Wednesday, May 23, 2012

On to Anderton

But first I’d better put the record straight. On Monday’s post I rattled on about the Port of Manchester and may have given the impression that the Manchester Ship Canal is no longer used. In fact it is still carrying cargo, although the bulk of the activity centres around Ellesmere Port and Stanlow Refinery at the western end of the canal. There is however, some freight moved further inland; Tesco and Procter and Gamble use a container shuttle service between Liverpool and Irlam Container Terminal, 28 miles in, and there is a scrap metal recycling operation at Irwell Park Wharf, another 4 miles inland.
The furthest in is Mainmast’s bulk grain deliveries for Premier Foods, to the Rank Hovis Mill at Salford.
Unfortunately, as reported in June’s Waterway’s World, the unloading facility has been closed by Peel Ports for redevelopment as part of the new Media City complex, so the 30,000 tonnes annually is now being shipped by road. Mainmast are looking for an alternative site for offloading.

Anyhow, back to the smaller scale operation of moving an 18 ton narrowboat south on the Trent and Mersey.

Meg enjoyed another run around Long Acre Woods this morning before we set off, though I’m not sure that the squirrels were very impressed! We had a bit of a later start, by the time we were ready several boats had passed us in both directions.

Moving out from near Long Acre Woods.SAM_0347 Trimmed Mooring
You can see where I trimmed the bankside vegetation….

The Trent and Mersey is a huge contrast to the Bridgewater, gone are the wide, deep waters, replaced by a narrow, overgrown channel with shallow edges.SAM_0349 Fine T&M

Each have their own charms, but on balance I prefer the T&M. The Bridgewater is a bit of a motorway, and as such you can make good headway. We did 14 miles yesterday in 5 hours. Trying to do that on the Trent and Mersey will result in damaged banks, annoyed moorers, aching shoulders and deep frustration. So instead of yesterday’s 1000 RPM returning over 3mph we’re back to our normal 850 revs. It took us 1¾ hours to cover 3½ miles to Saltersford Tunnel this morning but hey, what’s the rush?

Bridge 213 and blue skiesSAM_0350 Fine T&M

Today started a bit cloudier than yesterday, but the sun broke through late morning and it’s been another fine, warm afternoon.

At Bridge 211 a BW workboat had come adrift at one end. Someone had tried to retie it to a bit of stick, but I made what I hope is a better job with a 4 foot long tree branch from it’s hold. There was no sign of the steel stake that would have been originally used.

Good deed for the day… so long as it stays put!SAM_0352 Tied up BW Boat

We arrived at Saltersford Tunnel with 20 minutes to spare before the half past twelve “window”, time for a bacon sandwich and a cup of tea before once more delving under a hill following the narrow ribbon of water. We followed two other boats through, with a day boat out of Acton Bridge acting as sweeper.

Waiting for 12:30SAM_0360 Queue at Saltersford
Notice something different? Yes, the chimney’s been replaced by the summer cap. Still optimistic, then!

In Saltersford TunnelSAM_0362
The white deposits are lime leaching out of the mortar.

This one is only 424 yards long but has an awkward “S” bend in the middle, making it impossible to see right through. Barnton Tunnel is 150 yards longer but the surveyor got it right and you can see daylight at the other end. It’s just tricky to get into from either end, being set at an angle to the line of the canal.

Barnton Tunnel just coming into view on the left.SAM_0366 Barnton Tunnel

Back in the sunshine across Barnton BasinSAM_0367 Barnton Tunnel

Another mile saw us arrive at Anderton, where we moored just past the lift entrance. Another good day, with the forecasted thundery showers not materialising. More of the same tomorrow, but a mixed cruise as far as scenery is concerned. OK at the start through Marbury Wood, but then there’s the industry around Northwich.

Just saw the news report of the stunt man who jumped 2400 feet out of a helicopter without a parachute, landing safely on a pile of cardboard boxes. It’s a good job it was Henley-on-Thames; in Manchester the local homeless would have moved in before he landed…

Sleeping rough in ManchesterSAM_0213 Behind the new flats

Locks 0, miles 5½

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