Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Just messing about on the Weaver…

We had a grand day yesterday. Meeting Val, John and little hairy Harry at the Boat Lift holding moorings, we were lucky to get a passage down onto the river just 45 minutes later.
We shared the caisson with a pleasant couple on NB Oakfield. It turned out that they live not far from Val and John!

Waiting on the connecting aqueduct

Going down
The mooring pontoon down on the river is a new addition.

The east caisson, on the left, passes us in the opposite direction as we descendIMG_4210

Redundant gearing on the top deck, left over from when the lift was operated with counterbalance weights.

And out at the bottom, a smooth 50 foot descent.  IMG_4211

We turned right, downstream, for Barnton Cut and the woods and fields heading north. The last time we came down with V&J, a couple of years ago, we went up to Northwich.

Winnington Swing Bridge, always in need of a coat of paintIMG_4212
Low headroom to the left, south, bank.


…and gorse.

Barnton Cut, the rising ground ahead is pierced by Saltersford Tunnel carrying the Trent and Mersey Canal

I think he’s nodded off…

A short wait for the lockie at Saltersford LockIMG_4222

Big locks, these.
The last upgrade, in the latter half of the 19th century, allowed boats of 1000 tons, with a length and breadth of 196 x 35 feet, to navigate upstream as far as Winsford.

Our first cootlings

Acton Bridge.
All of the original Weaver bridges are designed to swing to allow passage of large shipping. This one is pivoted on an island, the backwater to the left provides moorings for the Acton Bridge Cruising Club.

New short-term moorings between Acton Bridge and Dutton Lock.

We were kept amused for a few minutes by this pair of Gadwall (I think) ahead of us.
They’d take off a few yards ahead, accompanied by irritated cackling…IMG_4239

…only to splash down after a few seconds.IMG_4240
They did this several times before pulling over and letting us past.

We stopped for lunch above Dutton Lock, just past the wreck of MV Chica.

Not getting any better with age…
She’s got an interesting history…

After eating we had a walk around the lock, chatting to the lady lockie and enjoying the sunshine, before retracing our route back to Anderton.

Another look at Chica…

Precariously balanced stack

Seen through the collapsed roof, the galley still has a stove and fridge!  IMG_4248

I called up the Saltersford lockie as we passed Acton Bridge so he had the lock open and ready for us as we arrived.

Acton Swing Bridge, showing the central pivotIMG_4252

Back at Saltersford

A look at the underwear – the sluice mechanism used to drain the lockIMG_4254

Grey wagtail on the hunt in the gate recess – successfully.IMG_4257


The weather had cooled a bit as cloud built up, but we still hadn’t seen any rain as we came past the entrance channel to the boat lift.

We tried out the new mooring pontoon just visible at the extreme right of the picture, and very nice it is too.IMG_4263
We did move onto the grassy bank a little further on this morning, though.

Tea and cake when we’d stopped kept the wolf from the door, then sadly our guests had to depart. We’re moving further away from them now as we’ll be heading south and east when we rejoin the canal network.

All in all a very good day. I was surprised how few boats we’ve seen on the river. Only a handful yesterday afternoon, and one of those was Oakfield with whom we’d shared the lift.
A few more days down here before we go back up onto the jolly old T&M.

Locks 2 (the same one twice…), miles 11 

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