Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Moving on – A pair of tunnels and a change of scenery.

We thought it was about time we moved on a bit, we were in danger of taking root! We’ve had a few different neighbours, hire boats either side of the weekend from Anderton, and a couple of private boats too.

Meg and I have enjoyed the walking around here. There’s easy access to the Weaver by a couple of routes, the towpath is not too muddy and Long Acre Wood is stuffed full of exciting smells for a dog’s nose.

Squirrels, squirrels!

It’s been a bit showery though, so we hung on till today’s good forecast.

Heading off.

The canal winds it’s way along the slope on the northern side of the Weaver valley, with good views across the river.

Above the river
There’s another popular mooring spot a mile or so further on from our last mooring. In fact, if it hadn’t started raining we’d probably have finished up here.

NB Harry and Astroturf roof.
At Acton Bridge there’s a Black Prince hire base. It’s always busy here, with lots of boats moored or, in the season, milling about.

Acton Bridge
If you’re going to meet another boat, sod’s law says it’s going to be here. All quiet today though.

There are 2 Acton Bridges. On the canal it’s a modest brick arched affair, but down on the river just a few hundred yards away it’s an impressive lattice constructed steel swing bridge. Sorry, couldn’t get a decent picture from the canal.

I’d planned to be at Saltersford Tunnel in time to catch the 11:30 transit window, but, with slowing for all the moored boats and spending several minutes at tick-over trying (unsuccessfully) to get an elusive kingfisher on film, we arrived a few minutes late. Not to worry, it’s not as if we’re in a rush to get anywhere.

Moored at Saltersford Tunnel.
I took the opportunity to follow the horse path over the top, and had a look into the basin between the two tunnels.
The canal is very wide here, with evidence of wharves on both sides. With a road giving access to the river at Saltersford Lock, it’s likely to have been for transhipment between the two navigations before the construction of the boat lift.

I'm quite fond of these 2 tunnels, hanging on the hillside above the river. Saltersford, the shorter of the 2 by 150 yards, twists and turns through the ridge. This makes it impossible to see the far end, even though it’s only 424 yards away. It’s only a couple of years since timed entry was introduced. Before that it was always a bit of gamble, hoping you got past the middle before meeting a boat coming the other way. The one nearest it’s respective entrance was expected to reverse out again. Interesting, especially with hire bases at either end! Barnton, on the other hand, must have been laid out when the surveyor was sober. Apart from a touch to the right near the end, it’s straight and the end is visible. There are no timed restrictions on this one, you just have to look to see that nothing is coming.

Into Barnton Tunnel. The spot of light between the underside of the arch and the top of the boat is the far end.

¾ of a mile further on the entrance to the boat lift is passed.

Anderton Lift
We’ll be dropping the 50’ on this next week. Have to remember to book, though; out of season it’s operated on a reduced schedule.

We made a stop at the facilities, then cruised through Marbury Wood (more squirrels!) and moored just on the far edge. There’s a short section of concrete with a few rings here with a view across the canal. TV is good here, as well.

Marbury Wood. Another set of squirrels for Meg to terrorise…..
Locks 0, Miles 6½

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