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Saturday, 13 June 2015

June Cruise Part 1

First week in June we had a week on Centurion, starting at our Wrenbury Mill Base,
We left the moorings late afternoon and cruised a few hundred yards to the the other side of Church Lift Bridge, much quieter and peaceful than staying in the Mill basin.
Peaceful Mooring.
The following day we set of down the Llangollen Canal towards Hurleston Junction, it was relatively quiet as most of the hire boats head up the other way to Llangollen.
Hurleston Locks.
We turned left at Hurleston Junction, through Barbridge, then right on to the Middlewhich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal. We tied up before Cholmondeston Lock to wait for my father to arrive from York, travelling by train to Crewe, then push bike to Cholmondeston, not bad for an 80 year old. We stayed put here as a boat had sunk in the lock, an Anderson Hire Boat from Middlewich had his bow stuck under the supporting bars for a broken wooden buffer underneath the top cill, the lock here is quite deep and there is usually a heavy wooden buffer here, not sure if the hire boat had broken it or if it was already missing. They where just finishing pumping it out and refloating.
Pumping out the sunken boat to re float it.
The missing buffer the following day as we went down and showing
the metal bars where the water surge pulls the boat forward in the lock when filling, this caused
the hire boat to catch under the bars and sink.
There was quite a queue of boats below the lock waiting to come up stretching behond the railway bridge. Once the boat was removed, which took about 2 hours Canal and River Trust supervised boats using the lock, using only 1 paddle to control the filling, they where still letting boats up at 8pm then locked up the lock.
Queue of boats waiting for lock stretching beyond the railway bridge.
A windy day right from the start and rain forecast, we wanted to use the boat lift at Anderton so set off straight after a nice fry up breakfast. We safely descended the lock under CaRT supervision, next up was Church Minshull lock, another deep lock.
Leaving Church Minshull Lock.
We pushed on to the end of the Middlewich Branch, locking down Wardle Lock onto the very short Wardle Canal to the junction with the Trent and Mersey Canal, turning left after the junction bridge. Always busy with boats here and today no exception even with the wind and the rain that arrived as we locked down the Middlewich Locks.
Wardle Lock Cottage, now in the process of restoration, there used to be a very friendly
 lady here, an ex boater called Maureen who would offer advice to novice boaters
on their way from the 2 hire bases in Middlewich and always spoke to passing boaters.
The cottage is been restored by a young chap and his wife https://twitter.com/wardlelock
Gill taking the turn below the first of the Middlewich Locks.
After the very slow big lock we carried on to Anderton in the wind and rain, we where very disappointed that on turning up for our passage down the lift we found out the lift was out of operation. We stopped on the visitor moorings so we could look around as when we moored nearby we did not get the chance. The museum is OK and the lift looks great with plenty of info and exhibits. Just a pity we could not use it.
Anderton Boat Lift - Top Basin on the Trent and Mersey Canal.
 Bottom Basin on the River Weaver with Saturn, SUC Butty.
Side view of the Anderton Boat Lift.
We moved on once the rain had stopped and a little sunshine appeared, on through Barnton, then a short wait for the passage through Saltersford Tunnel, then along a nice little stretch before finding a quiet mooring near Dutton Hollow.
Barnton Tunnel.
Waiting for the timed on the hour passage through the crooked
Saltersford Tunnel.
Better weather near Dutton Hollow.
After mooring we walked down to Dutton Lock on the River Weaver and where lucky to see a narrow boat use the impressively large Lock Chamber, there are 2 sets of chambers here, but the smaller chamber, capable of been divided into smaller locks by extra lock gates has been out of use for some time.
Narrow Boat arrives from direction of  Frodsham and Runcorn.
Enters Dutton large Lock.
Lot of lock for 1 boat.
Note the sluice culvert, used for letting water out of the lock. the eddies
are from the water filling the lock.
Technique for locking up seems to be to tie to the white bollard
with the stern rope, and keep it in forward gear with a few revs
on whilst the lock fills with tiller pushed over to the right.
Level rising at top top gate.
Top gate hydraulically opens and NB Caelestis motors out.
NB Caelestis heads off  for Saltersford Lock.
We wandered downstream for a while, had a look at the sluice's for controlling the River level before returning to the boat for dinner and another quiet nights mooring.
Below the lock, unused entrance to small locks to the left.
Dutton Sluice.
Quite a flow at normal levels, must be impressive in flood.

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