Monday, August 15, 2016

A visit to the Anderton Lift

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!

At Barnton Tunnel, there's a sharp left turn immediately before you get to the portal, so, although the tunnel's dead straight, you don't get to see if there's someone coming till you're almost in. And as we turned in at our end, so someone came in at the other end, sounding their horn as they did so. We backed out. We thought his intelligent decision to sound his horn earned him the right!
Shortly after leaving the tunnel, we pulled over and moored at the amazing Anderton Lift, and spent almost two hours there. We watched the lift in action, we discovered more about it in the visitors' centre, and we had lunch there. It's a Heritage Award-winning site, and a must-see for all. We look forward to returning – next year, perhaps, on a cruise to Llangollen – to go down on the lift, and spend a few days on the River Weaver. We're told it's delightful.
Boats enter the right channel...
pass along...

into a caisson (think "bath") at the end of that huge multi-legged structure.
Spare parts?
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.

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