Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Barbidge to Anderton

Barbridge to Anderton
Easter 2010 part 4
Monday 5th April

20 miles - 8 locks - 8 hours

The weather has reverted to winter, with a relentlessly cold westerly wind which has spun round from a low in the north. The good news is that the day has remained  rain free - just endless leaden sky.

Canal house at Barbridge Junction

After four days afloat it's time to replenish the water tank which was accomplished at the junction. The junction house is for sale which is a lovely three story classic with water on two sides and a marina behind. A canal buff's paradise.

Our attempts at watching a DVD last night was marred by an overheating inverter, which had to be reset every 10 seconds. It was a one hour DVD so I will leave you to work out how many times we had to intervene. The old inverter was only a little 150 watt unit to charge mobile phones so powering a laptop was a challenge too far. I therefore desided to bite the bullet and buy a replacement with a bit more oomph (thats technical speak for an enhanced power output capacity). I stuck with Sterling and bought a 350 watt unit from Venetian Marina who supplied a good quantity of advice along with the product. Once fitted into the 12 volt supply it was a 100% success and well worth the £68 investment.

House at Church Minshull

The Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal is not a favourite of many boaters, but with its lofty perch above the River Weaver it does offer some spectacular views to the north. We  came across another very fine canalside property in Church Minshull, where tree felling had provided a hitherto unseen view of it's fine flemish gables. Its not for sale but I would certainly hanker for such a location.

River Weaver Aqueduct

The aqueduct over the  River Weaver justified a stop and a scramble down a very steep embankment. This effort was rewarded by the sight of an impressive main span with smaller flood relief channels either side.

I am normally a placid kind of guy but I did get a bit hot under the collar when a boat, seeing us approaching, pulled out into out path and stole the locks as they dawdled right through Middlewich, left the bottom gate open and wandered off into town. 

Wreck in Flash

We pushed on into that curious area of the flashes,  patches of open water caused by subsidence into brine extraction sites. I am particularly taken by Billinge Green Flash with it's moulderng old hulks and then the next one with its seemingly 'placed' stern section which crumbles a little bit more with each passing year. One of these days we will pass by and it will be gone forever.

Brunner Mond chemical works

Brunner Mond Chemical works may not be beautiful but they do offer a bit of industrial contrast after four days of relentless rurality, great gouts of steam hissing and spitting from leaky valves. This industrial complex leads to Wolverton Boatyard with its trademark boat lift made out of  converted container crane, to the best of my knowledge a unique structure.

Wolverton boat crane

Finally it was into Anderton and a mooring just before the lift, ready to try and catch the first lift down in the morning. Peversley, if you book you have to pay to the clever money says "turn up and hope for the best - and save the fee" we will see.

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