Here we go again, once more on the boat and cruising the inland waterways of England and Wales. I have no specific plans, I’m thinking it might be good to go into Liverpool and then up the Lancaster Canal. But first I’m biding my time around the Llangollen area as I am flying back to Ottawa in June for my son Robbie’s university convocation! So proud of him, he’s graduating with an Honours Biology degree (with Health Sciences). Just had to one-up me! Well, two-up.

While waiting for that, I dropped down off the Llangollen into Nantwich to visit my good friends Phil and Angela. It was great to have a catch-up. I also observed the coronation of the king, it was interesting to see the various degrees that people either celebrated it or didn’t. I had an appointment in the town, so dropped into the church to use up some spare time and watched part of the coronation in the most British way! They had TVs on, and some displays. Interesting way to view the event!

I also took time to do some work on the boat. The main thing was to get rid of the carpet. I’ve always hated it, it’s hard to keep clean and produces so much dust. Settled on a laminate (I thought I was getting vinyl but this is great). So easy to keep clean…

One of the things I almost did last season was to go down the Anderton Boat Lift to the River Weaver. As it turned out, it was probably good that I didn’t, as it broke down for many weeks and they eventually had to evacuate the narrowboats via the Manchester Ship Canal in a flotilla. It was quite an operation, narrowboats don’t often travel on the ship canal due to very large, ocean-going ships frequenting it!

I figured that this year was a good chance to check it out. Victorian engineering is simply amazing. Built in 1875, it’s a two-caisson lift lock, used to move boats on and off the River Weaver, 50 feet below the Trent and Mersey Canal. It used water-based hydraulic rams until 1906 before corrosion caused its closure.

A redesign added large support pillars and electric motors atop the structure, with the hydraulic rams being removed. This worked well until 1983 when a counterweight caught on something and caused a caisson to drop suddenly, then the other one did too. The lift was closed until a huge effort in 2000 resulted in it being rebuilt and reopened in 2002. They returned it to a hydraulic system, this time with modern rams and fluids. It’s simply an amazing experience. The following video is pretty large (might take a while to load) and is partly sped up, partly real-time.

While spending some quiet time on the river, I had a fantastic visit with Guy. He drove halfway across England to spend a couple of days visiting and cruising around. It was particularly handy that I was moored right near a pub! Despite having fitted out his own boat and spending many years cruising much of the system, he hadn’t been on the boat lift before so we did an up and down trip just for the experience.

13 Replies to “Back in the UK”

  1. Great that you’re back Doug; let us know if you’re headed back towards Llangollen or Whitchurch we might be able to meet up.. Congratulations to your Son too; lovely to have that to look forward to in between your adventures!
    We hope to catch you soon; all is well here in The Shire; and I enjoyed Llangollen 10k again a few weeks ago; love that stretch of the canal!!
    Take care, Genette James & Suzie

    1. Thanks! Hi to all… Congratulations on the run, what a great place to do it.

  2. Nice weather for once Doug! Boat lift amazing. Sat at the bottom with Sarah and Anthony and watched fascinated for a few ups and downs. Must have been a great trip to do. Take care see you soon I hope. Wendy and family xxx

  3. Here Mai/welcome back to the UK Doug. What a wonderful life you lead, sounds idyllic.

    We’ve just returned from six months in Aotearoa/New Zealand, back to Areandare at Tattenhall Marina. Who knows, maybe this year we’ll spot each other and say kia ora/hi! We’ll be cruising slowly towards Chester and hanging out around there for the foreseeable future so do give us a blast on the horn if you pass by πŸ˜‰

    1. Welcome back! Liked like a great time down there… It’s possible I’ll be going through Chester by July, going to look into going across the Mersey to Liverpool. I’ll watch for you!

  4. Aaaah, the Anderton Lift. We visited it in the pouring rain after leaving Chester two years ago. It’s a good thing we went when we did, as they closed it shortly after because of the rising water on the Weaver River. We had another close call further on as we went through a tunnel with only two inches to spare on their measurement guide. Happy travels, Doug, and we might see you on the Cut! Probably not this year, however, as we’re heading North. My youngest daughter (singer/songwriter) is doing an England/Scotland tour in June and we hope to meet up in Lincoln. Cheers,
    Hilary and Sandy

    1. I escaped the Weaver with only one delay (lock closed for a day). It’s getting sketchy going down there! Loved the river though… Have a great trip north!

  5. Glad to hear you’re back to your summer happy place! The adventures have begun! Enjoy, cousin!

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