Growling In The Dark. 5th June

Little Leigh Aqueduct to Croxton Flash

Good carvings

There was a wait to enter Saltersford Tunnel, entry between 30 and 50 minutes past the hour if heading south easterly. We tucked in behind another boat admired the tree carving by the mooring and had quite a chat until Tilly was spotted in a window by their greyhound! What a noise!! Their poor dog had to be put inside where Tilly was out of sight and out of mind.

Two behind

A third boat joined the queue and at bang on 11:30 we all set off, as we’d be heading further we were waved ahead to lead position. Tunnel mode engaged we wound our way through the tunnel where no light can be seen at the far end for quite a while, an S bend brings it into view and then out again. Behind us the thump thump of the following boats started to echo along the arched roof.

Nobody was waiting at the other end and we sailed across the open section to reach Barnton Tunnel. This tunnel doesn’t have a timed entry as you can see through it, however to be able to see through it you have to have your bow almost in the portal with someone stood on the bow. I made my way through Oleanna to do just that, Tilly excitedly following me as it might just be shore leave time!

A ray of light caught a cowparsley head just by the portal mimicking a tunnel light of an oncoming boat. Then I got a glimmer of light from the far end of the tunnel, it was clear. Thumbs up to Mick at the stern, I retreated back into the bedroom. The sound of Tilly’s bell could be heard at close quarters, the last thing I wanted to happen was for her to jump ship. We find growling at her a good deterrent and tends to stop her in her tracks, maybe we are the bigger cat in such situations. No! You just sound so stupid!

Coming through!

As we were approaching the far end a bow came into view, a day boat with plenty on board and their tunnel light shining in front of them. A beep on the horn saw them engage reverse gear pulling back from the entrance. ‘There’s at least another two boats coming through behind us’.

The canal now does a 90 degree turn under a road bridge, a boat came towards us. I popped to the bow to check for anyone else, the way ahead was clear. Buoys still mark the landslip at Soot Hill that occurred in December 2021, single file boats only.

Landslip to the left

The occasional glimpse across the Weaver Valley to new housing, then the more familiar factories. We remembered our first time here on a hire boat, Bergen Fjord, was that for Mick’s 50th birthday? There were so many boats moored that it felt like we had to walk for miles to get to see the Anderton Boat Lift. Our original plan for this year would have had Oleanna descend the lift and cruise the River Weaver, a stretch of water she’s not been on before (we’ve only done a small section on our shareboat) and ticking off the last Wonder of the Waterways.

An earlier than thought rendez vous was made just by the lift waiting moorings. NB Halsall was there waiting her turn for the lift, ahead of schedule she’d be heading down onto the Weaver a day early. We pulled alongside and got to meet Rachel, it’s been three years since we had a diesel fill from Halsall. 68 litres at £1.09 today. We know we’d be able to fill up cheaper somewhere else but it’s good to support the coal boats all year round as they are a god send in the winter months.


Next stop, the services block. Two boats were already pulled in. One turned out to be a hire boat the holiday makers just emptying themselves back into their camper van! What a good use of a water point in a busy place. We tucked in behind them, just clear of the entrance into the marinas. Soon there were four boats and more passing by. Eventually the hire boat was moved away.

Maybe the rust now holds this together

Lunch was enjoyed on the move as we passed Lions Salt Works, well worth a visit. Then it was time for me to go to work. The Town Square scene flats were cut out with basic details. What looks like it may work on paper doesn’t always work in 3D, especially when using false perspective. New lines were drawn, bits cut off, flats changed sides, more new lines drawn. When I was just about happy with shapes and sizes I found enough card to remake the flats, drawing full designs on them. Just the town clock to adjust now.

Meanwhile up on deck Mick brought Oleanna through the boat yard before the chemical works, three abreast chocka with boats. Then under the bridges carrying chemicals above boaters heads.

The quantity of traffic and moored boats suggested we’d be extreamly lucky to find a mooring for us at Bramble Cuttings. Three boats already sat there enjoying the picnic tables, Tilly would have to wait a while longer.

Not enough room for us at Bramble Cuttings

When were we last here? 2020, we must have wanted to go to Middlewich tip and then carried on finding space here, Mick got drenched. A day later we winded and headed back through Middlewich and up the Cheshire Locks to the Macclesfield Canal. It takes us a while now to remember such things.

Maybe by Croxton Flash we’d get a space? A boat was occupying the mooring we’d thought of. The chap on NB Stahl called out having been a reader of the blog, glad you found it useful.

Just round the bend was a space and someone had flattened the long grass beside the towpath, there’d be enough room for a barbecue. Tilly enjoyed herself, returning to use the onboard facilities and for her evening dingding, which did mean she was inside when we were outside.

Tonight’s kitchen

Salmon with ginger, lemon and soy sauce was accompanied by veg kebabs and some Jersey Royals.

0 locks, 11.2 miles, 2 tunnels, 2 mysterons, 1 full tank of diesel, 1 full tank of water, 1 annoying pick up and drop off hire boat, 3 flats re-re-done, 1 barbecue that may need retiring at the end of this summer, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.

3 thoughts on “Growling In The Dark. 5th June

  1. Adam

    My walk from Waterloo to work takes me past the Gielgud Theatre, where The Crucible is on at the moment. And each time I go past you pop into my mid, as all the hoardings have no mention of any actors’ names — just the director and the set designer! I’ll send you a photo next week if I remember.

    1. Pip Post author

      No costume or lighting designer either! Everyone should get a credit as they all play a part in the production. But it’s an old habit that continues. Sorry I keep popping into your mind, I’ll try to stop it😉

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