To Dutton on the Trent and Mersey (April 25)

The morning began showery. We left Lymm to pick up diesel and have a pump out at the excellent Thorn Marine at Stockton Heath. Their business appears to be under threat from Peel Holdings who own the Bridgewater Canal and wish to develop the site for housing. The pump out equipment was unusual since it was mounted in a supermarket shopping trolley that had been recovered from the canal.

What a great use of a shopping trolley!
(Pump out equipment at Thorn Marina)

Whilst waiting for the water tank to fill a boat passed playing loud Latin-American music with the steerer dressed in a poncho. Well you occasionally see some amusing sights on the waterways. However, this was followed by several other boats with the crews wearing ponchos and sombreros. We found out that they were members of the Bridgewater Motor Boat Club, who moor on the Runcorn Arm. They were on a themed cruise to Oughtrington. Several of the crews, both men and women, sported Zapato-style moustaches. They were having fun!

We had lunch at Moore and the weather began to improve. As we approached Preston Brook tunnel we found a boat had broken away from its moorings and was blocking the navigation. All three mooring pins had pulled out. It was not surprising really given the speed that some boats pass moored boats on the Bridgewater. Maggie got on board the boat, and with the help from crew from another boat, we got the boat moored up again. On board was a lurcher and longhaired cat.

After the tunnel, we had glorious sunshine and great views. We decided to moor up by Dutton and try to get a mooring with a view of the Weaver Valley. We succeeded well by mooring where we where we could see Dutton Lock on the Weaver, the railway viaduct across the river, and Acton Bridge. We took a walk down to Dutton Lock and found to our surprise that the large lock was full of boats, six abreast. It was another boat club cruise. The lock contained 18 boats from the Acton Bridge Cruising Club on their commodore’s cruise. We had a good chat with the crews who even invited us to join their evening karaoke. (We didn’t go.)

Acton Bridge Cruising Club filling Dutton Lock, River Weaver

We then walked back from the lock along a bridleway and along a footpath that took us through a bluebell wood that looked wonderful in the early evening sun. We also heard a cuckoo. What a great mooring, particularly in such lovely weather.

Footbridge near Dutton Lock, River Weaver

Long-horn cattle near Dutton Lock

Bluebells near Dutton Lock

Sluices near Dutton Lock, River Weaver