Wednesday, February 23, 2011

has spring sprung?

Its so good to be able to state where we have been this last week instead of “umm, we still iced in, not been or going anywhere” !   This last week we started at Nantwich; turned onto the Middlewich Arm down into Middlewich; turned left onto the Trent and Mersey going north; through Anderton and Preston Brook onto the Bridgewater Canal and now moored at Moore by Bridge 7.

The Middlewich Arm is quite desolate in February and for most of it (about 12 miles) was bitterly cold cos of the wind.   We only stayed the one night in Middlewich as neither of us likes it much there.   Don’t really know why, just one of those things.   

Passed by the old old Lion Salt Works (left click to display web page for links in today's blog) yesterday which is being "resurected".  The link will tell you more but in a nutshell .....The Lion Salt Works at Marston in mid-Cheshire is a rare, perhaps unique, survival of a traditional inland salt works which once produced this essential commodity. The standing buildings and structures on the site illustrate the whole process of salt production and date from the late 19th and 20th centuries, however, many of the buildings and structures are now in a very poor state of repair. Limited emergency structural repairs have been carried out in recent years but decline still continues. In the late 19th century Cheshire provided 86% of the nation’s salt – the Lion Salt Works is the only tangible surviving structure of this important industry.

Stayed by Anderton Boat Lift last night which is quite a piece of engineering “lifting” boats from the Trent and Mersey onto the River Weaver.    Just as well we had decided to do this another time (always the danger of the river flooding this time of year) because it was supposed to start working at 0800.     We had filled up with diesel off the working boat Renaissance the night before as they were off down to the Weaver this morning so Dai wanted to take some photos of the action - durrr, what action was that then?     None!    Computer prob ---- but they had it fixed in about 30 mins.     One boat went down to swing round and come back up again (presumably just to say we have done it so can tick the box) but then it got stuck as the barrier refused to budge to let them out!     We left them to it and carried on northwards with 3 tunnels and a stoplock.   First two tunnels (Barnton and Saltersford) both very kinky and the third (Preston Brook) very straight.   Look at the photo I took as we left Preston Brook Tunnel to see the smoke trail we left behind !

Did I tell you before that Dai has to have an afternoon nap these days?     Ha ha - well he has had this past week.    Age must be catching up with him!!

Spring is coming - yes it is !    This last week we have seen masses of snowdrops, catkins, the yellow flowers on gorze, pussy willow tips and crocuses - even some daffodil buds.    Please no more ice or snow (I know, its only mid Feb but you must be positive).

I would show you a photo of a magnificent Welsh dragon tiller pin that we purchased from another boat this week but Dai still needs to give it a good spit and polish - I’ll post it next week.

Since last blog we have done …  33 miles and 9 locks
This makes total since Setting Off ….. 988 miles and  888 locks

Oh Dear

an even bigger Oh Dear

being restored to former glory

still the Lion Salt Works - needs an awful lot of work on it

Anderton Lift

Yes, that's the smoke trail we left behind exiting Preston Brook Tunnel

An abandoned crane in the middle of nowhere on the Bridgewater Canal being put to good use holding stop planks


  1. I don't think that crane is abandoned. You'll see them at regular intervals along the Bridgewater. It's just that it's such a wide and deep canal that there's no other way to lift the stop planks.

  2. we'll look out for more then! Thanks for that info

  3. Lovely to see you both at Anderton last week. We managed to get down the lift at lunchtime & back up at dusk, so we had to be sharpish at getting all our deliveries done!

    Adam's right, the stop planks on the bridgewater are to heavy and cumbersome to lift without a crane, so you will see more of these as you travel along.

    All the best, Brian & Ann Marie