Friday, November 06, 2009

Crossing the Line

We had a grandstand view of bonfire parties over Runcorn way last night. There were some pretty impressive display, pretty expensive too!
They were lucky in that the afternoon rain had cleared, leaving a dry night.

We got off this morning at around 10, with a visit to make to the Sanitary Station around the corner on the Runcorn Arm. Chores done, we turned back out onto the short branch down to Preston Brook Tunnel and the Trent and Mersey Canal.

Hire boats at Claymore Navigation
A delightful run-about, Star.
The tunnel is one-way, operated on a timed basis. Southbound, we could enter from ½ past the hour to 20 to, and we had a 15 minute wait for our 10 minute window.

Waiting for the tunnel.

With no boats following, and plenty of time to get through, I took the opportunity of stop in the tunnel for some photos. I should have told Mags first though, she thought we’d broken down!

Looking up an air shaft.
A lot of bricks go into lining a tunnel.
The repaired section near the middle, now lined with pre-cast concrete sections.
The tunnel was opened in the 1770’s, and was extensively repaired in 1984. At 1239 yards long it’s the second longest on the Trent and Mersey, and the northern end marks the junction between this canal and the Bridgewater.

The predicted rain had arrived by the time we emerged into daylight. So it was quickly through Dutton Stop Lock, and we pulled in about 15 minutes further on.

Dutton Stop Lock is an odd size, being about 11’ wide. It has a drop from the T&M of only a couple of inches, but effectively protects the 15 mile pound to Middlewich in the event of a breach on the Bridgewater. On the other hand, if one of the embankments of the T&M above the Weaver failed, the maintenance guys for the Bridgewater will have to be quick with the stop planks to prevent their canal from emptying through the tunnel and backwards through the lock.

Locks 1, miles 3½

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