Helen ad Chris were at the door of Sexton's the Bakers at 0830 waiting for the pork pies to come out of the oven. With those secured and 6 baps carried back to the boat we were off in bright sunshine. There are a fair few of early starters in this weather to beat the heat of the day I assume, or get to the choice moorings just after lunch whilst there are still some vacancies.
There are some lovely tree lined sections of the Bridgewater Canal between Lymm and Thelwall and the dappled shade was very welcome. There was not too much traffic coming the other way which meant a lazy time at the tiller.
Daresbury Scientific Laboratory. The Tower was initially used as the Nuclear Structure Facility. It started work as a Nuclear Physics Laboratory in 1962 and was officially opened by Harold Wilson in 1967. It was short listed as a possible site for the CERN Large Hadron Collider but lost out to a site on the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva. 300 are employed there and they currently working on such things as Syncrotron radiation sources, electron acceleration, new light sources, ion scattering, electron spectroscopy and research in to nuclear structures. The site does look to have fairly new facilities with in it and the staff restaurant looked very nice to eat out in the sunshine for a late lunch.
Just after we passed the turn into the Runcorn Arm and passed under the M56 we pulled over at Midland Chandlers to buy some gear for our trip down onto the Weaver . As always you spend more than you bargained for so didn't feel too guilty about staying on their mooring whilst we had lunch. It wasn't very far to go until the entrance to Preston Brook Tunnel 1239 yds. long. It is only one way and for boats going south it is from half past the hour to twenty to the hour. There were three of us waiting and on the allotted time we set off. The tunnel marks the change over from the Bridgewater to the Trent and Mersey canal and as was usual the different companies installed a stop lock to prevent any loss of water from one to the other as water has always been a precious commodity on the canals.
Dutton Stop Lock. The difference was only a couple of inches but the single gate was very heavy so I helped with the other two boats with us as they were single handers. The sunker cruiser has been there since at least May.
Just after the stop lock is a 'quaint' covered dry dock.
This is the site of the massive breach in the Trent and Mersey Canal at Dutton. It occured in September 2012 and the canal was re-opend for navigation in May 2013. It now seems that it is a popular mooring spot as there is a good view of the Weaver Valley with no trees blocking the view and on a day like today it had a nice breeze too.
This is what the breach looked like just after it occurred.
Photograph courtesy of http://www.towpathtalk.co.uk/news/paving-the-way-for-dutton-repairs
We stopped at Black Prince at Bartington Wharf at 16:10 and the place was closed up. We will have to get it from a marina tomorrow just before we descend to the Weaver. The next highlight was the Saltersford tunnel 424yds. This is another timed tunnel as although it is short it is also very bendy and not wide enough for two boats. This time it was from thirty minutes past the hour to ten to the hour for going south. We just scrapped in without having to wait. The pool at the end was busy with moored boats and one waiting to head north. Very shortly came the Barnton Tunnel which is longer, 572 yds, but straight enough to be able to see through to the other end to check if anything is coming. Again we headed straight through.
Coming out into the daylight at the South End of Barnton Tunnel. It wasn't very long afterwards that we moored up for the night just west of the Anderton Boat lift.