Re-visiting the Anderton Boat Lift – and venturing into new territory

There’s reportedly seven wonders of the Inland Waterways in Britain. To date, we’ve been fortunate enough to experience six of them – and we’re planning on completing the seventh next month.  The Barton Swing Aqueduct we’ve even had the opportunity to visit AND see open twice, in 2009 and 2013.

Last week we returned to the breathtaking engineering of the Anderton Boat Lift. We’d descended the lift in July 2013 with New Zealand friends Kerry and Tony. What an incredible and unique experience it was. Built in 1875 by Edwin Clark, its original purpose was to lift cargo boats the 50 feet from the River Weaver to the Trent and Mersey Canal. Now it gives immense pleasure to boat owners, holiday makers and day trippers.

We didn’t take the boat down this time, as we were on a tight schedule to get to Manchester for my train to Ombersley. But we did enjoy mooring overnight nearby, and taking a stroll around it last Thursday …

Barry spotted another heron opposite our overnight mooring

Barry spotted another heron opposite our overnight mooring – a stunning shot

Very desirable residences nearby

Very desirable gardens backing onto the canal nearby – a picturesque spot to reside

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The monumental structure towers above the narrowboat below

The hotel boat Wandering Duck enters the lift after a trip up the River Weaver

The ‘Hosted Canal Boat Experience boat’ Wandering Duck enters the lift after a trip up the River Weaver – expertly driven by Ruth and navigated by Mark

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An imposing and amazing sight – well worth a visit and a journey on the trip boat

A long weekend in Manchester

We arrived in Manchester last Thursday evening, and tucked ourselves snugly into a mooring we’ve previously used. It’s been the only spot left by the time we arrive (we’ve never joined the ‘leave early to get the best mooring’ group of boaters).

Moored up at Castlefield Basin at the Deansgate end

Moored up at Castlefield Basin at the Deansgate end (Sandra’s photo)

On Friday I returned to stay with mum and dad for a few days, leaving Barry to fend for himself once more.

He was happy to get a brief visit from Fred, his friend from Sheffield, on Sunday lunchtime. He tells me he doesn’t mind so much being a solo boater on the move, but staying in one place alone isn’t something he enjoys too much.

Manchester was a good location for trains, and exiting the city towards our next destination entails a ridiculous quantity of locks to climb! So Barry had little choice than to remain stationary and await my return.

Which I did on Tuesday evening – when we received a welcome text message from Jim, who featured in Tuesday’s blog, saying he was coming to Manchester on Wednesday anyway and did we want a hand with the infamous Rochdale nine? Oh, yes please!

New territory on the Rochdale Canal

So we’ve ventured into new territory. And we intend to relish the experiences of our journey to Hebden Bridge, whilst remaining aware of the many comments and concerns shared, from a number of people, about the challenges of this stretch of the waterways. And the colourful characters we’re likely to encounter.

Meanwhile I’m working on persuading Barry to be forthcoming with his fabulous photographs, so we can post them as we go – rather than weeks later.

We’ll see how successful I am …

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