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  • clivenmel

Oct 21st

Normal 0 false false false st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} We left our mooring at Moore around 09.00 this morning, it was quite chilly and raining, however the weather forecast for today was pretty good so we kept our fingers crossed that it would improve.  It did eventually but there were some quite heavy showers in between bouts of sunshine.    The first excitement of the day was arriving at the Preston Brook tunnel.  Passage through this tunnel is governed by timing, boats going South can pass through on the hour and for the next ten minutes, boats going North can pass through on the half hour for the next ten minutes.   This is because it is a narrow tunnel with only room for one boat and as it is 1239 yards long you do not want to meet another boat in the middle!  We arrived about 09.40am so had time to moor up and make a cuppa before going through.  All went well, with no encounters fortunately.  Almost immediately after we emerged from the tunnel there was a lock � now this really was a strange one!  After negotiating some very deep, dark locks, the deepest one being about 12�, it was really strange to find one that was only 6�, yes six inches!!!  It was hardly worth the bother really, not quite sure what that was all about!  However the interesting thing was that before we entered the tunnel we were on the Bridgewater Canal, when we came out the other end we were on the Trent and Mersey Canal!  We decided to stop for lunch at this stage.  A short while after we set off again we arrived at the Saltersford Tunnel, this one is 424 yards long and is also governed by time but we got there during the ten minute spell so could go straight through.  Next we encountered the Barnton Tunnel, which is not very long and not governed by time, you just have to check the far end of the tunnel to make sure there are no lights, if not you can go through!  We met a boat just emerging from the tunnel and he told us it was clear behind him so we went straight through that one as well.   By mid afternoon the weather had improved considerably, it was still chilly but the sun was out in a beautiful blue sky and it was a pleasure just to cruise along admiring the beautiful scenery.  We passed the Anderton Boat Lift. This is an ingenious method of transporting boats between the Trent and Mersey Canal and the Weaver Navigation.  However we weren�t going that way so didn�t get a chance to experience being lifted.  A few minutes later and we passed Anderton Marina � familiar territory!  This is where we set off from on our first narrowboat holiday back in 2005 and where we got the inspiration for our current adventure.  We had left the marina about 4.00pm on that Sunday afternoon and moored up about an hour later at the Lion Salt Works � that was it, we were already hooked � it only took one hour!!   As we were gently cruising along past some lovely woodland we noticed a lot of dead wood around � aha firewood!  We promptly pulled in and tied up to a tree and both went off hunting for reasonably sized branches that could be cut up into bite size pieces for our new stove.  In the current financial climate anything free is good!  We now have a nice collection of wood on top of our boat � she looks like a proper live-aboard now!   Well we mosied on down passed Marston and Wincham and on to the Flashes.  These wide, watery spaces are  a curious feature of this section of the canal.  That nearest bridge 81 was once filled with the submerged wrecks of abandoned narrowboats, an inland waterway equivalent of Scapa Flow.  Many of the boats were taken there and sunk en masse during the 50s.  British Waterways got rid of surplus narrowboats in a number of watery graves throughout the system.  In recent years some of these wrecks have been raised and taken off for restoration evidently.    Just as we were approaching the Billinge Flashes we caught sight of a flash of turquoise blue � a kingfisher!  I did manage to get a photograph of him in a tree but unfortunately didn�t have my long lens on and therefore, although I know he is there all you would see is a tree!   We also saw several herons today too and a couple of buzzards and what we think was a kestrel being mobbed by a pair of crows.    Well by now it was getting to that time of day when we were looking forward to getting tucked up in front of our lovely stove after a nice meal so we started looking out for a decent mooring � we soon found one � don�t ask where we are, middle of the countryside somewhere!

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