Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Down the Anderton Lift.

Tuesday 20th August, 2013 at the Anderton Lift.
Today, between Marston and Anderton, we passed the most northerly point on our travels this year. This bit of the canal was re-built as late as 1958 because the old route of the canal was sinking into old salt minings.
All the towns around here with "wich" at the end of their names were traditional salt mining towns, some from Roman times. The area is pock-marked with sink holes where the ground has collapsed into old workings. Middlewich had many houses that had to abandoned because they sank into the ground. In several places the canal suddenly widens into what are locally known as "Flashes" where the ground has subsided.
The area round Marston is heavily industrialised, mainly with plant that originally belonged to ICI before it was taken over in 2007.  What an affront to the visual and olfactory senses after the gentle rural scenes that we have been used to!
R made a phone call to the Anderton Lift and booked us in for a 1:30 trip down on to the River Weaver. We arrived at 12:30 on the holding moorings and, to our surprise, were ushered straight in an hour early.
Although we had been on the lift once before with Jenni, Barry and family in 2010, it was always our ambition to take MM down on the lift. The lift is spectacular. It will take two 72ft narrowboats, or one widebeam, between the Trent & Mersey Canal and the River Weaver 50ft below in just a few minutes. It was opened in 1875 and continued in use until 1983, when it was closed for restoration. It re-opened in 2002 and is one of the wonders of the canal network.
Each of the two "caissons" weighs 250 tons full of water (or narrowboats) and they are each supported and moved up and down by a single massive hydraulic ram.
The River Weaver below is very much a contrast to the T&M canal above. Its a big, wide river, slow flowing and very deeply fringed by reed beds and trees. Jamie and Alex supervised mooring up for lunch.
We cruised upstream to Northwich and walked into town. In terms of architecture, it was definitely one of the strangest mixtures that we have ever seen. Old timber-framed buildings interspersed with sixties horrors and modern development. Some of the changes due to re-development and some due to buildings collapsing as the ground underneath subsided into old mineworkings.

We sailed back towards the Anderton Lift and moored up for the night. We are booked to go back up on the Lift at 11:30 tomorrow morning.
The night was slightly disturbed by the loud hum from some kind of fan on the industrial estate opposite, but we still all slept well anyway.
Today: 11 miles, 1 Lift and 6.3 hours.
Trip: 282 miles, 216 locks and 229.4 hours.

No comments:

Post a Comment