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Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2014 – day 44

Posted by indigodream on 19 April, 2015

Rewind to Sunday 5th October

Saltersford Lock to Middlewich

Anderton Boat Lift - never fails to impress :-)

Anderton Boat Lift – never fails to impress πŸ™‚

We had a bit of drama with Arun again this morning, this time with a spectacular attack of the dire rear which managed to anoint a surprising surface area! I’ve always said that looking after old dogs is a privilege not a chore, so we were not bothered….

It was soon cleaned up and the boat settled to sleep while Steve took Arun on a lengthy early morning pyjama walk. Regular readers will know that it’s not unusual for me to be walking the towpath in my pyjamas in the wee small hours, but this was a new experience for Steve! His opinion was that pyjama walking was “quite liberating” πŸ™‚

Once again, we were in no great hurry, so there was time to fill up with water and to take the greyhounds for a bobble before we set off upstream ready to catch the 10am passage through Saltersford Lock. I have a note that Herbie hound was exceptionally well-behaved – he’s come so far from the timid and slightly feral stray that was rescued starving from the streets so many years ago πŸ™‚

Our starting point offered some spectacular cruising options, but we’d already decided not to try for Weston. We had hoped to take our guests north on the Trent and Mersey so that they could see my favourite view back down to the river, but Steve had already seen it on his morning walk! The others voted for a bobble back towards Middlewich but with a stop at the Lyons salt museum in Northwich (canalside).

I do love a bit of living industry - the steam emanating from the salt works is always dramatic. Signs ont he road warn of the danger of thick vapour reducing visibility :-)

I do love a bit of living industry – the steam emanating from the salt works is always dramatic. Signs on the road warn of the danger of thick vapour reducing visibility πŸ™‚

It was a lovely morning with a classic October combination of warmth in the sun and chill in the shade – can’t ask for more.

We were soon at the boat lift and this time enjoyed the full experience of seeing the opposite caisson descending while we ascended.

We stopped at the service point at Anderton and offloaded some rubbish and the dogs had a little pitstop. The towpath and surroundings are very well-maintained here – mainly, I suspect, because the boat lift is such a draw for visitors.

Having eaten so well yesterday we had something of a food dilemma – I had plenty of calories on board, but nothing that would make a coherent lunch (though we had eaten a very good breakfast). But we weren’t that far from Middlewich so we adults thought we’d hold out for a late lunch at Big Lock. Alfie looked a bit alarmed by this, so I did manage to find him a decent meal out of the available ingredients πŸ™‚

The deep locks are a shock after a long day of lock-free cruising!

The deep locks are a shock after a long day of lock-free cruising!

We stopped off at the Lyons Salt Museum but were disappointed to find that it was closed for renovation. We must stop there when it’s open – the history of this area is fascinating.

It always takes us longer to get to Middlewich than we anticipate – the Trent and Mersey is so lovely. We were just in time for a late lunch at Big Lock, where we were made welcome in our usual dog-friendly snug.

It was gone 4pm by the time we’d eaten – Steve and family were keen to head off for the long drive back to Surrey. In the meantime, we needed to find a week’s mooring spot for Indigo Dream. We cruised up through the remaining locks to the junction with the Middlewich Branch. We’d spotted a private end-of-garden mooring and wanted to try it out – it had potential for the winter, though we had some concerns because the water was shallow and the boat might be vulnerable to being bashed by traffic around the junction. It was running late though, and were happy to try it out for a week.

We got the boat settled, though her bow was sticking out some way because of the shallow water. The mooring’s owner promised to try some hand-dredging while we were away and assured us that she would be fine for the winter – hmmm. It was too late to move, so we paid for a week’s mooring and packed up to go. I was rushing to get away as we needed to pick Ty up this evening. I couldn’t understand why Richard wasn’t feeling the urgency – until he realised that his watch was wrong and it was at least an hour later than he thought πŸ˜›

We had a reasonable drive home, but it’s a long way and we didn’t get to Simon and Carrie’s until very late – fortunately they were very gracious about it. Ty had been looked after magnificently. Carrie and Simon had been generous enough to turn their house and, in fact, their entire lives, over to the care of Ty – he obviously approved of this! We were so very grateful for their kindness and consideration.

2015 Note: Poor little Arun recently lost her battle with age and illness but, having become an Indigo Dreamer on this trip, I hope that she’s cruising beneath the rainbow bridge with Blue, Lou, Lynx and the many others waiting there for us.

Our temporary mooring spot...

Our temporary mooring spot…


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