We had a cool start to the day with a heavy dew but no sign of frost… yet. The sun was clearing the trees as I took Meg out for a stroll.
We cruised into Northwich, where we needed to stop for a quick trip up to the Post Office.
I do like the Weaver…
The extensive redevelopment at Baron’s Quay in Northwich seems to be complete.
The offside (north bank) moorings, handy for the town centre, are still as rough as ever, but are now at least accessible again. There’s just room for one boat on the lower section, the high wall further along towards the swing bridge now seems to be off limits…
Hmmm… Are we to expect a return of large craft to the waterway, then? It’ll play havoc with the traffic crossing the swing bridges!
Looking back from upstream of Town Bridge, with Northwich Marina on the site of the old Flotel.
I’d rung Bob at Hunts Lock to let him know we were coming, and he told me that he was expecting another boat as well. It was Thorin Oakenshield, just pulling away from the moorings on the left to turn around and follow us.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen the footbridge at the maintenance yard swung across the channel before…
…I didn’t realise it still worked!
MVs Parfield and Parbella moored next to the entrance to Yarwood’s yard
These two along with a third vessel called Paradine carried grain from Liverpool and Manchester Docks to the Kelloggs factory at Water’s Meeting on the Bridgewater Canal. The Dukers as they were known could also tow a pair of Mere class barges each. The last grain run was in 1974 from Manchester Docks.
Hunts Lock, the deepest on the River Weaver Navigation.
The River Weaver Navigation has been continuously improved (up to 1890) to accommodate larger and larger vessels. This is the smaller of the two chambers still in use at Hunts Lock.
Hartford Bridge (“Blue Bridge”) halfway between Hunts and Vale Royal Locks.
Vale Royal Lock was shared once again with Thorin Oakenshield, before they passed us to head for moorings at the Red Lion in Winsford.
Leaving Vale Royal Locks
There’s three generations of lock construction visible here. On the left is the earliest chamber, built in 1791 and was in use until 1862 when the larger one alongside was finished. It’s now used as a bywash sluice. The newer lock is now known as the Small Lock, because in 1889 the Big Lock opened. At twice the size of the Small Lock it could accommodate a steam tug and three 300 ton barges, and due to it’s efficient operation using Pelton water wheels to move the gates, it could pass vessels through in 15 minutes.
There was an even earlier lock, timber built in 1732 on the old river. This dates from when the river was first made navigable, but no trace remains today.
We pulled in on the moorings just 5 minutes above the lock.
A couple of nights here, then back downstream.
Locks 2, miles 4