Friday, December 18, 2009

No going back…

So much for counting chickens before they’re hatched…..
We’ve spent the last couple of days edging closer to Middlewich, to be in a good position to head south just as soon as Big Lock opens. On the last post, Alf left a comment about the progress of the repair work, so I rang BW yesterday afternoon and was advised to check again today as there had been a holdup.

Today the news is that the lock will be open, on restricted hours and with BW staff assisting passage. The hours will be 11:00 till 15:00 on Saturday and Sunday, before normal opening next week.

Middlewich Big Lock this morning. Still a lot of work to do to get it operational.
Unfortunately that puts our plans into disarray, as we need to get an early start each day to get down to Great Haywood on Wednesday. With a half-dozen boats already queuing this side of the lock, it’d be mid afternoon before we were out of Middlewich.

So Plan A goes out of the window porthole, and Plan B comes into effect.

Anderton Marina can’t fit us in, but Uplands Basin can. So we’re toddling back up to Anderton over the next few days, and that’s where we’ll be spending Christmas. I can get a car out of Enterprise at Northwich for a week, and we can do our seasonal visiting from there.
The squirrels in Marbury Wood won’t be best pleased, they thought they’d seen the last of Meg!

Last night there were a few flurries of snow, but not enough to cover the ground. It was still white this morning though, following a really hard frost last night. The canal was frozen right across in sheltered sections.

This was taken near Croxten Flash, another water filled “lake” alongside the canal caused by subsidence following underground brine extraction. The edge of the canal has been raised to keep the water in.

This is also the reason that the bridges along this stretch are flat, rather than the more usual brick arch.
The span is supported on iron I section beams which can be raised to improve headroom by putting another couple of courses of brick in. So in the event of subsidence, the canal can be kept open.

Brine pumping was almost a cottage industry, and there is lots of evidence of the activity along the canal.

Tramway loading rails at Brambles Cutting are well preserved…..

While others are almost lost in the undergrowth.
Locks 0, miles 7

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