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19th July 2011 - 5th August 2011

214 Miles 63 Locks 86.25 Running Hours

Market Drayton Hawksmoor Bridge #72, Adderley
Hawksmoor Bridge #72, Adderley Marsh Lane Bridge #92 Nantwich
Marsh Lane Bridge #92 Nantwich Hell's Kitchen Bridge No 176 Trent & Mersey Canal
Hell's Kitchen Bridge No 176 Trent & Mersey Canal Moore Bridge No 7, Bridgewater Canal (Hobb Lane, Moore)
Moore Bridge No 7, Bridgewater Canal (Hobb Lane, Moore) Bollington Underbridge
Bollington Underbridge Dover Bridge No 4
Dover Bridge No 4 Ring-o-Bells (Bridge 34)
Ring-o-Bells (Bridge 34) #9 Hancock's Swing Bridge
#9 Hancock's Swing Bridge Salthouse Dock, Liverpool
Salthouse Dock, Liverpool
Salthouse Dock, Liverpool
Salthouse Dock, Liverpool Downholland Hall Swing Bridge #21
Downholland Hall Swing Bridge #21 Wigan Visitor Moorings
Wigan Visitor Moorings Bollington Underpass
Bollington Underpass Anderton Lift
Anderton Lift Rookery Railway Bridge # 152 near Wheelock
Rookery Railway Bridge # 152 near Wheelock Wheelock
      Wheelock Changeover
Total Miles
Total Locks
Engine Hours

Day 1 - Tuesday 19th July 2011

An early morning start from Chelmsford saw us in Market Drayton by 11 a.m. ready for the changeover with John and Anne.

Moored at Market Drayton

There is no convenient winding hole if you are facing south in Market Drayton, and you are faced with going through 5 locks, winding, and then coming back through the very same locks! Rather than do this we put the boat in reverse and backed under Betton Bridge, Bridge No 63, to the water point and to Talbot Wharf boat yard for diesel.

We were soon facing north and did the 5 Adderley locks in the afternoon, mooring near Hawksmoor Bridge for the night.

Adderley No 1. Lock

Day 2 - Wednesday 20th July 2011

Not wishing to get in a tail back at the bottom of the 15 Audlem Lock flight we set off at 8-45 a.m. We were soon in a rhythm with the locks, which are all close together, and were helped by the occasional boat coming up the flight. It was not that busy considering it was approaching peak season. Lock 13 is the highlight of the flight, with the Shroppie Fly pub canal side. No time to visit there this time as we had to press on!

The Shroppie Fly, Audlem


We soon finished the remaining 2 locks and did a bit of lockside shopping at George's Pork & Poultry. This just left the two Hack Green locks and we were at Nantwich by 2 p.m. Having promised Sue we would take things easy we decided to moor up for the day and chill out!


Day 3 - Thursday 21st July 2011

We departed Marsh Lane Bridge at 9 a.m. and we soon past Nantwich Basin heading for Barbridge. We could see the Hurleston Reservoir before we passed under the bridge by the entrance to Hurleston Locks, but we did not expect to find a small boat leaving the Llangollen at full speed ahead. We were on the main line so he had to heave to, but he did seem a bit surprised. We weaved our way through the boats towards Barbridge Junction, and it seemed to be getting quite busy. The owners of three boats were waiting on the tow path holding the centre rope to start off for the day, but they could not break into the stream of boats heading for Barbridge!

Near Barbridge on the Shroppie.

We made the turn into the Middlewich Branch and headed for Cholmondeston Lock, but there was quite a few boats ahead of us waiting to go through. I headed off to the chandlery at Venetian Marina, next to the lock, but the chandlery had gone and it was now an antique shop. There were queues at the next two locks, and an even bigger queue at Wardle Lock with the junction with the Trent & Mersey. We were going to moor up, but decided that it was worth doing the 4 locks on the Trent & Mersey heading north, ending in "The Big Lock", as it was nearing weekend and we feared long queues again. It seemed to take a long time to do these locks, and only one paddle was working at "The Big Lock" which made it slower. We eventually got through and moored past Croxton Flash. It was a long day but we had put the busy locks behind us and could look forward to miles of cruising without locks.

Billinge Green Flash

Day 4 - Friday 22nd July 2011

Heading north on the Trent & Mersey we stopped off at Rudheath to do some shopping at the local Spa, and then headed through the industrial areas of Northwich with their salt plants either side of the canal.

Brunner Mond Salt Works, Northwich

We had expected to see the "Lion Salt Works" at Marston under restoration, but it looked more run down than last time we saw it.

Lion Salt Works

The canal gets much nicer after Marston, and we were soon cruising into Anderton. We did think about mooring here for the night, but the day was young and we decided to press on through the Barnton Tunnel and the Saltersford Tunnel. We moored near Bridge 209 for lunch, and as the sky was black overhead we stayed for a couple of hours as it started to rain heavily. The sun came out again late afternoon, so we decided to press on through the Preston Brook tunnel. They have a new system now; boats heading north can only enter the tunnel between the hour and 10 past; boats heading south can only enter the tunnel between half-past-the-hour and twenty to.

Entrance to Preston Brook Tunnel

We stopped off at Midland Chandlery at Preston Brook to buy a spare fan belt, and I was amazed that they do not sell fan belts at all! The canal after Preston Brook is really quite nice, rural, and quite wide in places. But there are no mooring rings or rails anywhere, and we did not want to spend the night on mooring pins. Hence we carried on to the village of Moore, where we could moor. We moored right next to the village shop, which was handy for the paper!

The shop at Moore next to the canal

It was a pleasant summer's evening, and the added advantage was the I was able to tune in ITV4 and watch the Tour de France at Alp Dholes.

Day 5 - Saturday 23nd July 2011

Being ahead of schedule, we felt we could have an easy day today. It was nearly 10 a.m. when we left Moore, and within a couple of hours we were passing through Lynn. We stopped shortly after for lunch, then went on to Boiling Under bridge where we moored for the day. We had a choice of mooring here, or going on through Sale and Stratford which would have made it a long day. We had an excellent dinner at the nearby "Swan with Two Nicks" pub.

Shaded canal just before Lynn

Quite busy in the Centrex of Lynn

Moorings next to Boiling Under bridge

Day 6 - Sunday 24th July 2011

We set off at 8 a.m. for the long haul towards Wig an. The canal is quite wide in many places and there are mile-long dead straight stretches. We had to dodge rowing skiffs on the long stretch in Sale where the Stratford rowing club were out for their Sunday morning exercise.

The Victorian Linotype Factory, just after Seaman's Moss Bridge

New canal-side apartments

We soon approached Waters Meeting, with Central Manchester to the right and Stafford Park to the left. Surprisingly there are no signs telling you which way to go. After a mile or so there is a mooring on the left hand side which is convenient for The Stafford Centrex, about 500 yards away. The next point of interest was the Barton Swing Aqueduct, where the canal passes over the Manchester Ship Canal.

Crossing the Manchester Ship Canal

The Manchester Ship Canal

We were soon in the orange waters at Worse, and making the sharp left hand bend under Worse Bridge and under the M60 motorway.


There were long stretches ahead of us until we eventually passed Castle Green Pit Museum with its winding gear on the left hand side of the canal. We were making good time, and next passed the derelict mills of Leigh and The Flash on the right hand side.

Derelict Mills at Leigh

We arrived at Plank Lane to 1-15 p.m. We went a bit further and found mooring rings next to the Dover Lock pub. This left us in a good position for the Wig an Locks the next day.

Sunset at Dover Lock moorings

Day 7 - Monday 25th July 2011

Leaving Dover Lock moorings at 8 a.m. we did the two Pool stock locks and arrived at Wig an Junction. Turning left here for Liverpool, we approached the Hens hurst Lock.

Hen hurst Lock, Wig an

This is quite a nice area and there is a B. W. El san point adjacent to Hens hurst Lock. We then moved over to the left hand side of the canal to the B. W. Offices, where there is a water point and a place for rubbish disposal. Next came Bottom Lock; adjacent to this is a covered dry dock that can be rented from B. W. for painting and repairs.

Beyond this is the "Orwell Pub", and on the left hand side the famous "Wig an Pier" as per Orwell's novel. This is not what you might expect; it was a stitch for loading coal onto canal barges and not much is left today.

The Orwell pub

Wig an Pier

Until now Wig an had been really nice and modern, but things changed at the next lock, Ell Meadow Lock. There are two locks side by side, but one is derelict. The other is not in a very good state of repair, and beyond it the canal was littered with dozens of PET-bottles and other rubbish. We were glad to get by this and out into the country. There is a boat-yard/marina at Crooked, and we stopped here to take on diesel from a converted broad-beam barge. We pressed on through Apply Bridge to Par bold, where we stopped for a late lunch and a quick visit to to the shop. Another 40 minutes saw us mooring up at Ring-o-Bells; the visitor moorings were full so we moored on pins just beyond them.

Par bold Moorings

Day 8 - Tuesday 26th July 2011

Today's cruising was without locks and only 5 hours in duration, but was very tiring due to the number of swing bridges and boats moored at the side of the canal. We left our moorings, passed the entrance bridge to the Ruffed Arm leading north to the Dribble Link, and then on through Burs cough.

Entrance to the Ruffed Arm

One of the many canal-side pubs on this stretch

Then into swing bridge country! The worst part was through Mogul, where the swing bridges come thick and fast, and they are all different! In the Mogul area alone there are

16 Bell's Swing Bridge
15 Methodist Swing Bridge
14 Shaw's Swing Bridge (With Orison's nearby, and an RBS cash point right next to the bridge)
12 Mogul hall Swing Bridge

The latter was quite a problem as a long tine of cars built up whilst the bridge was open, with them all getting very impatient!

A dreaded swing bridge!

We at last approached the area between 10 Holmes Swing Bridge and Lesson's Bridge 9c which we had been told was ideal for mooring. It was quite a nice area lined with new houses on one side, but we decided to go on and to moor up right next to Hancock's Swing Bridge to be ready for the BW guided trip into Liverpool the next day. For the first time in this trip I had to open the weed hatch to clear the propeller..... a sign that were were moving into an area where the canal is not so clean!

Mooring area before Ledsons Bridge

We were the second boat to arrive here, and were able to moor on the white tops rather than using mooring pins. There was some traffic noise from cars etc using Hancocks Swing Bridge, but it was not a problem.

Day 9 - Wednesday 27th July 2011

There were six boats in our convoy waiting to move past Hancocks Swing Bridge and into Liverpool. The B.W. men arrived about 9-20 a.m. and gave us instructions. The road going over Hancocks Swing Bridge is very busy, and they urged us to pass through it as quickly as possible. We were soon on our way past Aintree race course with Tumbarumba leading the convoy. The B.W.men were waiting for us at Netherton Swing Bridge, and as soon as the "convoy" had grouped together they opened the swing bridge for us and we all went through. We soon arrived at the Litherland Bridges 2J and 2L, where there is a B.W. sanitary station and a huge TESCO adjacent. Whilst I fettled the boat Sue did a trolley dash! We moved off the B.W. moorings to allow other boats in; one was doing a pump out, one had rubbish around its propeller; one chap in a fibre glass boat went off to TESCO to buy petrol. So whilst all this was going on we led out the procession towards Liverpool. The canal go progressively dirtier as we passed through Bootle, with lots of PET bottles, beer cans, old settees, beer kegs, fire extinguishers etc in the water. We reached the top of the Stanley Locks at 12-30 p.m., after 3 hours cruising, and went into the locks to wait for the next boat and the B.W. men.

We had a sandwich whilst we were waiting, and the B.W. men came about 1-30 p.m. to open the first lock gates. They have special security devices on the first gates which require a special extended windlass, so only B.W. can open these gates. We worked our way down the flight of four locks and then moved into Stanley Dock. The route thereafter is fairly straight forward and there are strings of buoys to guide you. Even if you have not been there before it is fairly straight forward. We passed through Collingwood Dock and Salisbury Dock, and then along the long link passage. This took us eventually to Princes Dock Lock, which had been set open in our favour by B.W. The next section was magical as we passed in front of the three Graces and round to Mann Island Dock. Here we had to wait for B.W. to set the lock for us, but then we were able to do an "S" through Canning Dock, through Albert Dock, and into the visitor moorings at Salthouse Dock.

As I walked the pontoon to take a few photos I got talking to the owner of the U-boat Narrow Boat that has appeared in the press recently. This chap has spent £50,000 buying a shell and kitting it out inside to look like a submarine, and he can even cruise along the canals whilst sitting inside guiding the boat by a sonar and 4 T.V. screens! The only problem was it was a really hot day and with no windows in the U-boat it was boiling hot!

Ready for off..... Hancocks Swing Bridge

Looking for lunch!

Netherton Swing Bridge

B.W. Litherland Service Depot


Entrance to Stanley Locks

Going down the Stanley Lock flight

Exit from Stanley Locks into Stanley Dock

Warehouse in Stanley Dock

The Victoria Clock Tower

The Liverpool Dock Link

The Liverpool Dock Link

The Tunnel under the area by The Three Graces and The Museum of Liverpool

The Liverpool Canal Link in front of the Three Graces

The Royal Liver Building (left) and The Cunard Building (right)


Mann Island Lock

The Pump House


Dark and menacing, it prowls the water, torpedo tubes at the ready. But this German U-boat's captain will never have to issue the order: 'Dive, Dive, Dive', because it is a replica canal boat - which floats in just six feet of water. The 70 foot long 'killer of the seas' surfaced yesterday on Leeds-Liverpool canal at Botany Bay near Chorley, Lancashire. It is the creation of 'Admiral' Cyril Howarth, 78, who was inspired by the film to build an exact replica of the craft which sank 3,000 Allied ships during the Second World War. And Cyril will never have to utter the famous quote from the 1981 film as his craft U-8047 cuts through the water at a leisurely three miles an hour. Cyril spent £25,000 on the shell of a traditional narrow boat and engine before spending a further £25,000 instructing a Liverpool-based yard to build him an identical U-boat super structure. Retired trawlerman Cyril said: 'The submarine has a conning tower and torpedo tubes...there is just some electrics to sort out below decks.' 'You should have seen the faces of the locals when they woke up and found a battleship grey German navy U-boat in their midst.''It is the culmination of a 12 month dream for me. I have always studied naval history, in particular the role of the submarine.' 'I know they were the enemy but they were brave sailors after all who spent week after week underwater.'
However Mr Howarth and his family may have to up-periscope in the near future as British Waterways - who run the canal system will have to inspect his dream to make sure it is suitable.



Das Capitan!

The Sleeping Quarters

Control Systems

Up Periscope!


Sue chilling out in Salthouse Dock

The Yellow Duckmarine

DUKW is a US Army acronym meaning D = 1942, U = utility or amphibious, K = 6 wheel drive and W = twin rear axles. The vehicles have always been affectionately referred to as ‘Ducks’.


The Royal Liver Building (1908-1911)

The Mersey Docks & Harbour Board Building (1902-07)

King Edward VII by William Goscombe John (1910)

Salthouse Dock area

Albert Dock

China Town

Sunset over the Mersey


Day 10- Thursday 28th July 2011

Moored in Salthouse Dock

Day 11 - Friday 29th July 2011

Moored in Salthouse Dock

Day 12 - Saturday 30th July 2011

We set off at 8-15 a.m. to be ready at Mann Island Lock at 8-30 a.m. The gate at the exit of Salthouse Lock was up so we had to wait for B. W. to lower it. Moving from Canning Half Tide Dock in to Canning Dock is a bit strange, as you cannot see at first sight where the exit for Mann Island Lock actually is.

nb "Dabbler" moored in Salthouse Dock

Looking across the moorings in Salthouse Dock towards the Hilton Hotel on the right

Looking across Salthouse Dock to the Wheel

Exiting Salthouse Dock in to Canning Half Tide Dock

Looking back along the link channel with the Liver Building just visible in the distance

Looking ahead to the Clock Tower


There are two sets of openings into dry docks which you have to ignore, and then it is the third narrow opening that you have to pass into, but it is not easy to see. We were first of 4 boats, and just as I started my turn into the opening I could not steer the front end of the boat. I thought it was the wind as the front end was really slow to turn, but unbeknown to me I had yards of synthetic paper wrapped around my prop. The second boat realised I was having trouble turning and he backed off; boat three entered the opening and the lock and boat four gunned it to beat me to the opening! I was not impressed!! Having the stress of handling the boat in to the narrow opening was bad enough especially as it would not respond, but to be pipped at the post by another boat was unbelievable! A few words were exchanged and he agreed to back out of the lock and let me in! Not how you want to start the day. Then I had the long length of synthetic paper material to remove from the prop. I was a bit stressed by the time we got to the next lock!

Synthetic paper and plastic wrapped around the prop..... why does it always happen at
the most inoppertune moments?

We continued out of Liverpool Docks and did the flight of 4 Stanley Locks; this took 5 hours from our moorings in Salthouse Docks to the top of the Stanley Lock flight. We continued on to the Litherhead Service point, and then on to Netherton Swing Bridge where BW were waiting to operate the bridge for us. We continued on to Hancocks Swing Bridge; in the section between the top of Stanley Lock Flight to Hancocks Swing Bridge I had to stop 3 times to clear the prop. We carried on through the numerous swing bridges of Maghull, and eventually moored up at Downholland Hall Swing Bridge for the night. We were able to moor on the "white-tops" at the side of an old swing bridge. It had been a long and hot day and we had been going for seven and three quarter hours!


B.W. men assist with the Stanley Lock flight and the swing bridges


Day 13 - Sunday 31st July 2011

Setting off at 7-45 a.m. we headed for Wigan, arriving around 2-45 p.m. We moored outside the B.W. main building in Central Wigan.

Dean Locks

Approaching Wigan

The Orwell Pub in Wigan

Day 14 - Monday 1st August 2011

Our schedule called for us to reach moorings opposite the Trafford Centre in Manchester, but as we do not particularly like that stretch of canal we decided to make a day of it and head for Bollington Underpass. There are 4 or 5 mooring rings right next to Bollington Underpass which no one seems to know about. Hence we hoped to get proper rings on which to moor, with the added bonus of the mooring being in walking distance of the pub, The Swan with Two Nicks in Little Bollington. So, a long day but mooring rings and a pub at the end of it.

Plank Lane Lift Bridge

Day 15 - Tuesday 2nd August 2011

Retraced our footsteps from Bolllington Underbridge to the Anderton Lift. Preston Brook Tunnel has a timing regime by which, going south, you can only enter the tunnel between half past the hour and twenty to the hour; we missed this slot so we moored up for lunch. The second tunnel, Saltersford, has a similar regime, but we were unaware of this when we went north as the signs is quite small and easy to miss. Ignorance is bliss. There are no time restrictions on the Barnton Tunnel; you just have to check that there are no headlights visible in the tunnel.

The Waterside Inn, a handy mooring place for Aldi

Day 16 - Wednesday 3rd August 2011

It was probably the hottest day of the trip as we continued our way towards Wheelock. Leaving the Anderton Lift at 9 a.m. we stopped for diesel at Anderton Marina and then the B.W. Elsan/refuse place on the other side of the canal. We stopped again at Rudheath to visit the shop, a Spa, and then headed for Middlewich. It was quite busy as we approached The Big Lock, and we were fifth in line.

The Big Lock, Middlewich

We worked our way through the Middlewich locks, past Kings Lock, and on towards Wheelock. We really wanted somewhere to moor but the road accompanies the canal for miles, and it is very noisy. It was past Rookery Railway Bridge, a few miles out of Wheelock before we moored for the night. What we had intended to be a short day turned out to be our longest of the trip, 8 hours.

Day 17 - Thursday 4th August 2011

The weather had changed completely; it was quite cool and overcast and there was rain about. We completed the trip with a half hour run in to Wheelock ready for changeover the next day.