We’ve had a very pleasant couple of days lazing in Vale Royal, but today we’ve headed back to Anderton to start out trip down to the Ashby Canal.
We thought about heading down to the head of navigation yesterday, but Newbridge Swing Bridge, just half a mile upstream, no longer swings except in dire circumstances and has a headroom of 6’4”. Now, we can get under that, but only if I unscrew the radio aerial, take down the chimney, move three bags of coal into the cratch and stick John Sage back on his rack on the counter. All in all just too much effort for three miles there and three back again, with the very real possibility of running aground in the flash at the end. So we didn’t. It wasn’t such a nice day yesterday anyway. I washed the boat instead.
Back to the bright weather today
The sunny weather seems to have caused an algae bloom on the water.
The further downstream you go the less there is. I wouldn’t want to fall in here though…
I’d rung Chris at Vale Royal Lock to advise him of our imminent arrival, and he’d got the lock open, ready for us. There’s a problem here, the quadrant gears used to wind open the lower gates are U/S, so the solution is to use a baby winch to haul them open and closed.
Victorian lamp standards
I don’t know whether these are still gas lights, or converted for electricity. The horizontal crossbar was for the lamp-lighter to lean his ladder against. A closer look at the picture shows bulbs, in fact, and I doubt they’re original, either…
A half-hour downstream took us to Hunts Lock. Hartford Road Bridge was built in 1938…
…hence the art deco style buttresses.
MV Proceed at Jalsea’s yard
Although looking at the hull plating I don’t think she’s going to be proceeding much further…
Hunts Lock, with a ladies coxless 4 heading towards us, one of several on the river this morning.
That unexplained slope to the lockside copings is more apparent going down.
That’s a quadrant, it’s those that are missing at Vale Royal
Fresh water mussels in the lock wall
Parfield moored outside Yarwood’s boatyard
She was built in 1952, and, along with sister ships Paradine and Parbella carried grain from Manchester Docks to the Kellogs factory at Water’s Meeting on the Bridgewater Canal.
The last loads by boat were in March 1974.
The navigation runs past the large Northwich Maintenance Yard. On the island opposite, accessed across a footbridge, sit a couple of winches and a steam engine to drive them.
I’m guessing that the reed-infested end of the island downstream was a slipway, although I can find no reference to one.
Hayhurst Swing Bridge, with Town Swing bridge just visible beyond.
A better shot of the new marina between the bridges.
Topping up the water tank
From here it’s only a mile or so to the pleasant moorings below the boat lift.
The Wincham Brook comes in from the right halfway there, under a black and white footbridge.
The brook used to navigable for about a mile up to Witton Mill, but is now silted up. At the turn of the 20th century the area bounded by a triangle from Marston to Anderton and then Northwich was pretty much inundated by water in shallow flashes, caused by subsidence following brine extraction. There’s a map from 1899 showing the extent of the wetlands here.
Around the corner, opposite the salt works wharf was were we intended to stop, and there was plenty of room.
It’s been busy with boats today after a very quiet few days. I guess the sun has brought out the day trippers. These two had to quickly get out of the way as the Edwin Clark, the boat lift trip boat, came barreling around the corner.
The skipper of the trip boat takes no prisoners…
Up the lift in the morning, back onto the cut.
Hi Ade, KevinToo. Looks like we might be getting early tans this year! Got to make the most of it…
Hi Jaq. We’ll be getting a bit more of a shift on now, heading for the Ashby for mid-June. Be lovely to catch up somewhere this summer. Hugs passed on…
Locks 2, miles 4¼