Saturday, 31 August 2013

Little Bollington.

     IMG_4124 Little Bollington                 IMG_4126

Another of our circular walks took us down the lane past Bollington Mill which has been turned into residential accommodation. Over the bridge next to the mill weir we past Bollington Hall Farm and The Swan with Two Nicks which had yet to open.

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On the corner stood a picturesque black and white timber framed thatched cottage with a cobbled pathway, advertising a tea-room. We turned right, through Bollin Underbridge, up the worn sandstone steps to return along the canal towpath. We were ready for our coffee break when we got back.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Dunham Massey 2.

IMG_4086 millstone dated 1660 IMG_4079 IMG_4105 mill

The date on the grind stone is 1666 when it was a corn mill. In he 16 th century it was unable to cope with milling all the estates corn and was made into a sawmill. The narrow archway below is where the water wheel pit is. Unfortunately they don’t state what diameter of the wheel is, but it looks about 12 feet and is overshot. The wheel was turning and working a vertical and circular saw on two separate benches. It’s one of the most delightful old mills that we have seen, so far.This ancient Oak Tree was dead, except for one branch in full leaf!

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This little ‘ Hansel and Gretel’ type cottage was in fact called the Slaughterhouse, but was only used for butchering the deer carcasses, then drying and storing some of the meat upstairs. What appeared to be two cottages with beautiful arched doorways were the old kennels where the hunting hounds were kept. We thought that these old rustic buildings were more interesting just because they were not grand and symmetrical. On peering through the window I could see it was used for storing things.There were five mangles with wooden rollers, just like one that my Granny had. She allowed me to turn the handle and the cogs clanked together, making a sound just like winding up the lock paddles today.The fallow deer wander everywhere and were quite used to mixing with the human gongoozlers, even in the ice-cream queue.

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There were plenty of benches for picnics, and tree trunks left especially for children to climb and play on. They could also build dens with the smaller branches that were lying around. We enjoyed our visit so much we went back several times, the ice-cream was good too.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Dunham Massey.

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Our next mooring was near Dunham Massey Hall and Deer Park, a fabulous place to spend the day womming about. The main buildings have a moat/pond on two sides, the water from which also supplies the mill. Before the large arched entrance is reached there was a small square walled secret garden with a wood sculpture as a central feature. We later learnt that this was where any the aggressive stallions had been kept, away from the other horses. There is a charge for the car park, house and enclosed gardens, but the Deer Park is free for everyone to roam at will, which is what we did.

IMG_4121 Moor Sundial   IMG_4122 Dunham Massey Hall   IMG_4098

The Moor Sundial stands on a grassy circle in front of the main entrance to the house. The dark coloured Roe deer was resting on the right of the steps. Away from the house, below the lake we spotted a lovely gravity fed fountain which fell on mossy covered rocks. A grand new visitor centre was in the process of being built near it.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013


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Twas a beautiful sunny morning when we left our quiet overnight mooring to cruise along to Lymm. Arriving early most of the moorings were still occupied, but we squeezed into the last one on the far end. The pins could only be persuaded to sink in about seven inches so we secured the boat with four. A quick trip into the Sainsbury’s local and I was on my way back when our friends Graham and Betty arrived. They had lots of news all about their imminent move into their new bungalow, so  we settled down to chat over coffee and cookies. They stayed for lunch and we gossiped on until late afternoon. It was lovely to see them and they will be kept busy for quite a while decorating and gardening after they have moved in. Of course living on a boat we have no decorating or gardening to contend with!

Monday, 26 August 2013


IMG_4057 Parr Arms IMG_4059 Rams Head Inn IMG_4058 Grappenhall

Leaving Moore behind we pootled further along the 25 mile pound (level water where there are no locks to operate) Later the sun appeared to warm us up as we cruised on to moor before Bridge 17. There were many boats moored up and many more on the move, some of which we met in the bridge holes, of course. After a drink + snack aboard we set off going clockwise on a circular womble around the old part of the village. The road surface is mainly cobbled giving it a quaint oldie worldy feeling. Saint Wilfred’s Church gazes down the lane over the two busy pubs, the Parr Arms and the Rams Head. The latter had a sun dial set into the gable end with the inscription ‘’, whatever that means. Nicholson’s Guide says it’s a conservation village and Sherlock Holmes was filmed here. We completed our short amble by returning across Bridge 16 back along the towpath.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Bridgewater Canal.

      IMG_4054 Dutton stoplock                IMG_4055 Preston Brook Tunnel

After saying our farewells, we set off on a rather cool dull morning, with very few boats on the move. There was yet another sunken plastic boat just before Dutton Stop-Lock. We waited second in the queue to enter Preston Brook Tunnel. Boats set off on the hour this end of the tunnel as there is a one way system in operation. We carried on to moor at Moore, where there is a handy little shop right next to the canal.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Dutton Breach.

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Luckily there was a space for us to moor near the top of the lift, so we stayed overnight. We stopped en-route At Black Prince boatyard, Bartington Wharf to top up our diesel tank for 88p/£1.37p, 60/40 split.  We could hear the little blacksmiths forge hard at work opposite.Then we cruised on along Trent and Mersey Canal past Bridge 11 where these two old numberless licence-less boats reside. We moored up in sight of B12 where the Dutton Breach had occurred. There were wonderful views right across the valley from here as all the large trees had been washed away. We sat out in the sunshine and spent a pleasant afternoon chatting to the other boaters. In the evening we had heavy rain after which the sky cleared to reveal the moon. Early next morning the Heron was stalking along the bank opposite seeking out small fish for breakfast.

Train in the mist

The Railway Viaduct over the River Weaver was just visible through the mist down in the valley. This scene gave off an eerie feeling, reminiscent of Lord of the Rings film, we thought!

Friday, 23 August 2013

Ascending 50 feet!

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After spending the night in Northwich we cruised along to moor near the Anderton Lift. Sir went up to book us in, the earliest time was 12.10pm. as they were pretty well booked up all day. So after having coffee and a sandwich we moved up to moor on the checking in area. Your boat has to have a valid Canal and River Licence to use the lift for free. Boaters with only a Bridgewater canal licence have to pat £30. Also if you book in advance you have to pay £5. We breasted up with nb Artu who were to be ascending with us, as the caissons are wide beam size. We had a jolly good chat with them as they are selling their narrow boat and getting a wide beam one to live on. Looking down from the top of the lift we could see the two boats that had gone down, heading off upstream. The trip boat was busy loading up with passengers. The sun had brought the gongoozlers out and they were quenching their thirst in the cafe/museum. Children were practicing their circus/ juggling skills on the grass. There is also a children’s playground and a maze cleverly constructed with all the old redundant lift weights too.

It seems a shame that some boaters go down in the lift and then come back up the same day!. Almost like, been there, done that, and got the tee-shirt sort of attitude. They don’t know what quiet delights and open country views they are missing. So, what did we think of the River Weaver, we enjoyed it so much we spent two weeks cruising up and down it’s whole  20 mile navigable length.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Northwich again.

IMG_4026 Dutton IMG_4028 Wspns Penny Black IMG_3886 Ws Penny Black

The tap was on our visitor mooring, so after filling our water tank we went up Dutton Locks after four boats had been disgorged from it. From the footbridge below Saltersford Locks we could see the cottages on the hillside above on the Trent and Mersey Canal. Arriving at Northwich a boat was just vacating a space for us to manoeuvre into, perfick we thought! We went into town taking our trolleys in order to stock up with food. This would be the last chance to do a ‘big shop’ for quite some time. I was treated to lunch in The Penny Black and chose their excellent juicy Cod and Chips. Their blue plaque outside says it was a purpose built Post Office in 1914 and is one of the largest lift-able buildings. This means that it could be jacked up in case of subsidence due to the extensive salt mining locally.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Up to Dutton Locks.

IMG_4006 nr Runcorn Rowing Club IMG_4009 Pickerings Wharf IMG_4012

En-route we passed Runcorn Rowing Club with this dear little derelict cottage standing all forlorn. Next came Pickering’s Wharf, it’s two cottages had windows with tiny little diamond shaped panes of glass. The railway viaduct constructed of huge shaped sandstone blocks stands as a great tribute to the stonemasons and men who built it.

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We moored below the locks and went exploring the area round about. The lock-keepers have a cosy little place dated 1874 as the cast iron foundry covers also state. There is a sweet little orchard/picnic area for walkers to enjoy too. Almost half a million gallons of water are used in each lock operation the sign says.

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Here’s looking back down towards the railway bridge from where we are moored. The wooden Horse Bridge on the right crosses the water coming round  from the weir. There are several lovely country walks all around this well kept area.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Weston Marsh Lock.

IMG_3991          IMG_3993 Tanker YM URANUS

We settled down for the evening with a beautiful sunset illuminating the Chemical Works. Surprisingly we got a good nights sleep despite the buzz and floodlights from the factory all night. On our stroll along the edge of the lock the next morning we caught the tanker YM Uranus being guided up the Manchester Ship Canal by Tugboats Victory and Viceroy.

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A short while later the two tugboats came back down a bit faster than they went up! We were then joined by nb Alexander who breasted up alongside us for a break, much chatting, and a walkabout.

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There were some good Blackberries to be had around the lock, which had been well fertilised with all the Rabbit droppings. Due to the damp warm weather toadstools seemed to be popping up everywhere. On one of the large sandstone slabs around the lock edge I saw some fine fish fossils. If you double click on the image you can see for yourself!