Monday, 15 June 2015

River Weaver

Hi all,
This week we are moored on the River Weaver at the lovely moorings on Barnton Cut,having had a brilliant time since we came down the Anderton Boat Lift and met up with Val and Pete on NB Tadpole 2 a week ago yesterday.We've been able to take both Chyandour and Tadpole 2 as far as we can safely go at both ends of the river as well as enjoying some of the places in between.The weather has been very kind to us,even the washout that was forecast for last Saturday failed to materialise and we managed to cruise a bit as well as take a good look around a couple of places near Weston Marsh and Weston Point at the Northern end of the river.
We cast off on Tuesday morning from the moorings below Anderton and made our way the short distance Southwards to Northwich where we managed to find a couple of moorings and then spent the rest of day exploring the lovely clean town with it's pretty timber framed buildings.I don't recall ever seeing so many waste bins in a town as we saw in Northwich,probably why it was so clean.There were plenty of shops for Lisa and Val to indulge themselves while Pete and I searched for the Salt Museum.There's a sign for the salt Museum above the entrance to the library but unfortunately the museum isn't there anymore,it's about half a mile outside of the town at Weaver Hall.It was explained to us that because the front of the Library is Grade 2 listed the sign above the door can't be changed.Anyway,in the end we decided to save the museum for a future visit.
A concrete barge,now sadly sunk,apparently the Admiralty had a number of these built during wartime to be used as floating warehouses.There's another one at the National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port that was still afloat last time I looked.
Talking of barges,this monster came at us while we were moored on the Water Point at Northwich.Two men on the side of it had poles to fend it off us should they need to,the farthest man with a steel tipped Boathook ready to push off our Gunwales.I came out in a cold sweat as I prepared to say goodbye to my lovely paintwork but they managed to get by with less than six inches to spare.
After the ladies had done some last minute shopping on Wednesday morning we set of Southwards again to another very clean town,Winsford.The stretch of the river between Northwich and Winsford is a delightful mix of rural and industrial and took us through our first river locks.These locks are manned and beautifully looked after by the Lockies who were always friendly and cheerful,all we had to do was phone ahead when we were half an hour away and each one would be ready and waiting when we arrived.At Winsford there's a recently built Waterfront which has some very nice open moorings with the added bonus of a waterpoint,you get to them after going under the two Winsford Bridges and turning sharp left just before the Flash.They're out of town a bit but this only makes for them being quieter in the evening.Having a walk around the town in the afternoon we were impressed with the shopping centre and other stores.The four of us went for a short stroll and a quiet drink in The Ark and The Red Lion near the moorings on Wednesday night,just in the interests of research of course.
Approaching our first River Lock,Hunts Lock,friendly Lockies were waiting to help us through.

Lisa at the helm as we made our way towards the second lock of the day with Val & Pete on Tadpole 2 following. The Lockie at Hunts Lock phoned through to Vale Royal Lock to advise of our eta.

Salt has been extracted around this area of Cheshire for Centuries and here alongside the river is the Union Rock Salt Mine,just outside Winsford.It's one of only three Salt Mines in the UK and is the biggest and oldest having been started in 1844.Salt is extracted elsewhere by pumping water underground,this dissolves the salt which is then brought to the surface in the form of brine. 
Elvis 1.We saw this in Winsford and the lady in charge of it told us that it was very popular with the good folk of Winsford.You can hear it coming because she continuously plays Elvis Presley songs through speakers.

Winsford Waterfront,a great place to moor but just a bit shallow near the entrance.
 On Thursday we cruised back through Vale Royal Lock and Hunts Lock as we traveled the seven miles back to Anderton where we intended to stop the night before moving on on Friday to a place we'd heard some good things about,the village of Frodsham.We had hoped to moor on the Frodsham Cut and walk into the village but unfortunately there's a boom across the cut at it's junction with the Weaver so we traveled a bit further to Sutton Swing Bridge for the night.Frodsham turned out to be quite a delightful little place with lots of information boards and plaques giving details of the local history.Well worth the visit despite the walk from the river and the fact that the main road had a continuous stream of traffic,something we're not used to anymore.To fortify ourselves for the walk back to the boats we tried a drink in The Bears Paw and sat outside watching the Police directing the traffic.We considered having our first BBQ of the year when we got back but sadly it came on to rain just as we got on the boats.
Saturday morning we set off once again,this time to get as far North along the river as we could,which turned out to be the junction of the now disused Runcorn and Weston Canal.There's a very low swing bridge just past the junction that hadn't been opened for quite some time and it didn't seem to be worth the trouble of getting it open as the terminus was just a few hundred yards farther on anyway.We moored up and went for a walk around just to see what was there and the answer is,not a lot,though it was good to see the very end.After an hour nosing around we winded in the junction and made our way back past the giant chemical works that stretches alongside the river for a mile,to a place we had passed earlier,Weston Marsh Lock and our mooring for the night.Through this lock you can get onto the Manchester Ship Canal if you wish and you can look out over the ship canal and the mud flats of the River Mersey and away in the distance is John Lennon Airport.
Pete at the helm of Tadpole 2 as we cruised past the Tata Chemicals plant alongside the Weston Canal of the Weaver Navigations.This site is the former ICI Brunner Mond Chemical works and it stretches for a mile alongside the canal.

I'm always curious about industrial sites like this one,all the different coloured and different sized pipes,all seemingly endless as they emerge from one maze of pipes before entering another maze farther on.Some going upwards on gantries before coming back down again for no apparent reason.Different chimneys,stacks I think is the correct term,some in action others not,some thin,some thick ,some short some long.A multitude of vessels of different materials,sizes and shapes holding who knows what mysterious substances.You never see a soul anywhere and there are always blasts of steam from valves and pipes,a simply fascinating place.

Weston Marsh Lock,through here you get onto the Manchester Ship Canal.We spent Saturday night here,moored on the pontoon just out of the picture to the right.
The former Anglican Christ Church on the Weston Point docks.One of three erected by the Weaver navigation for it's employees to worship after a law was passed banning work on a Sunday.This act brought the navigation in line with the rest of the UK canal network .It was consecrated at the end of 1841 and made redundant in1995,sadly,like so many old buildings,it has also been vandalised.
The end of the Weston Canal in the middle distance,no longer accessible because of two swing bridges and a lock gate which is below the swing bridge I'm standing on as I take this pic'.
The Runcorn & Weston Canal Junction and the remains of  Entrance Lock.Just to the left,off the pic', is the first of the very low swing bridges that prevented us going further along the Weaver Navigation.The Weston & Runcorn was a little used canal connecting the River with the Bridgewater Canal at Runcorn.It was opened in 1859,stretched for just under a mile and a half and was closed in 1939,being abandoned and partially filled in in the 1960's,not a good decade for our canals amongst other things.There is some talk of reopening it in the future.
Yesterday we left Weston Marsh Lock and headed back to a now familiar place,Acton Swing Bridge,where we just managed to squeeze into the last mooring breasted up,that's side by side for those who don't know,a common practice on rivers.From there we were ready to wander over to the Leigh Arms for a little light refreshment as and when the mood took us.
This morning we went through Saltersord Lock,our last river lock on this leg of our journey,and we are now moored just a couple of miles from the Anderton Boat Lift that we intend to ascend tomorrow,all being well.
Well,that's it once again folks.Since our last blog we have covered 38 Miles and gone through 4 Locks twice that gives us a Grand Total of 1,165 Locks and 1,940 Miles since we set off on our travels in October 2012.Take care everyone.

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