Friday, 25 July 2014

Along the Weaver

Sunday 20th July to Tuesday 22nd July 2014

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 Ferndale going down on the boatlift.

This part of the Trent and Mersey, 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 go through 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

the passengers

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 Joan and Jim goodbye.

about to exit

au revoir

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 Enterprise car rental site; markets; a bus interchange station and really all of the things that you would be looking for in a place to moor for a bit over winter.

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 a call to the lockie to let him know that we would be heading his way 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 Lift Bridges, 151 Swing Bridges


  1. If you are planing to go down the lift in January, check the winter stoppages, as the lift often has its annual maintenance in January & therefore not open to traffic !

    1. Thanks Alf
      We spoke to the Anderton Lift people before we came down this time about January and will be talking them again when we go back up to make sure.