Dutton Breach to Lion Salt Works, Bridge 193
Tilly was allowed another check of the Cheshire countryside before we were to push off this morning. After breakfast I rang the Post Office back in Sale to see if my yarn order had arrived yet. It had apparently been sent by Royal Mail 24 hour, so should have been there for me to collect last Saturday. I’d been told that if it hadn’t arrived today then it would be deemed lost in the post and either they would try again or I could get a refund.
The Post Office claimed they had nothing for me. I asked where it could have gone to and they suggested the local Sorting Office, they gave me the number. On calling there a nice lady checked her system and there were no parcels for me. She then noted the Track and Trace number I’d been given and said she’d call back. Which she did, checked the number again and said there was no record of the number, no tracking history which there should have been, so the only conclusion she could give was it had never been posted! I still need the yarn, so where to try for a delivery the third time? Did we know anyone ahead? This would take some thought.
We pushed off shortly after 11, fleeces needed but no waterproofs, the sun shone. I decided to stay up top for a while before starting work as we would be passing a familiar boat soon. Just after the Black Prince base the bow of a boat rounded a bend, was it them? It certainly was. Chris at the helm and Jennie came dashing out from below to say a very quick ‘Hello!’ We’ve known our bows would cross with NB Tentatrice and today was the day. Hopefully next time we’ll be able to say more than Hello. They are heading to the Lancaster Canal, I’m sure they’ll enjoy it as we did two years ago.
My model making bits and bobs came out, but there wasn’t much time before we were at the two tunnels. Life jackets on, we had five minutes to loiter before we could go through Saltersford Tunnel. This tunnel was one of the reasons why we didn’t come up the west side of the country earlier in the year. It looks like some new sprayed concrete has been added to the interior in parts.
As we entered the tunnel it was starting to rain, rumbles of thunder overhead. We discussed stopping in between the two tunnels for a slightly early lunch, but decided to carry on through if it was clear and hopefully by the time we got through the storm cloud would have passed over us.
Saltersford Tunnel has a double dog leg in it, no chance of seeing through, hence the timed entrance. It was lashing it down as we came out the other side. We carried on. I headed through the boat knowing that to be able to see through Barnton Tunnel, to check it was empty, you need to be on the bow as the cut approaches it at an angle. All was clear we headed into the dry.
Tilly in recent times has become nervous passing through tunnels as the outside disappears. Yesterday she’d not been shouting at the back doors in Preston Brook and today she’d been napping through the first tunnel. Someone had stolen the outside again! She was inside too and couldn’t tell me where it had gone. We both looked out the window. Nope no sign. I wondered if Tom was alright in the outside that wasn’t there. Then she went out into it too! Would I be the only one left?!
As the southern portal came closer I could see that the weather hadn’t dried up any. It had got worse, hail! I stayed up the front under cover as there is a bridge with dodgy sight lines. As I raised a thumbs up to Mick he gave a blast of the horn and started to make his way through, only for me to see a hire boat coming the other way, they quickly engaged reverse avoiding collision. Luckily the first stretch of moorings was free, so we quickly tied up and took cover just as the sun came out again!
After lunch and a dry out we pushed on. The thought of a rubbish bin being so close spurred us on. The Bridgewater Canal is renowned for it’s lack of bins, we’d not disposed of any rubbish since Littleborough on the Rochdale some 12 days ago.
As we approached Anderton Boat Lift there was a boat reversing, what were they doing? We were waved on as a C&RT chap asked them not to moor where they were. This was not their plan, they were reversing as the lady on board had missed a photo opportunity of the lift. We left them to it.
It being Friday afternoon the hire bases were busy sending out this weeks boats. ABC hire boats coming from one marina and Drift Away from the other. We kept clear as they all did their turns out onto the cut, our goal in sight, the bins!
Moored up, tap filling our tank, we rummaged around Oleanna to find all the rubbish. Here there are recycling bins so we could get rid of everything apart from glass. We were at last free, space reclaimed at the front, back and in the galley. Wonderful.
Mick pootled us along trying to find a good spot to moor. We’d hoped for somewhere before the Lion Salt Works, but everywhere was full or half full with git gaps galore. he pulled in to the first available spot. Tilly got free entrance into the museum at the Salt works and had a good look around before returning home for her Ding ding.
A Post Office in Rode Heath is showing potential for my parcel, but with this being the third attempt at getting my yarn I want to talk to someone there to confirm they actually do Post Restante before passing their address on. A shame that nobody was answering the phone. I’ll try again in the morning. Fingers crossed!
0 locks, 6.75 miles, 2 tunnels, 1 thunder storm, 1 hail storm, 2 soggy boaters, 1 blogging boat, 0 parcel, 0 stock elsewhere, 6 trips to the bins, 1 full water tank, 1 shower gel bottle missed, 1 white card model just needing to be put together now.