Off we headed, not long after 9am, with nb Two Jays in front - our intentions to head towards Anderton - us to go down onto the Weaver; Jim and Joan most probably to have a good look around and join us on
This part of the T&M, as it winds it's way around Northwich and through the salt works would not be the enticement for someone planning a cruising holiday - it is more a section to be endured; but even saying that is a bit unkind - there are many areas on the system that can be lumped together under the general heading of parts to put up with in order to get to somewhere else.
|The Two Jays in the distance as we pass around Northwich|
Still once through the countryside opens up again and suddenly, Anderton is upon us - we both take advantage of the services mooring to take on water and us to use the Elsan.
We cruised up further to the 24 hour moorings just near to the boatlift and we all head along the towpath to see this wonder of the system.
Downstairs to the booking office - a slot is available in an hour's time - great and we take that one - no charge. Sufficient time to have a cup of coffee before moving the boat up and have the safety talk.
After that it was pretty much time to head in - the gongoozlers were out in force, so not the time to make a mess of entering the holding pound - smoothly through the bridge hole - no touching of the sides, then into the trough before finally entering the caisson to held down.
|entering the Anderton caisson|
I could tell the both Joan and Jim were looking forward to it - plenty of attention being paid to everything going on around and watching all of the little things that go on.
|Joan had a smile as big as Anderton lift|
There was a bit of a jerky start to the descent, which settled down and the river below was slowly coming up to meet us.
Without any delay the gates rose and we made our way out onto the Weaver, turning left and heading down for a mile or so before returning and mooring up and had a cuppa before we parted ways and waved J&J goodbye.
|about to exit|
We headed back towards Northwich and moored up opposite the new marina that has appeared since we were last down here. A large Waitrose has also appeared behind the marina and there is plenty of building going on - a complete renaissance in Northwich - a town trying hard to shake off the appearance and reputation of it's past.
|moored up in Northwich|
As it was Sunday we didn't expect much to be open as we headed out a bit after 5pm - and we were right.
We stopped at 'spoons for something to eat and then walked around the town - to parts of it that we hadn't seen before.
By the end we found about 10 pubs, 6 supermarkets, signs to the station (easy walking distance), an
mmm, a plan appears to be hatching as we walked.
By Monday morning we had thought about it again; we needed to check out the marina for prices - that was fine; elsan; showers available and diesel can be delivered by Renaissance Canal Traders.
It will be dependant on the conditions but we might very well come down onto the Weaver for a month or so in January - we haven't found a reason not to - and everything is virtually a 5-10 minute walk from the marina.
Monday was also the rest day for le Tour, so that meant I could get another coat done in the engine bay, which was done - so nearly all done and then everything that has been stored in all sorts of places inside, will find themselves relocated back to below decks with the engine and we will be able to move again.
We still wanted to explore a bit more of the Weaver and so headed off towards Winsford on Tuesday. First of all, it was call the lockie to let him know that we would be cruising down there and ask when would it be a suitable time - that done we were able to untie and head off virtually straight away; a short delay, but a chance to chat about what to expect further along.
|the lock in the distance and just able to squeeze below the bridge|
Through Hunt's Lock and then onto Vale Royal Lock - the intervening river section was truly delightful to cruise along.
|About to enter Hunt's Lock|
|the wide open space on the river...|
|...and the sun as well|
Above the second lock were the Vale Royal moorings, where we will head back to.
After that, the industrial side of the river was found and continued almost to Winsford - there was nothing wrong or unpleasant about the works - just not as pleasant to view as we had seen earlier.
|The not so pretty side...|
|...and the not so ugly side|
The moorings at Winsford are outside The Red Lion and can accommodate 2 boats only - we arrived to find them empty - we spent the night as the only boat there.
|outside The Red Lion|
Winsford itself is another small town suffering and perhaps not seeing a way out; there is a long trek up the hill to the shopping precinct - not a lot to grab me to go back there, but it was adequate - an Aldi and an ASDA to the west and a Morrisons to the east.
We think that the one night will do us and we will head back in the morning!
14 Miles, 2 Locks
Totals: 2683 Miles, 2039 Locks, 91 Tunnels, 32