We have left the Bridgewater Canal and are now on the Trent and Mersey. We left the boat at Oakwood Marina over Christmas while we returned to Kent. On our return we continue down the Trent and Mersey Canal and turn onto the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal.
We emerged from Preston Brook Tunnel and through Dutton Stop lock, which is the only lock until we get to Middlewich. We moored up just north of bridge 213, which was a lovely rural mooring where we stayed for 2 nights. on 10th November we moved down to Barnton, passing through Saltersford Tunnel (424 yards) and Barnton Tunnel(572 yards) and moored just south of the tunnel. we were expecting Ryan from Bickerstaffe boats the following day to service our Vetus Engine. Good local moorings on rings but there are no facilities nearby.
On 12th November we cruised down to Marbury Country Park, passing the Anderton Boat Lift (a 50ft vertical link down to the River Weaver). This magnificent engineering structure was built in 1875 and has a visitor centre and an exhibition and is one of only two boat lifts in the UK. I will discuss this further in a future blog. There is also full boating facilities here which we of course made use of.
Marbury Country park had excellent short term moorings and we stayed here for 2 days, taking in a lovely autumn walk down to the reservoir.
On 14th November we moved down to Northwich and topped up our provisions at the local Co-op which was 5 mins away and Lidl which was a bit further into town. We stayed here for 3 nights as we were unable to move on due to some really high winds, even though the moorings weren't great as they were not far from a chemical factory which dominates the sky line.
On 17th November we moved down to just north of Middlewich and stopped at a lovely off side mooring called Bramble Cutting, where there were picnic benches and BBQ facilities, we stayed here for 2 nights. Pat had the opportunity to get some drone footage done while I took the opportunity to clean that side of the boat. I wonder who drew the short straw here! In fairness though because it was such a beautiful sunny day we also managed to repaint the rubbing strip just to cover up some of those ugly scratches.
This video actually covers a period of 7 weeks as we did not leave Middlewich until 31st December when we returned to the boat following a visit to Kent. During this time we had a get together with other Bickerstaffe boaters on 1st December and a visit from my brother and his partner on 8th December. We cruised down to Wheelock facilities (not shown) as there is only water taps and refuse disposal in Middlewich and no Elsan facilities. We were booked in Oakhurst Marina until 31st December. The changing of the seasons is clearly seen in this video as it starts on 7th November where Autumn is still evident and completes on 31st December when winter is apparent. We move through Middlewich taking in the 4 locks and onto the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal where we spent New Years Eve.