Abseilers will be in action carrying out an aerial inspection of the ‘Cathedral of the Canals’ – Anderton Boat Lift, a scheduled ancient monument near Northwich.
The 80 foot tall structure dates from 1875 and lifts canals boats 50 feet between the River Weaver and the Trent & Mersey Canal. It was fully restored to working order in 2002 in a £7 million project.
The inspection of the Lift is part of the structure’s ‘MOT’ to ensure that it is kept in good working order. The specialist abseiling team has been brought in as they are the most efficient way to check for corrosion or any other defects.
The inspection team are expected to take a week as they painstakingly check every inch of the structure to ensure its structural integrity.
As part of the 2002 restoration work, a visitor centre was opened, with a trip boat able to offer tourists the experience of travelling through the boat lift.
Engineer Lee Bradley said: “Anderton Boat Lift enjoys the title ‘Cathedral of the canals’ because it is such a majestic building. It is a cat’s cradle of steel and iron dating back to 1875 and needs to be examined closely as part of the inspection.
“The abseilers are experts in their field and able to access every nook and crevice that needs to be examined. It is not an easy job and you need a head for heights, but one that enables us to carry out the inspection with the minimum disruption.
“The alternative would be to swathe the structure in scaffolding, but this would mean the boat lift would have to be closed with the ensuing inconvenience this would cause to boaters and our own trip boats.”