Avoiding The Storms, So Far. 19th July

Whatcroft Flash to Breach Site, Dutton

No rain came during the night and so far today we’ve not seen one drop, let alone any thunder and lightening. The sky has been grey all day and the air heavy and still full of moisture, really hope it rains soon.

As we rounded the next bend we could see where everyone had moored last night, the next flash north. It looks like work has started on what will be a marina here, a few piles have been driven in along the far bank and a large pile of them sits waiting. In time here will change, a new marina and crossings of HS2. Although I’m sure that once the new rail line is built and the disruption gone, canal users will just take the bridges as just another one, it’s just a shame that it will be another area with frequent trains. But that’s progress for you.

Yesterday Mick had been bitten on his arm and last night it had swollen up. I drew a line round it so we could see if it had gone down any over night, but this morning the line of course had worn off. So we pootled along to Broken Cross where Mick headed down the road on a bike to a chemists. He was told that he was dong the right thing, allergy tablets and cream. He returned stocked up with some more pills and a stronger batch too, just in case. The insect repellent was being used liberally at the stern today.


P1080520smThrough the chemical works which looked moody with grey skies behind them. We passed NB Earnest, a famous boat that has been to places with The Tuesday Night Club that other boats will never go, like going through the lock on the River Dee in Chester and navigating as far as possible on the Witham Drains. Another long line of moored boats brought us to the Lion Salt Works which are well worth a visit if you ever pass.

P1080527smP1080541smNext along the way was the Anderton Boat Lift, working again after a mishap a week or so ago. We ventured down the lift back in 2011 March on NB Winding Down. As we passed today we decided that a return visit was needed to fully explore the Weaver, along with the Llangollen and heading up to Chester and Ellesmere Port, but this will have to wait for another year as we’re booked into Liverpool in ten days time.

P1080545smP1080557smUp ahead we had two tunnels, Barnton and Saltersford. I was posted as look out at the bow, as the approach to Barnton Tunnel has some very tight bends, one under a bridge. One way travel only in these tunnels, so I had to check that the way was clear. There is a wiggle in the middle of the tunnel so looking at the right moment is important, we were clear so could proceed. I decided to stay at the bow which confused Tilly somewhat, she spent our passage through shouting out of the bathroom window at us, which echoed along the tunnel.


Being at the bow I could see that Oleanna was still smiling, such a happy boat.

Saltersford Tunnel has timed passages, heading north you can pass through anytime between on the hour to twenty past the hour. We’d just missed our window, so pulled in for a cuppa and counted down the minutes until we could go through. They still needed reminding that I was there ready to go off exploring, so I returned to the bathroom porthole and made my presence known. They just meowed back at me, how rude!

P1080587smWe hoped that we’d be able to moor at the breach site shortly before Preston Brook and luckily there was space for us. No view, but extra mooring rings have been added into the concrete edge since we were last here. There used to be space for four or five boats, now more like ten. The edge is low enough to be able to paint gunnels at too, but that will have to wait until we pass another time.

DSCF7121sm0 locks, 10.45 miles, 3 packets of pills, 1 arm still in tact, 8 expectant beaks, 0 people at home, 1 Earnest, 2 for the trip boat, 2 tunnels, 2 and 1 mysterons, 40 minute wait, 2 Black Prince boats, 1 mooring without the view, 1 mile to the Bridgewater, 0 rain too play in, 67838956465 rain now I’m inside!