Friday, May 09, 2014

Back to ditchcrawling…

After a week spent down on the wide, deep waters of the Weaver Navigation, we moved back up onto the Trent and Mersey via the Anderton Boat Lift.

We were intending to come up on Wednesday, maybe Thursday, but we had friends arrive on Wednesday so stayed near the lift.

Lesley and Joe, NB Yarwood, exiting the boat liftSAM_9440

I think Joe, on the tiller, has just been dripped on from the guillotine gate!SAM_9440

They joined us for dinner on Wednesday evening, then we were going to part company on Thursday, but it was such a wet, miserable day that both boat crews decided to stay put.

But we really need to make tracks towards Manchester, so this morning we were away up to Northwich to the services, before turning around and heading back downstream to the lift.

Heading towards Northwich, the footpath bridge over Witton Brook dead ahead.SAM_9444

Yarwood had already left ahead of us, and was moored on the visitor moorings above Town Bridge, and they walked back to the service wharf to join us in a brew while we filled the tank. We’re parting company here, they’re heading upstream to Vale Royal while we leave the river.

Elevenses, Lesley with Floyd, Mags has adopted Fletcher (or it might be the other way around…), Meg and Joe.

The development of the site of the old Flotel has come on apace since we were last here, the new Waitrose is open for business and there’re moorings on pontoons in the wide.SAM_9448

Turning around past NB Yarwood.SAM_9450
Blimey Joe, they’re big uns!

We moored on the lower holding mooring alongside another boat, and I went up to the booking office to be given a slot for 13:40, 2¼ hours away. And we had to move off the moorings to allow earlier booked boats on.
So we obliged, I turned around and was heading back to moor a little bit upstream when Mags spotted one of the lift operators waving madly from the upper platform, and directing us back to the mooring we’d just left.
It turned out that we’d been given the wrong time, and we would actually be on  the way up at 12:50. A bit better for us, then.

A couple of boats went up, then another two came down, the trip boat the Edwin Clark went up and came back down again, then it was our turn.

Edwin Clark leaves the lift with another load of sightseersSAM_9456

What we see of the lift now is considerably more complex than Clark’s original structure. It was a lighter framework then, without the top machinery deck, because all it had to do was guide the caissons as they rose and fell on hydraulic rams, and support the end of the connecting aqueduct.

The lift now, with angled bracing and the machinery deckSAM_9428

The extra ironwork was added when the structure was converted to use balance weights. Now it had to support the weight of the caissons and the counterweights, some 250 tons each side. At this time the system of double gates at the river level was devised, to keep water out of the lower docks when the caissons were raised. Prior to this the tanks dropped into water filled docks at river level.

Pitting in the iron sides of the caissons indicates the earlier wet-dock water level. They would be sat in the water when at the lower position.SAM_9460

Looking up at the caisson bringing two more boats down to river level as we rise to canal level.SAM_9458

The two tanks can work independently, but its more efficient to use the weight of the one coming down to help push the other one up.

There are links between the lift and the motor industry, dating back to 1906 and the counterbalance modifications. The gearing on the machine deck, double herringbone in pattern, was patented by André-Gustave Citroën, later to form the car manufacturer.

The marque’s logo reflects this design…

Looks familiar?
SAM_9283 Chevron

The other connection is with Sir Henry Royce, who shortly after became one half of a very successful British luxury car company.
Royce owned a factory making dynamos and electric cranes in Trafford Park, Manchester, and was contracted to provide the motors and switchgear for the machinery deck.
He was a busy chap at this time. In 1904 he’d met a man with a car dealership in London named Charles Rolls…

Sixty feet up to the machinery deck.SAM_9457

We returned to the canal at about half past one, turning left past the newly-refurbished Stanley Arms and heading for Barnton.

Stanley Arms, 48 hour customer moorings here on the offside.SAM_9463

Cruising above the Weaver valleySAM_9464

We pulled in before the main road bridge, the last before the first of the two tunnels. Shopping up at Barnton Co-op in the morning, then on out to spend the rest of the weekend up near Dutton.

This lot will be a bit of a handful when they get older!SAM_9470

Locks 0, miles 5¼

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