Sunday, 29 June 2014

Anderton to Vale Royal Moorings

On Monday we sorted out our anchor as we were heading down to the River Weaver. First it was a stroll to the boat lift to book a slot, where the helpful receptionist got us booked in for 11:30am.

Anderton Boat Lift from the visitors centre

And down by the river
We went back to LJ and moved onto the holding moorings for the lift, we were booked for the next one. We had our safety briefing and then moved to the aqueduct across to the lift, once the gates to the canal were closed we could get into the lift caisson. Here one of the friendly and helpful operators, Dave, told us all about the history of the lift as we were waiting for a trip boat to get into the caisson at the bottom to come up. It wasn't long before we started our descent, it took around six minutes to get to the bottom passing the trip boat on its way up. It took a while for the gates to be opened allowing water to flood up to our caisson, the final gate was raised and we were released onto the River Weaver. 

In the aqueduct, with the caisson gate still closed

View up the Weaver from the top

Caisson gate lift for us to enter

Aqueduct gate closing behind us

Full dredging barge going to be emptied
On our way down, back up there is the gate to the aqueduct
Half way and passing the trip boat on its way up

All being overlooked by Dave (on the right) and his colleague

That's the other caisson on its way up with the trip boat in it

We're at the bottom and this is the view looking up
Final gate opened and we are released onto the river
We turned left heading for Winsford, passing by the barge being emptied of dredged mud. We were soon approaching Northwich, where we stopped on the visitor moorings with the town being right beside us. 

Lift from the river with a boat waiting to go up

Water levels are a bit down

LJ on the right, the cars are parked behind the high street shops
After a bit of lunch we continued on our way. We were asked to call the lock keepers prior to arrival at the locks so first up was Hunt's Lock where the very helpful lock keeper said he would set the lock and as we entered to grab the rope he lowered and attach our centre line to it and they would hold us to the side. There are two locks here really massive ones, or the one we were in which was still pretty big being much larger than the broad locks on the canals. All we had to do then was wait and we were soon at the top of the lock where the gates were opened for us and we were on our way with the lockie informing their colleagues at Vale Royal Lock we were on our way. Exactly the same process here, with again friendly and helpful lock keepers. We were soon at the Vale Royal moorings, which by the evening were nearly full.

Approaching Hunt's locks

And inside, with our centre line being held for us

We passed this huge boats, making us feel quite small

Lovely view back

Entering Vale Royal Lock

And moored up at Vale Royal Moorings

4.5 miles and 2 locks
Total 260.75 and 160 locks

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