We were going to travel to the other end of the Weaver today. Back through Dutton and Saltersford Locks, this time my calls on VHF 74 were responded to immediately, with a request to hold back for a few minutes whilst the lock was emptied and subsequently I was informed that lock was ready to receive us.
We passed the Anderton Lift allowing a photo opportunity to capture the side view, before passing under the two black and white swing bridges in the centre of Northwich.
Two more locks followed. Hunts Lock is still manually operated, we entered the smaller of the locks, the gates being opened and closed by the two lock keepers working together on a big windlass. At Vale Royal Lock a water powered turbine generally manages to open and close the gates, an impressive piece of Victorian engineering. All of the Lock Keepers were very helpful and ready to impart the history of the locks and the river.
We continued past this tall structure, not realising at the time that it was the head of The Salt Union mine shaft. The shaft goes down over 600ft where motorway sized roadways and the biggest bull-dozers that Caterpillar make, allow the extraction of tons of rock salt, the very salt that keep the roads of Britain passable when the temperature drops below zero degs.
A few more turns and the river became too narrow to turn around, but suddenly it opened up into a wide expanse, ‘The Bottom Flash’ too shallow for SKYY, but sailing boats and jets skis were enjoying the perfect conditions. We turned SKYY at the beginning of the flash and headed back, stopping for the night just before Vale Royal Lock.