I was just getting ready to loose the ropes from the mooring rings when this guy came around the corner.
By the time he got to us we were floating clear of the bank, and also clear of the spray of mown grass coming off the blades.
Just a couple of minutes took us to Middlewich Big Lock, with a boat coming up.
I gave them a hand, then we moved into the empty chamber. I was just shutting the gates when a couple of rather battered-looking cruisers came around the corner, so I waved them in alongside. The lock was soon empty and the cruisers set off first, likely to be a bit faster than us.
And they were…
Leaving Middlewich the canal crosses Croxton Aqueduct, over the River Dane.
Originally a wide stone aqueduct, it was replaced by this narrow iron trough after the earlier structure was washed away in a flood. Along with slightly wider than normal (for a narrow canal) bridge-holes, the wide aqueduct and broad Big Lock allowed salt barges to travel this length of canal.
The bridges are also mainly flat-topped, the span supported on iron beams.
This design, rather than the more normal arch, allowed easy repair in the event of damage due to subsidence. And with lots of brine extracted around here for salt production, there was a fair bit of that.
The ever-popular Brambles Cutting moorings are having another boat length added…
Running along above the River Dane
“Now then kids, listen closely…”
Another of those HS2 Phase 2b proposed route signs is located next to Bridge 180
There are two crossing here, within a mile of each other as the canal loops around north of Whatcroft. The second one, to the right (north) on the map is between the two flashes, and the raised embankment will obliterate both Billinge Green and Peartree Farms.
We pulled in at the southern of the flashes, looking out over the wide water populated by swans, grebes, geese and mallards. The red X on the map above shows where we are.
From the map the line will cross on an embankment about 200 yards ahead of where we’re moored, over that bank of reeds. The silo on the horizon is at Billinge Green Farm, smack on the route. It’s not likely to be operational until 2033 (if ever), so I don’t think it’ll affect us mooring here.
Some of our neighbours…
We’re staying here tomorrow.
Locks 1, miles 4