We moved off about 0900 to be at the Marina for fuel soon after it opened. It meant winding at the marina entrance near the Anderton services. We dumped the rubbish and then took 128 litres of fuel. We then moved back up to the Lift to book in and found that Thursday was maintenance day and the earliest we could get in was 1340. Therefore we winded again at the Lift and went back to the services to take on water, on completion we winded again and moored near the nature reserve before the lift until the time we had booked.
Chris and Helen feeding the swans by hand.
You have to be on the waiting berth 30 mins before the allotted time. They then come and give you the lowdown on everything and then we made our move into the basin. The Basin then leads into the aqueduct into the lift. The gate is closed behind you and then the gate into the caisson is opened and in you steam. The gate closes and a locking gate closes and then almost imperceptibly the tank starts to go down. There is a little juddering and then it smooths out.
Onto the aqueduct.
The view up stream on the Weaver from the top of the Anderton Lift.
On the way down.
The opposite tank is now above us and you can see the hydraulic ram that drives it. Each sides rams cost £1 million and is coated black. It is expected to last for 99 years before requiring service. The Original lift, opened 1875, was hydraulically operated but the water used caused corrosion on the rams and so it was converted to electric power in 1904. The caissons were lifted and lowered by pulleys and wires on gears. The gear system was designed by Andre Gustav Citroen and were very special with V shaped driving teeth. He was very famous for this before he started making cars. It is said that the badge on Citroen cars to this day are a representation of the tooth of his innovative design.
Once clear of the lift we turned left and headed up stream. You first come to Northwich. There didn't seem to be any moorings here so we continued under Twon Swing Bridge and Hayhurst Swing Bridge. Our draft is such that they don't need to be swung for us.
Town Swing bridge, Northwich.
Hayhurst Swing bridge, Northwich.
This is the smaller of the two locks at Hunts Lock. The keepers were very helpful and take a centre line up to hold you. The lock wasn't very turbulent and we were soon up the 11'2" and continuing on our way. It was about 30 mins later that we arrived at Vale Royal Lock. We had been told that there would be another boat to go up with us so we had a chat whilst we waited.
At normal river levels New Bridge has an air draft of 6'4". The river levels are down and we easily cleared the bridge. The weather is so warm that the local lads were diving of the structure and swimming about. You can see one of them here looking like he is sky diving.
This is the salt mine that seems to supply all the road salt for the country in the winter and quite often interviews can be seen carried out here when the first snows come. Not very likely at the moment!
Just after the Salt Mine the river looks very rural, wooded and beautiful. A little further on we came to a small mooring at the Red Lion at Winsford. We stopped for a drink but didn't feel too secure so moved on. Before turning we continued under the last two bridges and out of the jurisdiction of the Canal and Rivers Trust and out on to the lake type Winsford Bottom Flash. It was caused by subsidence caused by the salt mining. Moorings are indicted but we didn't see any and whilst cautiously looking we touched bootom so turned round and went back through the bridges and headed for the mooring at Vale Royal.
Looking South on Winsford Bottom Flash.