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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.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Is that a Gruffalo in the woods! And thars pirates as well.

Strange being back on a narrow waterway after the wide river, and as soon as we could we found a mooring opposite the Stanley Arms not far from the Anderton boat lift. Had some bunnies to keep us amused and was most surprised when joggers ran straight past and not even a twitch of their ears.





After a quick return to the shop at Anderton to purchase two plaques (Anderton Lift and River Weaver) we set off for the Runcorn Branch on the Bridgewater Canal. Then.... something watching us from the woods, Is that really a Gruffalo? Our Grandchildren would have loved to see that. And if that wasn't all, looking toward the towpath a Pirate also making sure we didn't get up to no good..




3 tunnels, Barnton, Saltersford and Preston Brook and the only lock, Dutton stop lock (drop of 4") was all we had to do today. Two of the three tunnels were timed but all were one way traffic only.


We made Saltersford tunnel by the skin of our teeth. Timings heading West were entry on the hour until 20 minutes past and we entered at exactly 10.19 and 18 seconds!



Between Saltersford and Preston brook tunnel we came upon a boat we know well.  Keith and Jo on Hadar. A hail from us brought them both out and it's a good job no other boat traffic appeared because we must have been hovering next to them for over 30 minutes. Had some very good advice  about what to do and see in Liverpool (we are heading that way) and a good old catch up as one does when meeting good friends after a month or two. No idea when we will meet again but that's what happens with this boating lark.  It was great to see them and looking so well too.


Then it was through Preston Brook tunnel (had a 10 minute wait here as timings going north were on the hour for 10 minutes only)

Preston Brook tunnel

A hire boat emerges.
 Took us 12 minutes to get through, quite bendy as well and it was on our exit that the canal became the Bridgewater. We had to stop at Midland Chandlers to replenish our oil reserves, but once that was completed we did the left turn into the Runcorn branch.

Runcorn Branch (L)


And another first for us. Bad reports about this canal in the past has always stopped us from attempting it. But what a lovely canal!! Chap in the Chandlers told us not to stop on the first part of the journey but moorings in Runcorn are completely safe. Wow I am now a big fan of this canal. So very rural, minimal rubbish, even coming into Runcorn and only a bit of graffiti on the bridges. It's wide and deep so doing 3.5 mph was no problem at all and in places the water clear enough to see shoals of Bream. Winding when we got to the end we moored by Brindley visitor moorings on rings. Only downside....the planes flight path for landing in Liverpool was right over our heads.



End of the line.

Brindley moorings next to the theatre.

And on route,


Saltersford Tunnel

Preston Brook tunnel

And wildlife,


White throat





Grey Wagtail









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