Friday, March 05, 2010

Been there, done that, got the T shirt…..

Around the prop!
A bit of poetic licence there, it was actually half a lined cotton jacket.

It’s 4½ miles from the junction to the end of the Runcorn Arm. Quite a pleasant run, there’s always a presence of the built up area on the left (south) bank, but often the opposite side is wooded.

New apartments, older trees.
Looking towards Widnes, over the Mersey
The character of the waterway is the same as the route through to Manchester, broad and deep, making good progress easy. Of course this section was the original main line, ending with an impressive flight of 10 locks down to the River Mersey.

In fact there were 2 flights, both busy and linking the canal to Runcorn Docks. Closed in 1966, the new flight has been destroyed, but the old flight has been filled in and preserved. Plans are afoot to re-open these, which would then encourage the restoration of the Runcorn and Weston Canal which used to run from the docks to the Weaver Navigation. Now that would be a splendid round trip…
There’s an archive picture here. The new line is under the Runcorn-Widnes Bridge carrying the A533 over the Mersey.

I took this picture of the entrance lock of the Runcorn and Weston Canal from the Weaver in May 2008.

Runcorn and Weston Canal – bottom lock
The canal winds around the hill heading north then east, parallel to the Manchester Ship Canal.

We arrived at the terminus after around 90 minutes, and found that it was going to be extremely difficult to turn around.

The terminal basin.
Boats moored chevron pattern on the left, and another directly opposite the widest bit, meant that I decided to reverse to the last broad stretch, about half a mile back.

All was going well till we got through the first (last) bridge. It was there we picked up the debris, losing drive completely. I shut down the engine and spent a couple of minutes with my head in the hole, dragging the material off the prop. We’d drifted diagonally across the cut, bow to the towpath and stern in the weeds by the time I’d got it clear, watched in bemusement by a spotty youth leaning on his mountain bike.

Anyway we finally got turned around, and followed our wake back out to Preston Brook.

Getting to the T junction we turned right, past Claymoore once again and through Preston Brook Tunnel, finally mooring next to Long Acre Wood. Meg loves it here; it's full of squirrels!

Into the tunnel
Moored at Longacre Wood. Watch out squirrels, here’s Meggy!
The 1239 yard long tunnel underwent major repairs some years back. A new section, made from pre cast concrete, was introduced in the middle.
I can’t remember if I’ve posted pictures of the repair before. If I have, apologies for doing the same again. If not, well here you go….

The repaired tunnel bore
Looking up the new central air shaft.

On a completely unrelated topic, where we moored last night is close to Daresbury, birthplace of Charles Ludwidge Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll. The Church of All Saints in the village has a commemorative stained glass window, depicting the man himself, his daughter Alice, and a selection of characters from Alice in Wonderland.

All Saints, Daresbury

The window
The Vicar, Rev Felix, was kind enough to fill me in on the details of the window, as well as the history of the church. Nice chap.

Locks 1, miles 11½


Sue said...

Thanks for photographing my boat. It fits snuggly under the Waterloo Bridge at the canal terminus (the boat on the left). I'm sorry that you had a bad run down the arm (Runcorn Arm) as I always find it a delight and so pretty. The BMBC club is open on a Friday and Saturday night and welcome visitors, its a shame you didn't stop for the night. Mind you we weren't down this weekend as I was poorly on Friday :( The winding hole is just behind my boat at the end of the pontoons but I agree its not clearly signposted and the boat moored on the wide bit is my Dads, called Cheshire Lad.
See you next time you come x
Sue nb Cosy Toes

Brian and Diana on NB Harnser said...

The Runcorn arm is one of the few places in about 20 years of boating that we have been set adrift. We were moored right by the pub and we were the last to leave when they closed so not anyone from there. I was told it was probably fishermen out at the crack of dawn.

Geoff and Mags said...

Hi both
I guess you got tangled up with he boats moored opposite, then.
There was a fisherman on the right just before the bridge when we arrived. I imagine it's a popular spot, easy access from the road..