides, being iron have buckled and it is advised that only one boat uses it at a time.  There was quite a queue to go up and come down so it took quite a while until we were through.  After that we had a clear run up to Bunbury Staircase Lock – this time we did the Bunbury Shuffle with one boat coming down as we were going up.  Unfortunately, neither Ian or I (we were working the lock) had our cameras with us, so no photos.  We stopped at Calverley to fill with water and empty loos, and then continued to Barbridge Junction and the Middlewich Branch and on to Cholmondeston Lock where we are now moored – we will stay here tomorrow.

SDC10435Turning on to the Middlewich Branch at Barbridge Junction

SDC10437Our mooring just above Cholmondeston Lock – Cassie is very confused because for the first time in ages there isn’t a ditch for her to go and get muddy in!

6 miles and 5 locks

Friday, 22 April 2011

Catch-up time…

Right, where did I get too?  Oh yes, Grindley Brook.

Saturday 16th April

We moved from Grindley Brook to just above Baddiley Locks, stopping at Wrenbury on the Way to visit the Chandlers at the boat hire base.  We had ordered so drive belts on the way up the Llangollen to be collected on the way back, but they had ordered the wrong size, so we came away empty handed.

6.8 miles and 4 locks

Sunday 17th April

We made a short trip to just beside Bridge 4, a little way above Hurleston Locks, and the junction with the Shroppie.  We made another trip to Snugbury’s Ice Cream shop to buy some more as it was so yummy – this time I bought a tub of  Raspberry Ripple – however, it proved to have no raspberry and no ripple – just vanilla, but it was nice anyway!

SDC10372Our mooring near Snugbury’s

3.6 miles and 5 locks

Monday 18th April

We had quite a long day, travelling down Hurleston Locks, and turning left onto the Shroppie on our way to Chester

SDC10374Hurleston Locks

SDC10387Bunbury Staircase Locks – but no Bunbury Shuffle

SDC10389Past a few working boats on their way to Ellesmere Port for the Easter Rally

SDC10390Early bluebells

SDC10392Beeston Castle

We moored for the night by the Shady Oak pub, and had a very nice meal.

7.9 miles and 10 locks

Tuesday 19th April

We made an early start as we wanted to get moored up in Chester Basin by about 2  pm.  We made really good time -  didn’t do us much good though as when we arrived at Hoole Lane Lock, about 11 am we found that it was broken and there were about 10 boats ahead of us waiting for BW to fix it.  We got the chairs out and sat on the towpath in the sun and chilled.  We eventually got through the lock about 4pm, after BW had patched up the hole where the paddle had fallen off with a piece of plywood. (We hear that it broke again yesterday!).  The staircase locks in Chester are impressive, and by the time we got to the basin it was full of working boats – we continued on to the golf course where we moored for the night.

SDC10395Early morning mist

SDC10397Waiting while the men went down to find out if Hoole Lock would be fixed any time soon

SDC10400The culprit



SDC10411Approaching the staircase

SDC10413In the staircase – it’s a long way down!

12.2 miles and 8 locks

Wednesday 20th April

We turned at the nearest winding hole and headed back towards Chester Basin, expecting to see a long line of working boats coming towards us – how wrong can you be!!  They were all still there, but luckily a hire-boat left just as we arrived, so we squeezed in and breasted up.  We then went for a walk around the city walls – more photos of Chester

SDC10417Kings Tower

SDC10418The Catherdral


SDC10421The River Dee

SDC10422Chester castle


After our walk, we had a delicious lunch in Telford’s Warehouse, entertainment thrown in as  boats continued to arrive all day, and soon we were surrounded by historic boats.  98% of the crews were friendly and chatty, but one or two looked down their noses at our ‘shiny’ boats and acted like we shouldn’t have been there!  We were the only pleasure boats in the basin, bar two across the other side on what looked like permanent moorings.

In the evening, Rog’s cousin Cath, husband Steve and boys Rob and Liam came over to see us – we went to the pub!!

4 miles and 0 locks

Thursday 21st April

We left Chester and returned the way we had come, mooring between Egg Bridge and Hargrave.  At the Cheshire Cat pub at Christleton we spotted a familiar boat.

SDC10432-1  nb Gypsy Rover – Derek and Dot, this one’s for you

5.5 miles and 8 locks

Good Friday, 22nd April

Another short day, moored now at Wharton’s Lock enjoying the sunshine.

5.3 miles and 1 lock