Boatwif Blog

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SAL EST VITA

Down to the Weaver via the Anderton Lift    on Wednesday afternoon – and back onto the deep waters of a river.     The Weaver, which is about 20 miles in length, has a dual personality: there are some fine scenic rural stretches as well as lengths dominated by old or current industry. Right opposite the Lift is a huge industrial complex, formerly run by ICI, now owned by TATA Chemicals Ltd, its products being soda ash, sodium bicarbonate, calcium chloride and...

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It’s all in the timing

Dunham Massey, near Altrincham, is just a five minute walk from the Bridgewater Canal.    It was 1976 when the last (10th) Earl of Stamford donated the property to the National Trust. Visit it – and be charmed by the photogenic fallow deer     which roam the grounds. A current exhibition in the house emphasises the fame and infamy achieved by key members of the Booth and Grey families. One, Lady Mary Booth (1704 – 1772), the only child of the 2nd...

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Back on the watery road – and a few extraordinary things…

Hull care… you need to protect your hull if you want your boat to last. That’s an understatement for all boat owners. Cleddau has been ‘out to sea’ four times in recent years (across the Wash in 2014, last year down the tidal Severn followed two months later by a cruise up the tidal Thames and then in May this year the boat spent six nights in Salthouse Dock in Liverpool). The last time Cleddau’s hull was exposed to air...

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Just because…

Liverpool is an out and back destination. Down into Liverpool  Cleddau had gone on 16th May. Six days later, early on a Sunday morning, the boat was reversed off her Salthouse Dock mooring,      ready to cross Albert Dock, to wait for the half tide barrier to be lowered by the C&RT staff     and then to access the first lock. It was back through the tunnels…  back along Sid’s Ditch…  with a right turn at Victoria Clock Tower… a climb of...

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Tourists in Liverpool (2) – or Birds, bells and books

With so much to see in Liverpool where to start and what to investigate? The Maritime Museum is but a minute’s walk from the boat moorings in Salthouse Dock. From here two zany archaeologists         led a walk past fountains representing tide heights to a site below the streets of Liverpool One.  Here was the Old Dock,     unearthed in 2001. Below the streets visitors see a brick wall on top of sandstone layers – but the tour treats them to a...

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Tourists in Liverpool (1)

After five and a half days in tourist mode maybe it’s time to put words onto a screen… Liverpool is stunning – visually and aurally, culturally and commercially. It is a vibrant city, not afraid to recognise its past as a port so many people emigrated from      and one where laughter, music and humour    are always close by. Liverpool’s growth as a port came from a decision in 1710 to create a wet dock from a pool...

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Down to Liverpool Docks

Melling to Salthouse Docks: 11.75 miles, 6 locks, 4 swing bridges, 3 tunnels “Where are yer going?” So often along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal that question has been asked – and when the reply is “Liverpool,” the response is always: “Oh, yer’ll lurve it there.” On Sunday there was a short distance move (of less than three miles) from Lydiat to Melling, the last safe place in the countryside before the urban sprawl of Liverpool begins. A long stretch of...

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Water Road past Wigan Pier

Blame the shopping list… if it hadn’t been for the shopping list Wednesday might have seemed less dismal and less wet… In heavy rain the Captain had cast off from the towpath just south of Astley Green and continued north along the Bridgewater Canal. It’s not easy to describe a landscape when it is viewed from under a rain hat and an umbrella – the canal is wide, with towpaths or footpaths on both sides. Often the land either side...

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Tunnels, bridges and curious structures

Billinge Green Flash to Vicars Hall Bridge (near Astley Green); 40 miles, 1 lock Once past Middlewich the northern Trent and Mersey Canal has a character hard to define – is it rural – or is it industrial? Cruise past the flashes, pass the Marbury Country Park near Anderton    and the wooded areas north of the Anderton Lift, spy in the month of May great spreads of bluebells,     sniff the sweet smell of wild garlic – and this is rural bliss....

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About turn

How could it be that the ideal mooring about a mile from Middlewich, not once, but twice, had to be given up last Wednesday…? Mid-afternoon the boat had been pulled in, the Captain had threaded the stern rope through the mooring ring and tied it off,     Boatwif was still holding the bow rope when the Captain’s mobile rang.       Not so unusual – but news was of the O word. 150 miles away OfSTED had given half a day’s notice of...