Thursday, June 09, 2011

Heading Upstream.

We’ve been on the Weaver for a few days over the last couple of weeks, but actually moved no further than Barnton Cut downstream and Northwich upstream.

Today we corrected that, heading off towards Winsford.

We were intending to do this yesterday, but I had a repair to make before we moved off, and by the time I’d done that the heavy clouds were massing to the west.

Furry alternator belt.

It’s not done so bad. It’s lasted nearly 5 years.

I keep spare belts, but as we were only a 20 minute walk from Anderton Marina (Isuzu agents), I stuffed a tenner in my pocket and toddled off with Meg up onto the canal. RootiLinkng through the rack of assorted sizes I came across the one I wanted, but couldn’t buy it ‘cause I hadn’t enough money on me. £13.81 for a fan belt! I did go back later with increased funds, but I think I’ll try for an equivalent at Halfords next time.

Still, shouldn't complain. It'll be a darn sight cheaper than Sue and Vic's latest repair!

As I said, by the time the new belt was on and checked out, the clouds were looking pretty threatening so we decided to hang around till today. I’m glad we did, the showers when they came over didn’t last long but they were certainly heavy. One even had hail mixed in with the rain!

We moved off today at around 10:00, with a forecast of sunshine and showers. In fact we’ve not seen much of either, just an odd gleam through the clouds, but on the other hand just the odd spot of rain.

A short stop at Northwich gave me the opportunity to stretch my arms with a grocery trip to Sainsbury’s, then we filled and emptied the appropriate tanks across the water at the sani-station.

Last time we were here the bins were full, so the compound contained several bin bags of rubbish alongside them.

The bins are now empty, but the bags are still there!

What’s all that about, then! Probably the Safety Elves don’t allow the bin-men to pick up bags any more…..

Pilings show where the innovative Floatel used to stand (moor? float?).

Northwich Marina

From the town it’s only a short distance to Hunts Lock were we joined two other boats waiting for the lockie to finish his lunch. Then he arranged us tidily in the lock chamber.

Slotting in to Hunts Lock.

A very gentle rise of 11’ took us up onto the pound where the tug Proceed sits outside Jalsea Marine, still gently decaying.

Tug Proceed, a little less paint, a little more rust than when we last came this way.

She’s British built but was in service with the Belgian Navy. (I didn’t know Belgium had a navy! Maybe it’s sitting in Northwich?)

20 minutes took us to Vale Royal Lock, where we had 15 minutes to wait for the passage window.

The navigation was improved in 1889, when larger locks were built alongside the existing chambers. The channel was also dredged deeper, enabling larger vessels to navigate to Winsford. Mostly, now, boats use the smaller chamber, but there’s a problem with Vale Royal and the larger of the two has to be used. 220 feet long by 42 feet 6 inches wide it takes over half a million gallons of water to fill, so BW have set up a schedule with specific times for up and down passage. This allows for more efficient use of the water as several boats “stack up” waiting for passage.

Vale Royal large lock

Lots of room in this one!

Ashanti and Caroline, our erstwhile travelling companions, pressed on to Winsford but we pulled in on the quiet mooring about 10 minutes above the lock.

Cruising Vale Royal

Just got tied up when we had a short shower, but the sun is out again now.

Oh, and the new propeller has acquitted itself admirably today. At river speed, around 4½ mph, we’ve lopped 150 rpm of the engine speed, and it’s QUIET. Delightful.

The crew of NB Rose of Arden left a comment on Tuesday’s post. They had the same noise problem and it turned out to be a failed engine mounting. Thanks chaps, I guess I’m going to have to spend a bit more time upside down in the engine ’ole….

I was just about to post this when a couple of boats arrived, coming downstream. It was NBs Ashanti and Caroline coming back from Winsford. They’d moored at the Red Lion, hoping for a meal there but they don’t do food anymore. Then they were advised by a local BW chap not to leave their boats unattended; the “little darlings” make a sport of untying boats left there.

So they turned around and came back here.

Locks 2, miles 4¼


Roger Smith said...

The Belgium navy isn't in Northwich, it's on eBay well a wooden minesweeper is.
Nice looking thing but needs some work, trouble is I don't think it would fit through the bridge holes round here.

Geoff and Mags said...

Hi Roger, thanks for that. You're right, she is a fine looking boat. As you say, it'll struggle on the inland waterways, though. Here's a link -
if anyone's interested.