Day 26 – Lazing at Lymm

Second and final day here. Chance to restock at the Sainsbury’s Local, visit the Brewery tap (yes, a real micro brewery!), do some boat chores and relax.


Could that be the picture of the trip? Well, the sun did come out and the panels started to feed charge back into the batteries. A slow start, probably due to the spag bog last night preceded by G&T, garlic bread and artichoke tapas and a whole bottle of Chianti Riserva! There was a market in town plus extras to buy that were too heavy yesterday.


Lymm is a pretty town with many places to eat (fish n chip, Indian, Chinese, Mediterranean, Turkish …) plus a chance find of the Brewery Tap


The Porter and Summer Meadow were excellent.


Plenty of shops, including an excellent butchers (Steve insisted on standing by this sign, it’s not true, he’s not local)


The central cross, dedicated to Queen Victoria, had some interesting sun dials


Tomorrow, it’s off to Stretford Marina via Sale. Then we have a whole day to iron the Red Carpet for the visit of David Thomas and then Sunday, off to Liverpool!

And in the afternoon we walked the dog down to a brook below the canal, where there was an ancient mill that used to split iron and make nails! Fascinating and we then followed the path up to the dam – didn’t know there was one! Through the dingle and then a walk around the whole lake – great walking and great for a Toby swim too

See that church – it’s got gargoyles . . 

And here’s two more on the Wishing Bridge

A very wet dog but also a very happy one!

Rain’s coming, again but tomorrow looks OK. Back to the Brewery tap …

Day 25 – Out on a Lymm

We hadn’t exactly grown bored with Dutton but with rain on the forecast we decided to move on and stick to the plan. The last 2 miles of the Trent & Mersey and through the Preston Brook Tunnel. Our modus operandi is to steam on in the rain and then rest in the sunshine – giving chance for the sun to recharge the batteries. We grabbed the 1000 entry into the tunnel, for yes, it is timed to just on the hour & up to ten minutes past. At the other end lurks the privately owned (well, by Peel Holdings) Bridgewater Canal – the original canal, set up by the Duke of Bridgewater. It was a nice change – broad and deep but it did rain!

The northern portal

Is this the original canal masters house that DT looked around?

And yes, it was wet … hardly any traffic at all – maybe this new ruling by the Bridgewater Canal Co. to enforce their 7 day only reciprocal agreement with no return in 28 days is beginning to scare people off coming through and if they do, not to stop! Still. the boat loved being on a broad and deep canal.

A fuel stop at Thorn marine in Stockton Heath (140 litres! Half a tank) and a chat to the lady on Psalm.

All the bridges here have names not numbers – such as Stanney Lunt

And into Lymm, our planned stop for two days. Only mooring was outside the picture postcard cottage of Bridgewater House. Owned, we’re reliably informed by a local in the pub, by Matthew Corbett! Very pretty and well kept.

Day 24 – Quiet Contemplation

With some of the anxieties behind us we slept in until 0845. A sign that we were more relaxed now. UK politics remain in turmoil and the pound continues to drop to its lowest level for 31 years but we are enjoying our serene spot. Dutton Hall must have some peacocks as we can hear them in the distance. Rain’s coming later but meanwhile, a day of rest before heading off towards Manchester tomorrow.


A morning of cleaning both inside and out for yea, the Thomas is coming next week and all must shine! Then off to walk the dog – we went up to see the peacocks but alas. they were hidden, so back down to Dutton lock . .  in the rain. We met the lock keeper – yes, they keep permanent staff on the Weaver to operate these big hydraulic locks. And yes, it did rain . . 

This lock is huge and can take ships of the thousand tonne range.

It used to be operated by a water turbine – using the water pressure of the difference in the two levels but the polluted Weaver of old put paid to that and hydraulics are now used but the keeper reckoned it may still work, now the waters are clean again.

It was great chatting to her – she even told us about the old hotel boat that finally sank . 

It was a good trek down to these locks and I lamented the lack of pubs nearby. She replied that the Leigh Arms was only a mile away, so off we trekked

This amazing swing bridge at Acton Bridge – I wondered how it worked . .

It seems the small brick house has an engine that pulls on two ropes that are wrapped around the drum under the centre of the bridge … love to see it work.

And on to the pub for a snack and a pint of Robinson’s Bonjeuros – odd but nice.

Hopefully DT can research some better beers for us next week! Cheers!

Day 23 – Dutton & the Weaver

To mark the contrast between our glum mood of the last few days and the worry of things electrical and sanitary, I post the last picture first.  The sun came out, we were starting to get burnt! And we chugged down to the CRT services for a prolonged and messy pump out (don’t go there!) and then onto the two tunnels before bimbling along the final stretch of the Trent & Mersey and serendipitously stopping at this milepost for our mooring for the next few days.  No mention in any guide book of the excellent mooring (rings provided) or the stunning view across the Weaver valley to Dutton locks and the 18th century viaduct. I circle the exact mooring . . 

 We walked back to bridge 211 and took the footpath down the Weaver and followed a circular route back to the boat – giving Toby his promised swim.

Firstly, leaving Anderton . .

And a canal side view of the entrance to that lift … maybe on the way back

The two tunnels were a bit dodgy – the first (Barnton) you had to glimpse inside to see if anything was coming before entering. The other had a timing system, on the hour for 20 minutes! But the canal became quite serene after this

And our “spot” and chance to do what this all about – relax!

This is the spot where they had a big breach … seems OK now . .

And off for the circular walk:

Just shows how wide the river is – shame it’s not used commercially any more – ships of 1,000 tonnes used to ply up and down here. All that salt journeying across the world.

Here are the paired Dutton locks – the one on the left is for the big ships.

Toby found some excitement – lots of rabbits …

And round to the weir by-wash to give Toby a swim. Note the Joseph Locke, 1837, viaduct.

The circular walk took us, well, in a circle – if you look carefully, the canal is high up in the centre of the photo.

Back on the canal at bridge 213, then 212 then our boat.

You often see strange boat names and some that have quotations, here’s one I like (Spike Milligan)

Day 22 Freedom or Worrydom?

Well we’d be lying if we told you that everything was always grand, the sun always shone and life was a non-stop jamboree of fun.  Boating is not stress free and having your own boat which is now your home piles on the stress – at times. The electrics needed sorting as the Victron was too clever and responded to the solar panels input by shutting down the charging and the loo was filling up, belching evil fumes and gurgling all night long.  This coupled with a wedding party (or similar) in a field a mile away, which had a live band, thumping away until 0130, gave us no sleep. Then it rained again. Other boaters zoomed by at 5 knots pulling our pins out … it does get tedious at times. All this and still in the midst of selling a house … yes, one can be a tad down, at times.

Still, musn’t grumble. If you’re chewing on life’s gristle, don’t worry, just whistle … and everything will turn out for the best . . 

Met some great people – out walking their dog or tying up their boat or just passing by our boat on the towpath. There was a young couple with a dog called Honey, who stopped and chatted for ages. Very pleasant. If it was you – do get in touch as we know you live near Stretford, where we’ll be next Friday/Saturday and would love to visit your local. Yes, the views are great, the ever-changing vista. The freedom and the fresh air but it really is the people that make it so interesting and worthy of doing (but not those who speed by and rock our world!!).

Tomorrow we move off to Anderton (1 mile away) for boat ablutions and then some shopping in Barnton, before settling down near Dutton and the very last inch of the Trent & Mersey canal for a few days, to time our arrival at Stretford, the Bridgewater Canal and meeting up with our good friend David from Ubley.

Day 21 – Marbury Country Park

Our third day here and this time off to the other side of the canal to explore Marbury Country Park. This was originally a large house with fabulous grounds, a pool and a lime grove of trees. The house has gone but the pool and grove are still there plus an arboretum and much more.

A stately home, then a superb club, then requisitioned during the war then used by ICI as a hostel for their workers . . 

The outdoor pool still survives and is in use – quite  a rare thing nowadays.  Some lovely walking areas including a large mere, which Toby had a splash about in.

Something for everyone here – quite a hidden gem. Here’s Viv in the arboretum with an Oriental Plane tree.

Something for dogs too . . 

We managed to coax Toby thru the long tube … biscuits helped. Not sure there’s an agility course for Robins.

Even something for Steven – a snack bar run by two enterprising ladies – with their own blend of teas, homemade dog biscuits and freshly cooked Scotch pancakes with ice cream and maple syrup!

The weather was brilliant and we were glad to find such a nicely kept park.

Day 20 – A lift and a park

We awoke and found out the shocking news that the bigoted, xenophobic public had voted us out of the EU. 75% of the youngest voters wanted in but their elders thought better. The pound sank to its lowest value ever and millions were wiped off shares & pensions. All very depressing but it’s made us reconsider our plans and a future living back in the Canaries seems more promising now. But on with the blog . .  . a so-called day of rest, turned into a day of clean up & reorganise everything! The fuel tank was dipped, the stern gland was re-greased. A fender was lovingly re-attached (see piccie with Steve’s expert whipping) and the whole place tidied up. We then had soup for lunch and marched off 1.5 miles to the Anderton Lift – one of the Seven Wonders of the inland waterways.

These mini fenders tend to get ripped off in locks so it was time for new rope and fittings.

Our very pleasant mooring despite the rain. And on to that boat lift. They’ve had a huge refurbishment to get the lift working again and have built a massive visitor centre on two levels – disappointingly, no dogs! They could have built access to the outside area but no. You can’t see the lift or anything if you have a dog!

I marched in alone and took a few piccies (this is the only view from the towpath)

Here’s a sneaky view of the control room

and here’s the dog unfriendly view from their gardens

Here are two lots of boats passing

And out on to the river Weaver – with the huge chemical works opposite (formerly Brunner Mond, then ICI and now Tata I think, making Sodium Carbonate??)

On the left are the visitor moorings (river Weaver)

Back up on the towpath we saw this little boat, Bogwoppit !

We decided to walk back through the parkland and the Dragonfly path, nice views of the Weaver plus deciduous woodland.

It’s a wonderful place for birders!

A whole silver birch woodland plus plenty of chances for a dog swim …

Altogether a lovely area to spend a few days.  Tomorrow, a few more chores and we must sit down and plan the next leg of our journey, then another walk this time over the footbridge to Marbury country park.

Day 19 – Northwich

A boiling hot day but time to move on. Mooring up in a town is good for shops, pubs and pubs but not good for solitude and a nice view. So onwards to Northwich. Chugging through large lagoons caused by the salt extraction and then a visit to the recently restored Lion Salt Works – now a museum & exhibition. Then on to a very quiet spot near Marbury country park for a few days of Rest & Recreation plus Make n Mend. We left Middlewich via the Big Lock:

An odd and eerie site – an aqueduct

Navigating these expanses of open water . .  or flashes as they’re called

It was a beautiful day … even sailing through the Tata chemical works

A lunchtime stop at the Salt works . .  a fascinating place and lots of exhibits too, see  both our parents can remember having a block of salt in the larder!

And then a mile further to our designated quiet zone

Day 18 – Rest Day

With plenty of sunshine to top the batteries up, we stayed a second day. Steve wandered off to buy a new stern gland for the boat, which we have now decided to have fitted later when the boat comes out of the water late August/September. It was then time to restock at Tesco’s and have a look around the town. It seemed we had missed the best pubs … The White Bear was great and had a good spread of beers, friendly staff and knowledgeable locals:

 Lazy Haze (Tatton), Captain Pigwash (Potbelly), Solstice and Pale Lazy Bear (Beartown) – the best one! Off tomorrow towards Northwich and the Lion Salt museum and then somewhere rural to stop for a few days.

Day 17 – Middlewich

Well, Wheelock wasn’t great.  Not a lot there. The Cheshire Cheese pub was a rather old fashioned boozer with Hyde’s bitter. We had a Chinese take away, our first take out meal – this was great and did us for lunch the next day. A lazy start but away by 10 ish – towards Middlewich.

Our mooring at Wheelock. The Trent & Mersey on from here was narrow and twisty … with some unusual beasts

Just a few sporadic locks – this one on the outskirts of Middlwich, showing the huge Tata chemical works.

A long and straight section bring the boater into Middlewich. The next lock is Kings Lock and home to the chandlery and the T-junction with the Shroppie. We had planned to stop here but the road was a tad noisy plus Steve Wedgwood at the Chandlers was very busy . .  so we pottered on . .  queuing behind 3 other boats for the final 3 locks … which took 2 hours to get thru

The manic junction

We finally tied up at the visitor moorings and in need of some refreshment

And on for some further refreshment . .  at the Big Lock pub which turned into dinner as well

Is it the angle or is he putting on weight?