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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Gosh 2 pumps out of action!

So this is yesterdays post (5th) and will have to be slightly amended.

Anderton is not having a good time of it at present 'cos not only is the pump at the facilities not working (C&RT have no idea when it will be repaired) but Anderton Lift is now also kaput as a pump is needed for both caissons to be operational. Those boaters awaiting passage up yesterday are now stuck on the Weaver for a while. Mind you, with this week of good weather, what a lovely river to be stuck on.

We left Northwich around 9ish knowing the lock keeper at Hunts lock would be on by 9am. Safely on the landing we were met by Bob, one of the lockies, who told us about the lift not working. "You don't want to go back up today do you?" says he. After we told him we were the last boat down on Tuesday he said "Ahhh. It was YOU who broke the lift then"! I'm hoping he was joking!!!

Amendment.  The lift went back in action at 11am so at least this one is now fixed. As for the facilities....no chance at the moment.

Bob coming to meet us
 Not the normal set up going up these river locks. Expecting to rope fore and aft as per normal how surprising that Bob sent down a rope to attach to our centre rope. The one paddle opened on the boat side kept us hard into the side so no need for other ropes.

Old style lock ladders
No buttons to press on these locks. Manual labour was required by the lockies to open paddles and the gates.

Strange to see railway signals on the lock approach. With two locks side by side it was a way to direct the larger ships in days gone by as to which lock they needed to enter. No traffic light system in those days.

Only one more lock to do, Vale Royal. The lock keeper suggested decent moorings at Vale Royal moorings. He advised us not to stay the night in Winsford. Could get very noisy with the clubs nearby and sometimes the revellers can get a bit out of hand.

Left toward the large lock and right for the smaller one

See the yellow bollards. Keep just left of these for the small lock

Then it was the run to Winsford passing the Union salt woks and the mountains of rock salt used on the roads. We came to a swing bridge which wasn't mentioned in the pamphlet and for a moment wandered if we should operate it. Ian judged that FS would fit under so long as the chimney and aerial were removed. River is running at normal levels at the moment but any higher and the bridge would have had to be operated.

Colours of the rock salt.

Winsford Flash and the end of the line for us.

Moorings in Winsford. Looked lovely but a Nightclub is nearby and could get a bit noisy.
 Winding on the Flash we came back to moor at the Red Lion. Here we went for a meal and mentioned about our 43rd Anniversary. Not only was the meal excellent, the staff went out of their way to make us welcome and gave us a FREE bottle of Merlot as an anniversary present. I know of no other place that would have done this and think this place is worth a mention in Trip Adviser.

After the meal and bottle of wine drunk by us both we pulled pins and weaved (literally) our way down the Weaver. That wine went straight to our heads and was quite thankful that within 30 minutes got us to the lovely mooring spot right in the sun.  Hear we settled down with copious amounts of coffee to sober up and enjoyed the tranquillity. Solar panels were deployed and did the biz beautifully. No more engine running needed tonight.

And the wildlife,

Not a happy Swan. No Goose allowed on his patch!

Seen off


First of the Gosling's this year.

Cormorant fishing the river. Doesn't it know it's closed season!!!

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