I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Tuesday 4th October

A lovely peaceful night. There was only one other boat above Vale Royal Locks with us. I was asking the lock keeper as we went down how many boats actually go through the lock and use the top part of the river and he said that not many do. Most go as far as the lock and then turn round – what a waste to go so far but not carry on and see how lovely it is. Hunt’s Locks were busy with three narrow boats in the small lock! We stopped in Northwich to make our final foray to the Co-op – this time we found a short cut, pity we didn’t find it before! As we returned to Mary H after our shopping trip the town swing bridge started to open as a large barge was waiting to go through. After lunch we set off back down towards the Anderton Lift but this time we went past and headed downstream. Once we passed the grotty industrial part of the river we moved into some lovely countryside. Saltersford Locks were next followed by Dutton Locks. Both these locks use their large lock for everyday use as the smaller ones are no longer working. In the 1980s as many as two ships a day were using the river to go up to the chemical works so the large locks were electrified and as the number of working narrow boats demised on the River the smaller locks were allowed to deteriorate. Up until 1999 there were still two ships a week using the river. Below Dutton Locks is the Dutton railway viaduct, which was built by Joseph Locke and George Stephenson for the Grand Junction Railway. A civic celebration was held on its completion, as there had been no deaths or serious injuries to the workers during its construction. The viaduct is now grade II listed. The landscape after Dutton Locks became more wooded but with the sun shining through it was beautiful. Our destination for the day was the Devil’s Garden. We weren’t too sure why it is so called but one of the lock keepers told me that it’s so called as the plants from boats mysteriously disappear! However she also added that there are some hungry cows living in the field where the boats moor! Millie thought that the spot was wonderful and played in the field leaping over thistles and being a kitten again :-)

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