Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Little Leigh to Runcorn

From our mooring on the Trent and Mersey canal we had a wander down to the River Weaver and Dutton Locks, here the larger of the locks was in use with the smaller one being all chained up. We did a bit of gongoozaling and watched a lone narrowboat go up through the lock.

Huge river lock

We had a couple of lovely warm days here and even the parasol came out at one point so James was in the shade as he worked.

Continuing our journey we came to Dutton Stop Lock, our first lock for a while, with a drop of about four inches, it's a strange lock as it has narrow gates but the lock itself is a couple of feet wider. Then it was straight into Preston Brook Tunnel, turning up just in time for the 10 minute window to enter the tunnel. The Trent and Mersey originally joined the Bridgewater Canal at the northern end of the tunnel, but it was extended giving the unique situation of canals joining inside a tunnel. This was the first major tunnel to be built and is the ninth longest canal tunnel still in use. Preston Brook, Satersford and Barnton were the first three British canal tunnels to be built (except mine tunnels). The centre section of Preston Brook Tunnel had to be rebuilt in 1982 after a Post Office collapsed into it.

Preston Brook stop lock

Southern entrance of Preston Brook tunnel

Shortly after we turned left down the Runcorn Arm mooring for the night near Norton Priory before continuing onto Runcorn itself.

The car is only a year or so old

We had a walk down to Wigg Island which is between the River Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal. A lot of the island is closed at the moment as a new bridge across the Mersey is being constructed. It is hoped that once the new bridge is in place restoration work can begin on the lock flight reconnecting the Runcorn Arm to the Ship Canal or River Weaver.

At the end of the Runcorn Arm

Manchester Ship Canal

Ship Canal on left, River Mersey on Right

9.25 miles and 1 lock
Total 278 miles and 163 locks

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