Thursday, 21 October 2010

Retirement Trip: Day 6

Anderton to Lymm
 Bridge Cottage, Lymm
When I lived in inner-city Salford, we always regarded Lymm in Cheshire as being insufferably "posh" - not that anyone ever went there, of course. And, yes - it ceratinly has a well-to-do air about it: upmarket shops, expensive restaurants and classy pubs, such as the Spread Eagle:
Spread Eagle, Lymm
From Anderton to Lymm involves three tunnels and one lock. At the first tunnel, Barnton, I had to beat a sharp retreat as I spotted a boat entering the other end. It was 50/50 who had right of way, but I was happy to give them the benefit of the doubt. Of course, as I tied up to wait for them it started to rain!
Saltersford tunnel has a system of timed entry due to its crooked nature meaning that except for a brief glimpse as you enter you can't see if anything's coming the other way. I was lucky to hit it bang in the middle of the 20-minute window that occurs hourly for northbound boats.
I only met two other boats all morning, one was at a blind bridgehole and the other was stemmed-up on the inside of a sharp bend. (I offered to help they said they were OK, but as I left I could see the crew trying hard to push both ends off at once!
The stop lock at Dutton effectively marks the junction between the Trent & Mersey and Bridgewater Canals and is a curiosity, being wider than a narrow lock, but narrower than a broad one (if you see what I mean

It's certainly awkward for a single-hander, who has to open both bottom gates, but can't step across from one to the other while doing so, having to walk round and over the top gate, repeating the process when closing-up afterwards. I knew entry to Preston Brook tunnel for northbound boats was restriction to the first ten minutes of each hour, but was determined not to look at my watch in case I was tempted to rush the lock and make a mistake; but with the bottom paddles up and the lock emptying I couldn't resist: It was 12:04! By the time I was through and had closed the gates behind me it was 12:09, but the tunnel is only just round the corner and I entered at exactly 12:10!
The rest of the journey was a rest cure by comparison. The Bridgewater is wide, deep and because of this you don't have to slow down so much when passing moored boats, of which there aren't very many anyway. After a lunch stop at Moore, outside the very handy Post Office and Stores (with phone box, bus stop and recycling point) I whiled away the afternoon standing at the tiller and watching the pleasant, if unspectacular, Cheshire scenery pass by.

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