Sunday, 10 September 2017

North West Passage: Day 16

It was pretty grey and drizzly when we set off about 8.15. We immediately began to pass the wide expanses of water known as flashes. Just north of the biggest one, there's a CRT sign notifying that the canal will be crossed by HS2 -- turning a rather lovely quiet place into a noisy one. In case anyone was worried that the canal is always a rural idyll, we then passed through the middle of the Tata chemical works, with steam and sulphurous smells coming from pipes and vats.

Apparently they produce soda ash, sodium bicarbonate, and calcium chloride, among other things, here. A little further north is Lion Salt Works, which used to produce salt by evaporation and is now a museum.

As we got to the water point at Anderton, a boat was just leaving and another was coming in from the other direction. Fortunately there are two water points at the services there. Then two more boats turned up, and moored on the outside of us and the other boat. We started a wash load, but even so the tank was full in about fifteen minutes or so.

We headed past the Anderton Boat Lift, where the trip boat was about to go down, and on to Barnton Tunnel. The approach, under a road bridge, is difficult, and you need to be virtually at the tunnel entrance before you can see whether anything is coming the other way.

The tunnel is very bendy inside. As we neared the far end I heard a horn, so sounded mine in response. A day boat was coming the other way but as it's a one way tunnel they had to reverse up and wait. The next tunnel, Saltersford, is so bendy you can't see the far end so entry is timed. Northbound boats like us can go in for the first twenty minutes of the hour; it just so happened that we had only a couple of minutes to wait.

The bends are such that you actually have to steer round corners inside. Out the oer side the sun actually made an appearance for a while. It wasn't long before we reached the Dutton Stop Lock, with a fall of a whole four inches. Then it's Preston Brook Tunnel, which again has timed entry. We had about twenty minutes to wait. The house on the right is for sale at £600,000.

Just inside the northern portal of Preston Brook Tunnel, the canal changes from the Trent and Mersey to the Bridgewater. This is a private canal owned by Peel Ports, not run by CRT. A couple of miles further on is the Daresbury Laboratory, with its distinctive tower.

We carried on to Moore in increasingly blustery conditions, and moored up just after the village. Since we've stopped there have been a few sudden downpours, although none has lasted very long. We can also see planes turning onto their final approach into Liverpool Airport.

19 miles, 1 lock. (190 miles, 130 locks)

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