We were dreading cruising today as the weather forecast from last night showed that it would be raining all night and also right throughout the next day. It is not that enjoyable hanging off the back of a canal boat in the sopping rain with balancing tiller, brolly and a warming cuppa. Thankfully though, the meteorologists got it wrong again. Yes, we did battle a few showers and duck for cover under bridges but otherwise we escaped the worst of it.
Our first jobs of the day were to fill up with water, off load rubbish and empty black water – nice way of saying the nasties from the boat.
It was only a ten minute cruise down the canal to the Anderton Marina which was the place we hired our first ever canal boat from in 1991. To show you just how young and silly we were back then, we took the boat to the township of Llangollen which from this location would be a 10 day trip involving cruising days averaging five hours. We did it there and back in six days – yeap, young, silly and stupid. We have since done it in a much more leisurely fashion without starts of 5.00am.
Another five minutes down the canal and we stopped off for a coffee to view the Anderton Lift. It is similar to the Falkirk Wheel but uses a different lifting mechanism. It provides a 50-foot vertical link between two navigable waterways: the River Weaver and the Trent and Mersey Canal. The structure is designated as a scheduled monument, and is included in the National Heritage List for England; it is also known as one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways. The Falkirk Wheel is not included as one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways as it was built in 2000 and the wonders relate back to the bygone era when they were engineering wonders of their time.
When we saw the Anderton Lift back in 1991 it was in total disrepair and abandoned. The pullies were sitting on the ground and we had to scramble through overgrowth to get down to see it. We did hear at the time that they were hoping to repair it, but that it would require three million pounds. Fast forward to 2016 and it indeed had been repaired and was fully functional. It wasn’t using the pully system it was originally built with. They had upgraded to hydraulic rams but the result was the same. We went down the lift back in 2016 and felt that this time we would just sit and enjoy its splendour.
Did some cruising past some gorgeous spots and managed to dodge what the rain gods were trying to throw at us.
It was felt that this was the pick of locations today. Well above waterline with great vista.
Today saw us negotiate three tunnels and this being the Branton Tunnel, the first of the day.
The video does give you some idea as to how tight some of these older tunnels can be.
Of the three tunnels today, the Preston Brook one at 1239 yards was the longest. Thankfully, none of them required the use of an umbrella as there are some that are like being inside washing machines.
Unfortunately, we were not able to capture a photo of the front of this gentleman’s old boat which had been set up with white table cloths and the full afternoon high tea service for a group of people. We did manage though, to get his photo with his very appropriate attire for a canal.
Something you don’t like seeing though is the demise of a boat. Hard to think that someone would allow their boat to end up in this state and not do something about it. Luckily you were still able to negotiate you way around it. At some time, this was someone’s dream.
A small detour down the Runcorn arm of about one hour was taken this afternoon. The picture shows where the end of the canal is today but in years gone by it was connected to the Manchester Ship canal by 10 locks. The old flight was left in place and covered over. Its line is protected by the local council, and there are plans to re-open the locks. It probably will not happen in our lifetime but when it does it will be a huge boon for the community.
We went for a wander down the route of the old locks, and you could see a lot of evidence of where the locks had been. There were a group of lads playing a friendly game of soccer and probably none of them realised that they were in an old side pound.
So, all in all a very good day. We found a mooring just before the end of the Runcorn Canal and set up shop for the night. It wasn’t until we started to settle in for the night that it was brought to our attention that we had put ourselves directly under the flight path to John Lennon Airport in Liverpool. We couldn’t categorically state that they were dangling the Dunlops but we could distinguish some writing.