Following on from yesterday's blog post, Trustee John Dodwell gives an evocative account of his cruise on the Weaver.
We went down the Boat Lift the following morning at about 10, turned left and went shopping in Northwich – there’s now a new Waitrose beside the water. Then we went downstream through Saltersford and Dutton locks to meet my sister’s family at the recently refurbished Sutton Weaver Swing Bridge (we went back upstream a bit to get away from the noise and gave her supper on board).
Many people don’t realise that the Trust has inherited the 1920s River Weaver Trustees’ agreement with the local council that the Trust should maintain the Weaver swing bridges. Fortunately, this is only to a standard suitable for the road traffic of the 1920s. So you can imagine the kerfuffle when the Council said Sutton Weaver Swing Bridge should be repaired wholly at the cost of the Trust.
The eventual compromise left the Council paying the majority of the bill. Runcorn Rowing Club uses the River hereabouts and we saw them out the following morning..
The Weaver’s a beautiful river and I’d recommend it to anyone. True, it’s got its industrial parts around Anderton and Runcorn and there’s the salt mine outside Winsford. But see the photos on the right for sections around Dutton and Vale Royal.
There are four large locks (almost two groups of two), all with keepers and they ring ahead to let their colleague know you are coming.
The whole River is only about 20 miles long and as it’s deep, you can, if you wish, go the whole length in a day. But, hey, why rush? And we saw a number of boats taking their time. Being a river, mooring is not like the canals where you can moor anywhere but there are designated visitor moorings (see photo right). But don’t feel obliged to use them. We spent one night with the bow tied to a tree and the anchor off the stern. In the past, I’ve anchored in the middle of Winsford Bottom Flash.
Talking of which, the official navigation ends at the old Winsford Bridge (not the more recent one) and so the Trust is not responsible for what happens upstream and this includes the Flash itself.
I can’t make any recommendation, as they say – only note that if you are careful and go slowly, you can get beyond the silt bar at the bottom end of the Flash and into the area where the dinghy club sails – with their deep centreboards down. Just note their marker buoys and stay within them – and keep out of their way when the dinghies are being sailed. This time we found it better when entering the Flash to veer over to the left nearer to the moored boats.
We ended coming down the River from Winsford on a glorious day, leaving HELEN in the old Yarwoods yard at Northwich before returning home after 5 days on the boat.
John Dodwell is one of our 10 volunteer trustees, who carry responsibility for the charity’s policies and strategies. He owns Helen, a 51ft old BCN tug/icebreaker which draws 3ft and is based near Stourbridge, West Midlands. His waterways interest goes back to the early 1960s.
John’s been involved in the waterways since the early 1960s and he enjoys all aspects of the waterways. To pick out one oddity, he was pleased and surprised to see about a dozen herons this June around the BCN Main Line, including two under the M6 motorway!See more blogs from John Dodwell