Early Tuesday morning on the 30st of May we present ourselves at the booking office for the Anderton Boat Lift. Just to be told that the lift is fully booked for the day. Only one caisson is used, because of a fault in one of the gates. So we’re at the visitor’s moorings, going down tomorrow. So I thought: Would they do a Top of the World Tour today?
“No, but the volunteer, who does the tours, is in today”, is the answer I get back. And, as I find out, he is willing to do a one (wo)man tour. This private tour lasts two hours in stead of the normal one hour. And they even let me operate the gates…! Sorry for the silly woman in the next two pictures.
Absolute amazing what they achieved in those days.
At one o’clock on Wednesday the 31st of May we move the boats onto the holding mooring for the lift. After getting instructions about the do’s and don’ts they let us on the aqueduct, and then onto the lift.
Forty-five minutes later I find myself in a completely different world.
Locks are huge and have a lock keeper, who you have to phone, before showing up. You don’t throw ropes, the lock keeper lowers a rope, onto which you attach your rope. And you switch off the engine in a lock.
And when we’re cruising we don’t seem to make any progress. But that’s just an illusion. At four o’clock we moor up at the Vale Royal Visitors Mooring, ready to open the purposely bought bubbly, to celebrate our first day on our first river. Me and Ann prepare supper ( I make a pizza and tzatziki, Ann provides the starter) and we have a delightful evening.
The next day we explore the navigable part of the river Weaver all the way upstream.
We pass a salt mine, industrial debris that reminds me of Uluru (Ayer’s Rock) in Australia or dinosaur country in Canada, and something I jokingly call a winding hole, which turns out actually to be a winding hole (don’t want to encounter a boat that has to use it, here on the river. It can almost accommodate a DFDS Ferry!)
Of course we also go all the way downstream. Through even bigger (but more or less gentle) locks (where one of the lock keepers even decides to buy one of my tea cup pin cushions).
In between the ups and downs we end up at the visitor’s mooring near Anderton Boat Lift, for a well-deserved and very delicious BBQ with the neighbours.