Warning: Undefined variable $uOIzToL in /www/beauromer/wp-includes/class-wp-locale.php on line 1

Warning: Undefined variable $ZRmfuuLJ in /www/beauromer/wp-includes/rest-api/endpoints/class-wp-rest-global-styles-revisions-controller.php on line 1
River Weaver Archives - Beau Romer - Narrowboat Life

TW3 (That Was The Weaver That Was)

View of the River Weaver, taken just outside the entrance to the Saltersford Tunnel

The beautiful River Weaver, that we love so much, is now behind us. But I’m a little premature.

Seren Glas proceeding majestically along the Bridgewater Canal

From Little Bollington, we cruised a short hop into Lymm, a pretty Cheshire Village we’ve stayed in once before. We only intended a quick overnight stop and to take advantage of one of the fish and chip shops, but got a bit more than we bargained for. Poppy the cat went walkabout. She sauntered back to Seren Glas at about 3pm, but by that time we’d given up and spent a most congenial afternoon in the Brewers Arms. Thanks Poppy!

Cheers from The Brewery Tap, Lymm

The next day, the cat glued to the wall, we set off for our third canal, the Trent and Mersey, and Penny and Andrew’s first big challenge, the Preston Brook Tunnel. It’s 1239 yards long, and like most tunnels, has a bit of twist inside. We got through with no problems, and I helmed up through Saltersford and Barnton Tunnels the next day.

Thankfully, there aren’t too many sights like this

The Trent and Mersey isn’t my favourite canal. I find it narrow, overgrown and generally a bit grim. This year it’s growing on me, it seems brighter and more pleasant. I even saw my first kingfisher of the year near Dutton, where the canal breached disastrously in 2012. We’re going to be on it for a good while, so I might end up feeling the same as ever about the Trent and Mercy (as Bailey called it last year) and we’ve got some grim industrial and urban bits to cruise through yet.

The Daniel Adamson moored by Sutton Swing Bridge

At Anderton, we descended the boat lift to the River Weaver for the third year in a row. The boat lift is only operating on one caisson. The ceramic coating on the hydraulic ram is wearing off the other one. It looks like the boat lift is going to be taken out of commission for at least a season for a significant overhaul, but according to one of the fine gentlemen who operate it, not this year or next year, so we should get at least one more go.

Moored up under the Anderton Boat Lift as the sun goes down

I’m not sure what I can say about the River I haven’t said before. It’s a joy. It’s not terribly long, you could probably navigate the entire length in a day and has only four locks, all electric and with lock keepers. The only major town is Northwich, and it’s almost in the middle, with convenient moorings right by the shops. This year was all about giving Penny and Andrew a taster, so we only went in one direction. We moored twice at Barnton Cut, which is super mooring and lets me haul the sheets and the towels a mile uphill to a friendly launderette, and found a new to us spot at Devil’s Garden. You just have to watch out there for visiting cows! The best bit was we hooked up with Paul and Anthony on Morning Star and had a barbecue and a lovely evening with them and Heidi, on the Pirate Boat (who offered us rum and ice cream!). Heidi runs a badge making business, amongst other things, from her boat, The Rum Wench, and it turns out I ordered from her a few weeks ago before I knew who she was. It is, as they say, a small world.

Seren Glas and Morning Star at Dutton Mile

The only incident was descending Dutton Lock. We were the middle boat of three, and it was a bit of squash. The lock keeper started letting the water out and we tilted to the left. We had hung up onto the remains of another lock gate to our starboard side. The couple in the boat behind said they could see our bow coming up, and for a few seconds, which of course seemed like an eternity, it was very scary. We were shouting at the lock keeper but he didn’t hear us. And then, as fast as it happened, the boat came free, lurched violently from side to side a bit and rearranged the interior, but then all was well. No harm, no foul as they say, but I can only imagine the enquiry if the unthinkable had happened and we had sunk in a manned lock. I was glad to see the back of Dutton Lock on the return trip.

Cruising along the river, deep water under our prop

And now we’re back up on the canal heading south. 89 miles behind us so far this year.

Saltersford Lock. The middle cottage is for sale, with a mooring. I’m tempted!

What a Tangled Web We Weave

So much for my intention to update this blog twice week. Twice a month seems to be more like it.

This morning’s towpath view – a factory processing soda ash

At the end of the last post we were effectively stuck at Audlem, on the wrong side of a faulty lock at Hack Green, and facing a long slog home around the Four Counties Ring. I’m typing this on a gloomy Sunday morning in Anderton on the Trent and Mersey Canal, overlooking the River Weaver (or more properly, the Weaver Navigation). In the end, we didn’t have to do make the long trek, including Heartbreak Hill and the Harecastle tunnel. The day after I posted we heard on the towpath telegraph the lock was opened for a short window with CRT assisted passage, so we got through on a miserable wet day and returned to Nantwich. I’m still a bit cheesed off we didn’t get a direct notification, especially as we’d been in contact with the Trust and were signed up for updates. The kindness of a fellow boater saved us.

Jenny waiting for Dutton Lock under a magnificent sycamore

We’ve been travelling with Trev and Jenny as a pair of boats for over a month now, and have enjoyed many, many towpath drinks and competitive games evenings. Martyn taught Jen how to play crib! And we celebrated Martyn’s birthday (12 again) in the Leigh Arms at Acton Bridge. On the Middlewich Branch we met up with fellow Bickerstaffe owners Pat and Eileen from Our Narrowboat Quest for a brief towpath chat. We last saw them at Christmas, so that was really nice. And Dave helped us through Cholmondeston Lock again. I might even have made him late for work …

Just what was I supposed to do with these letters?

I think we were in some ways slightly disappointed to have escaped from the broken lock with no drama. With a complete inability to learn what happens if we complicate things, we hatched up another idea. We were going to spend a week on the River Weaver before leaving for home. As this had never been part of anyone’s plan, Trev had to buy an anchor in Middlewich. It’s inadvisable to boat on a river without an anchor to deploy in an emergency. Rivers are deep and have hazards canals don’t, such as weirs and currents.

Our trip down the Anderton Boat lift on a gloriously sunny Sunday

The River Weaver is 50 feet below the Trent and Mersey Canal, and to get to it by boat you have to use the Anderton Boat Lift. This is a remarkable piece of engineering built-in 1875. It is a steel structure with 2 giant buckets filled with water, or caissons (weighing 252 tonnes each!). The system works on hydraulic rams, and when one caisson goes up, the other goes down. Along with the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, the boat lift is one of the wonders of our canal and river system and not one we expected to experience this year.

Beau Romer exiting the Anderton Boat Lift onto the River Weaver, and looking very tiny

The River Weaver is beautiful, especially this time of the year, and remarkably quiet. We had countryside moorings mostly to ourselves and enjoyed the peace and quiet, the misty mornings and the scenery. The stretch between Saltersford Locks and the services near the M56 motorway at Sutton Swing Bridge is one of the prettiest we’ve cruised so far. And all the locks are operated by lock keepers. Just as well, because they’re enormous.

A quick meet and greet with an old friend at Hunts Lock, hello Lindsay
Feeling very insignificant in Saltersford Lock

We didn’t need the anchors, but Martyn did slip on a wet pontoon, and nearly took an impromptu dip. Thankfully all he got was a boot full of water!

The beautiful River Weaver and traiiiiin!

Now we’re heading back to our marina. A bit sad to be doing so. Autumn boating is lovely.

We found some of the ventilation shafts for Barnton Tunnel