Tuesday, 17 April 2012

13th April

Graham went down to Kings Lock to have his heater serviced at 9.00 and we waited until the Andersen and Middlewich hire boats had cleared the lock on their way back to base and then went down and breasted up with Autumn Years so that we could buy a new Calor Gas Cylinder and fill with water. The junction soon became busy with boats travelling in all directions so we left Autumn Years and bimbled on down the next 4 locks and found a nice mooring just outside Middlewich.
 At the top of the first lock we spotted this clutch of mallard chicks on their first outing on the water.
 AY joined us a short while later when the service had been completed. It was so warm that we sat out on the bank drinking tea and reading our books.

14th April
Early start as we needed a pump out (not a nice subject but very important to boaters).
After finding several out of order we eventually obtained one at Anderton Marina who used an excellent new machine.
On the way we passed the first of the Flashes, just like the Norfolk Broads, even had boats hidden in the reeds.
* Are we in Norfolk

Hiding in the Reeds

We passed by the Anderton Lift with nobody using it
* Anderton Boat Lift

 and then through the Barton and Saltersford Tunnels (must remember to take off my photochromatic glasses before entering). The Tunnels are all one way and entry is timed in each direction to ensure that you don’t meet anyone coming the other way.
Moored up just short of the next tunnel.

15th April
Woke up to a frosty morning and whilst having breakfast we had a flurry of snow, can you believe it, 25 degrees when we left Brinklow and now Snow!
Set off through the stop lock to reach the Prestonbrook Tunnel for 9.00am as boats going north can only go through on the hour.
*Preston Brook Tunnel

The tunnel is 1229 yds long but you can just see the other end an amazing feat of our ancestors.
*You can see the end

Motored on along the Bridgewater Canal, I had forgotten how lovely it is.
* Picturesque Bridgewater Canal

Spotted Miss B Havin, a Sandhills boat and left a message about the owners group.
* Fellow Sandhills Boat

Passing through Lymm as it was busy with weekenders we moored up on the Little Bollington Aquaduct over looking Dunham Massey House (NT) on one side and the Pennines on the other.
* Our view of Dunham Massey

In the afternoon we walked through the aptly named under bridge passed the Tea shop, the Swan with 2 Nicks pub and the Bollington Mill into the Massey estate grounds.
* Tea Shop Little Bollington

We went into the Water powered Saw Mill which was working and had a demonstration of how it was done 400 years ago.

* Inside

We explored the estate grounds and amongst the herds of deer spotted this white one.
* White Deer

Continuing our circular walk we entered Dunham Town with its Brewery and down passed the Axe and Cleaver Pub where the Hells Angels were having a BBQ and Bash after having their bikes blessed. There some great bikes and the band were excellent, you could hear them 2 miles away.
* Hells Angle Bash

Found a real farm shop and bought some excellent Rump Steak for dinner. They rear their own beef pigs etc and obtain the fruit and veg from local farms.
* Little Heath Farm Shop

16th April
We were going to stay another day at Little Bollington but the weather forecast for Tuesday did not sound too good so we decided to move on. Whilst we were having breakfast we spotted in the field below us Buzzards, Foxes, Pheasants and a multitude of birds, June was in her element.
* Buzzard

As we sailed through Sale we spotted a very unusual sight on the canal, a coxed 8. Further down the straight we found Trafford rowing Club and several other sculls out on the water. They must use the 2 mile long straight as there race track.
* Coxed 8

A short while later we crossed the River Mersey at Barfoot Aquaduct, almost a stream at this point.
Turning left at Waters meeting we passed Kellogs factory with the smell of cornflakes and eventually reached another unusual sight, the Barton Swing Aquaduct which took us over the Manchester Ship Canal, another fantastic feat of Engineering.
* Baton Swing Aquaduct

At the very pretty village of Worsley we stopped for water just short of the arm which went off to the right and would have taken you directly into the Mines of the Duke of Bridgewater, the reason the canal was built.
* Worsley

Just passed Astley we moored up and sat in our chairs on the bank enjoying the afternoon sun and Carolann’s Tea and delicious Fruit Cake with lovely views across to the Pennines and the first Swallows skimming the water for insects.

17th April

Overnight the wind and the rain swept over the boat, I had to get out of bed and tie down the boat poles as they were making so much noise we could not get to sleep.
At about 8.30am the rain stopped and the sun came out so we decided to move on a short way to Pennington Flash Nature Park stopping at Tesco in Leigh to obtain some more provisions. Great mooring spot overlooking the lovely lake with all it’s wild life and sailing club.
At lunch time we had a down pour with hale and strong winds but this soon disappeared and we able to go a 2 hour walk around the lake in sunshine which continued into the evening.
* Pennington Flash Park

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