The Saltersford and Barnton Tunnels were first on Saturday morning. The first winding, one-way-at-a-time, and timetabled; the other dead straight, and “enter if there's no-one coming towards you!” It involved a half-hour wait at Saltersford, where we were first in the queue, and an impatient know-it-all boater behind us trying to bully Grace into leaving some minutes too early. If he had known-it-all, he would have known that you can't “see the other end” from the entrance, as he suggested, and that there are people – just like him – who like to flout the time regulations and end up leaving the tunnel just as others are starting to enter. Someone did that to us when we were coming the other way through!
|Boats enter the right channel...|
|into a caisson (think "bath") at the end of that huge multi-legged structure.|
|The bottom gate opens to take boats up|
off the River Weaver onto the canal...
|two at a time.|
|The gate closes behind them...|
|and the caisson starts to rise...|
|as the other starts its descent.|
|These boats have just come down...|
|and they drive out onto the river...|
|as the other leaves onto the canal.|
It's all very clever. And amazingly simple!
Yesterday was juvenile heron day. Today was kingfisher day, with several sightings and one much-zoomed photo. And a first for us was a crested grebe with three young.
After a stretch of gentle countryside through Marston and Wincham came Northwich and its ugly salt-processing plants, steam and noise.
But this gave way to wooded countryside again, and we found a perfect mooring past bridge 76, just before the stark yet picturesque Croxton Flash. As yesterday, only one other boat shares the mooring with us.