|Barnton Cut amid the mellow colours of autumn|
Yesterday we returned through the two locks we'd gone down through, at Dutton and Saltersford. Mac is the resident lady lockie at Dutton. She's lived at the pretty lock house and worked the locks for over 20 years, starting in the days when big coasters regularly made the run up to the Brunner Mond works at Winnington. A board at the lock displays some fascinating stats about the ships that have been through – including the fact that the lock uses nearly half a million gallons of water per fill!
|Big boats on the Weaver|
|And the biggest of them, the St Michael (c. http://balmaha.net)|
This morning Brian managed to fall in once again while leaping for the bank from the moored boat – I think he needs a stronger pair of glasses. It wouldn't be so bad but the little chap is such a feeble swimmer. I think we'll take him to our grand daughter's swimming classes.
After wringing Brian out we carried on upstream, past the Anderton Lift and towards Northwich. Along the way we kept passing bags of rubbish floating in the water. After the first few we realised this was more than just a few lazy boaters or fishermen and as we came into the town we saw the cause: Saturday night scrotes had pushed a 'dumpster' - one of those big wheeled rubbish bins - into the water and it was slowly leaking out bags of litter. Wish I'd seen them, I'd have done a Brian on them and sent them overboard with the rubbish.
|Local heroes: a salt miner, Paula Radcliffe and Gary Barlow|
But a £28m project has now stabilised four old mines under the town, pumping them full of a cement based mixture, and enabled new development to begin. We are moored tonight opposite the first of these – Hayhurst Quay, a 40 boat marina, Waitrose and leisure area.
We were moored further upstream just across from Macdonalds but moved a bit further from the temptations of the Golden Arches!
As well as its salt mines, Northwich was the shipbuilding centre of the Weaver. W J Yarwood's yard here built large numbers of working narrowboats from the 1900s onwards and the yard built many larger craft - tugs, barges and coasters - before it closed in 1965. Unfortunately all that remains these days is a small mooring basin; the rest is a neat little housing estate which at least has a memorial plaque.
We passed it on our afternoon walk along the town's 'water heritage trail'. It's a pretty walk along the Weaver and its subsidiary the River Dane, but it's still a little sad to see some of the old navigation buildings now empty and sliding into disrepair.
|The quirky Edwardian sewage pumping station house|
|And inside, its immaculately restored pumping engines|
PS Found my Christmas present on the walk too: a quadcopter. What a great device; radio controlled and computer managed and with a built in HD video camera, it flies, hovers, manoeuvres at the flick of a switch.
|All I want for Christmas is ... a quadcopter|