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After thirty years of hiring, I finally bought my own 50ft boat in 2005, which was built in 2001 by Andicraft at Debdale Wharf. I mostly cruise single handed and have no problem with that, although it does take a little longer than with a crew. My mooring is on the Wey Navigation, so I have a choice of routes on the Wey or the Thames.

Friday, 1 August 2014

The Grand Canal Tour 2014. River Weaver Part 2.

We had moored in a quiet place and sat out on the bank until it turned cold in the wind. Setting off the following day for Winsford at the navigable top end of the river, we passed through Northwich and Hunt’s Lock No.2 (there was no lock no.1) and Vale Royal Locks. Reaching the end of the navigation  and winding in Winsford Bottom Flash, which we had been warned about the lack of depth, which was not a problem if you didn’t go too far into the flash.

I stopped off for a pint at The Red Lion, having breasted up for a while alongside another boat. Not really a noteworthy pub, but the beer was fine. Having rehydrated, I joined the others on another quiet mooring in Vale Royal Cut.

The BBC crew were leaving the Weaver later today, but I decided to stay a little longer in Northwich to have a look around the town museum, which they recommended. Good and plentiful moorings here, close to Waitrose and shops in the town. Baleytwist  and Cranley both needed pump outs and water, but a another boat was moored partly on the water point, which made life somewhat difficult. To add to that, Terry’s expensive (£16.35!) CRT pump out card refused to work, so they both had to operate on Mick’s card. The pump out hose was too short, so boats had to both very quickly exchange places to gain access. Most unsatisfactory.

Good moorings at the confluence of the Weaver and Dane rivers.

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed the Weaver’sHall Museum and spent one and a half hours there, with a free cup of coffee thrown in. I was surprised to find that a lot of Northwich is built on old salt mines, which caused considerable subsidence to buildings in the town and was solved by drilling bore holes into the mines and pumping in a mixture of cement, ash, salt and brine, which filled the holes with a porous solidified mixture. Several brick houses had to be demolished, but the wooden framed buildings, built by the Victorians, could be jacked up to a new level.
Victorian timber framed building.
The third Co-Op in the country!

8 acres of Yarwoods boat yard C 1960.
Not a lot left of it today.
I was also surprised to learn more about W J Yarwoods boat building in the town. They were known as principle wood and steel narrow boat builders by most of the narrow boaters today, but they also built sea going vessels and boats for the Admiralty during the 2nd World War. They had a foundry and machine shop and could produce 95% of their boats on site, which extended to 8 acres in size. The works closed in 1965.

I moved on the next day to Anderton, not expecting to go back up that late in the afternoon, but surpisingly, there was a vacancy straight away and so I went up with another boat in the caisson and moored close to the top, where there were plenty of free spaces.
Back into the lift............
..........alongside another boat.

I had time now to have a good look at the museum in the Anderton Visitors Centre, where there were very good descriptive displays of how the lift worked and more about the salt mines and works in the area. There were a few items of painted ware on show by Reg Barnett, Bill Hodgson and Harold Hood, all of the Anderton Company, so all knobstick roses as expected. This style of painting was peculiar to the north east at the time.
Water can painted in 'knobstick style.'

Rain was forecast for Friday and Saturday, but I was only on a 24hr mooring, so had to move off next day and was undecided where to go, but opted to head for The Salt Barge, about two miles further south, as I had plenty of time to spare, not being due into the Bridgewater Boat Club until Sunday. I also wanted a more wide open space to test my suspect TV aerial, because the TV had not picked up a signal for some weeks. Although I set off in rain break, the heavens opened during the trip. My Houdini hatch now had an intense test and Captain Tolley’s  Creeping Crack Cure stood up to the downpour – success at last! The TV worked as well, so delight all round.

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