Thursday, May 26, 2011

Down on the Lift

We moved the couple of miles into Anderton yesterday, mooring near the boat lift. I wanted to have a chat with Dave at Uplands Marina about a little project…. More on that later.

This morning we toddled along to the services to top up and empty the relevant tanks, and had an interesting time turning around in the strong wind. We tended to go sideways every time I tried to send the fore-end round, until I stemmed it up to give me a chance to put the stern across. It wasn’t too bad, then.

We motored back to the holding moorings for the lift, and I went down to the booking office to see if there was a slot for us today. “13:40 do you?” Just ½ an hour to wait. That’ll do nicely, thankyou.

We went down solo, with the brisk wind skewing us diagonally across the caisson.

On the aqueduct, looking east along the river.

The paired caissons (tanks) are linked to the canal by short aqueducts, isolated by guillotine gates.

Looking back to the canal, with the first gate closed......

...before the one into the caisson opens.

Half-way down and the rising tank comes level with our dropping one.

The two tanks counterbalance each other, with very little extra power required, although the system now allows for each side to operate independently.

Near river level, looking back up at the rising caisson and hydraulic ram.

That’s it, down at river level with the exit gate rising to let us out.

Tell you what, it’s the easiest 50’ level change on the system. A lot more relaxing than 4 or 5 locks!

And the obligatory backward look as we head off downriver.

The boat visible below the lift is the restored fly-boat Saturn. The only one of it’s kind left, these boats were built with fine lines to rapidly transport perishable cargos. They worked 24 hour days with crew and horse changes at strategically sited stops.

Shroppie fly-boat Saturn.

Just over a mile from the lift we pulled in on a quiet bank on Barnton Cut. We’ll be heading into Northwich tomorrow for some shopping and a visit to the opticians.

The strong wind and heavy pulses of rain have made today’s short trip less than enjoyable, but the wind is due to drop and the rain clear (for a bit).

I’d just started this post when we had a knock on the side of the boat. It was Pete Dawson, a local who spends a lot of time walking his dogs on the canal and river. He was kind enough to donate last year when I ran the Great North Run for Cancer Research UK. We’d met before, and spent a few minutes catching up before he carried on with his walk. I hadn’t realised, but he tells me that during last winter the river had frozen over bank to bank at this point. It looked thick enough to walk on, but he chose not to try! We’ll have a brew or maybe a beer next time, eh.

Locks 0, miles 3¼

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