Boatwif Blog

How far’ve you come? 2

How far’ve you come?

“How far’ve you come?” someone called out  from the bottom of his garden on Sunday afternoon. “Just from Poynton.” “Not far then!” “Well, we left in May and we’ve done 700 odd miles.” “ You’ve had good weather then… “ Thus went a snatched conversation at Hurdsfield on the northern outskirts of Macclesfield. The Macclesfield Canal is shallow, the going is never fast so there are frequent boat-to-shore exchanges. On Saturday morning the Cheshire Three had arrived at the bottom of...

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The unexpected (part 2)

To come across unexpected things can be a joy; to have unexpected things happen to you can be, well, a nuisance… The joy of returning to the Macclesfield Canal via Heartbreak Hill is that it is predictable. The canal climbs steadily, the locks, mostly side by side doubles, coming at regular intervals.      The intriguing shape of the Mow Cop folly steadily becomes more distinct    while the water gradually takes on its reddish iron ore deposit colour. Just up from Rode...

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The unexpected

Cleddau returned from the River Weaver to canal level last Saturday morning. Into the Anderton Lift at the bottom Cleddau sailed,     accompanied by the 70 foot long Largo, to rise slowly fifty feet up to the Trent and Mersey Canal.      Down below in the grounds a bouncy castle and children’s games had been set up     and a PA system installed.  At the top the entrance railings were festooned with bunting      and a fleet of smart cars was parked alongside.      What...

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Weaver reflections – and a bat in the boat

Cruising the Weaver Navigation is one long visual and mental treat – there’s active industry, industrial heritage, impressive structures, miles of glorious rural landscape, abundant wildlife, superb moorings      and the historic town of Northwich. To deal with the industry first. Salt has long been a dominant industry in the Weaver Valley. Cruise upstream from Anderton to Winsford (nearly 11 miles, 2 locks) and you come to the head of navigation. Creep if you dare past the Red Lion pub,...

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The Anderton Boat Lift

Message to the Cheshire Three: “Fancy a ride on the Anderton Lift? We’re going down onto the Weaver.” There was an instant affirmative – and so on Sunday the Cheshire Three and Techno’s Dad appeared early at Cleddau, bringing delicious home-made cake with them. Regarded as one of the great Wonders of the Waterways the Anderton Lift is an immense structure a couple of miles from Northwich     The Lift connects the Trent and Mersey Canal with the Weaver Navigation some fifty...

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To Northwich

Into Northwich – twice. What comes to mind when you think of Cheshire? The Cheshire Plain and Jodrell Bank? Cheshire cheese? The Cheshire Cat? Extravagant footballer houses? The Cheshire hills which abut the Peak District? The Cheshire set? None of these images remotely coincides with the area around Northwich. Northbound beyond Middlewich along the Trent and Mersey Canal there are several areas (lagoons) of wide shallow water, the result of subsidence. On the canal the approach (on Saturday) to Northwich is...

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Playing your cards right

There’s been a dash back home, just for three days and four nights, enough time for haircuts, grass cuts and hedge cuts. There was time to check the mail, connect briefly with some friends, skim through the free newspapers – and intercept the postman just before departure… “Someone’s birthday?” asked a towpath walker at Nantwich on Wednesday, glimpsing some cards suspended on string by the windows.  “The old lady on the front,” said the Captain from the stern, “it was...

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Broken bits and boats in queues

Cruising along the Shropshire Union: 10½ miles, 25 locks No, Cleddau isn’t broken, nor any of the crew. But somehow broken things seemed to dominate activities these last few days. There was broken sleep to start with: at midnight on the Cheshire One’s first night her alarm clock sprang into life, waking all on board – and there followed some to-ings and fro-ings between front and rear cabin until a couple of hours later sleep returned… Moored at Market Drayton...

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The big, the bizarre and the beautiful

Calf Heath to Goldstone Wharf Within a couple of hours of leaving the Calf’s Heath mooring on Saturday the Shropshire Union Canal had been reached. Signpost for CHESTER,       that must be it… pass through the small stop lock (a 6 inch drop) at Autherley Junction and the Shropshire Union stretches ahead for 66½ miles to Ellesmere Port and the Manchester Ship Canal. After the curves and narrows of the Staffs and Worcs Canal boaters soon realise that cruising along the...

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Hurrah for Staffordshire

Though Staffordshire doesn’t always get a good press its canals deserve a rousing cheer. It’s not been new territory, these past four days. The Cleddau route, Fradley Junction (nearest major town Lichfield) to Calf Heath (nearest major town Wolverhampton) has involved  28 miles and 18 locks on two different canals. Fradley is always busy with boats and walkers, holidaymakers and gongoozlers.      Conversation with other boaters at the Fradley locks is usually easy: which way are you going, further along the...