15th to 25th June 2012
In this extended blog we set out for two festivals over two weekends, we go on one of the oldest working boat lifts in the world, Anderton Boat Lift, and Python returns to where she was built 83 Years ago – Yarwoods.
The reason for this week’s extended blog is because of all the wonderful sites Python’s visited over the week and four days, including some great photos.
So after the rather wet and exciting day of getting to Middlewich, going through the mile and a half long Harecastle Tunnel, I was excited about what lay ahead. It was the first Folk and Boat festival in Middlewich with historic boats stopping on route to the River Weaver so Python joined in. Moored above King’s Lock, we were slightly away from the main festivities that go along with a festival like marquees selling and promoting, the live music and the one I missed the most… the Ice Cream Van!
However I didn’t let the pouring rain stop Python joining in. I put out the long banner showing a map of the Chesterfield Canal with the sub heading which I can’t get out of my head – “46 Miles & 66 Locks with the 8 miles left to close the gap” – along with the new A-frame with a Festival Poster tacked onto it. I managed to get this photo once Eddie and I had arrived (while it was still sunny!)
Even though it was near a busy road I met quite a few people and talked about the map, handed out Visitor Guides and talked mostly to fellow boaters. The town was excellent and by Sunday the whole community was into the Festival spirit.
We moved off on Tuesday afternoon heading for Marston so that we could get a bit closer to the Anderton Boat Lift for Wednesday. Along the way we spotted some brilliant wildlife; this continued the day after up until we got to Anderton. So for you twitchers:
After enjoying the best the canal has to offer, we arrived at our lift down to the River Weaver – the Anderton Boat Lift.
As you can see the weather improved for our trip up the river. But check out the lift.
Hydraulic rams powered by steam were used when the Anderton Boat Lift was originally built, but eventually the rams deteriorated and the winding gear, cables and counterweights were installed. Today after its most recent restoration, it’s been converted back to using hydraulic rams and even though it looks as if each lift counters each other, they can be operated individually. However it’s still efficient to run them together!
Eventually we arrived back in Northwich on the River Weaver and after a short wait we were sardined into our mooring.
Because we were like biscuits in a packet (as the harbourmaster put it), we couldn’t get out onto the flotilla (yet we got a mention in the running commentary) however we were at the front of the moored boats as you can see and were right in front of the public entrance to the site.
We didn’t stop there though … Python went mobile. We managed to get booked in to set up the gazebo and publicise the Trust just like the Trust’s James Brindley publicity trailer.
Jan and David came down on Saturday to help us out.
Have you noticed the bags we used as weights to keep the gazebo from blowing away?
Also this was the chance that Python had to return to where it was originally built – Yarwoods Marina on the River Weaver just 83 years ago!
I really enjoyed myself over the weekend with loads of live music and a great friendly atmosphere between boaters, but it unfortunately it ended and by Monday it was time for Eddie and I to head back for the Anderton Boat Lift. However as we pulled out of the moorings we were met by the James Brindley and a BW tug trying to pull the loaded barge off its moorings where it had stayed during the festival weekend. We managed to duck behind it before waiting for our lift back up to the canal.
On our way up.
Overall then, Python’s almost halfway round its trip this year. It has met loads of people and become well known around the waterways, not just by boaters, but by people using the towpaths and people that live in the towns we’ve visited. People all weekend have asked “Where’s the Chesterfield Canal” and Python has provided the crew and material to answer. Hopefully more and more people will be drawn not just to the Chesterfield Canal, but to all the Inland Waterways. Unfortunately Python won’t be on it’s home turf for our own Festival weekend but I’m certain her crew and volunteers will be around. Python appears in the 2013 Chesterfield Canal Calendar.
What’s next for Python? It’s heading to Ellesmere Port, before heading south again to Audlem for the transport festival where we hope to see you.