Lion Salt Works to Whatcroft Flash
Boats were moving early, by the time we’d got going quite a few spaces were available. Several of them familiar, local boats we’ve seen in this area, they headed down the way winded and came back, possibly heading for the services at Anderton.
We pushed off, the sun out and made our way just a mile, pulling in at the 48hr visitor moorings opposite Narrowboats Ltd just off Manchester Road. Mick headed to get our Saturday newspaper whilst I successfully rang Rode Heath Post Office. The chap on the other end of the phone when asked if they did Post Restante answered ‘Yes’. I had to double check explaining what Post Restante was and he just replied ‘Yes’. At last someone who knew what I was talking about! My yarn can now be sent and should (famous last words) be waiting for us when we get there in a few days time.
Narrowboats Ltd seem to have a lot of widebeam boats for sale. Several on the water and plenty more high up on the bank above the small basin. The beam on some of them may just fit through the tunnels we came through yesterday, but if not then they only have around ten miles that they could cruise as the Trent and Mersey is a narrow canal.
Our friends Nichola and Andy weren’t at home as we passed their boat, we waved anyway.
Next all the pipes and steam from the chemical works. We used to feel like holding our breath coming under all the pipes, but there seems to be less each time we pass.
Up ahead we could see a widebeam coming through a bridge, some moored boats in between us. Mick slowed us down to a halt and we waited for them to come past. He beeped his horn twice, was this to make us aware that he was coming through? We had seen him. Or was he wanting to pass us on the wrong side, altering his course to Port? Mick should have altered our course, but we knew he wasn’t aware of what he’d just communicated, so just stayed put.
A short distance on another widebeam. We wonder what happens when two widebeams meet each other on narrow canals? On wide canals all well and good, they were designed for bigger boats, but on canals like the Oxford?
Three marinas follow, the last Oakwood Marina was still being built two years ago and opened last summer. It has taken over one of the flashes which were created when the land subsided due to salt extraction in the area. A lovely spot to have a mooring. Currently it is serviced by Coal Boat Halsall, but in time they will have their own diesel pump. Their visitor moorings easy to just pull alongside so that you can visit the cafe.
Our aim for the day was the next flash, Whatcroft Flash. This I believe is also owned by the marina, but so far has not been developed. The current plan is for HS2 to carve it’s way across here. But today for now, there were no other boats moored. A newish length of armco caught our eye, we winded and pulled in.
After checking on freight trains on the nearby line, two both cancelled today, next train Monday morning, the doors were opened for Tilly. If ever there was a Mrs Tilly stamp of approval mooring.
I’d considered working on the gunnels here, the towpath almost low enough and no fairies floating by from the trees. But then the heavens opened, I was due a day off anyway.
The sun came back out, two grebe swam and fished. With the exception of the gate house and numerous boats moored we could have been at Tixall Wide. We decided that as we were on our own, here was actually better than Tixall Wide. Wonder what it’ll be like next time we pass?
0 locks, 3,66 miles, 1 wind, 1 newspaper, 2 fat boats, 1 man in the know, 0 at home, 0 boats joining us, 1 mooring all to ourselves, 0 trains, 2 grebes, 1 swan, 2 geese, 1 wonderful peaceful day off, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.