We pulled pins at 08.40 and started a wet cruise towards Anderton. Just after Broken Cross the Trent and Mersey canal goes straight through the middle of the TATA chemical plant. Formerly known as Brunner, Mond and Company, it was originally founded in 1873 and was a major constituent of Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) when it formed in 1926. It was divested from ICI in 1991 and was acquired by Tata Chemicals in 2006.
Luckily Carolyn and Curly were inside because the smell of Ammonia was so over powering . I don’t remember it being that bad the last time we passed through here and funnily enough it was mentioned by other boaters on social media who had complained to Canal and River Trust and the Environment agency.
After a wet but enjoyable cruise of just over 2 hours we arrived at The Anderton Boat Lift . With the holding moorings being empty I held Inca there while Carolyn booked us in for our passage down on to the River Weaver.
Built in 1875 the concept of the boat lift is simple: two huge water tanks (caissons), each with watertight sealable doors, carry boats up and down. The original counter-balanced system was replaced in 1908 by electric operation, but the lift now works hydraulically again.
The one thing That I promised Curly this Summer was that I would take her on The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and then on The Anderton Boat lift. Just like on the Aqueduct she saw no fear and enjoyed every minute of Boat lift.
After a bit of waiting we eventually got into the caisson where we were told to secure our stern to the hooks on the side. The door behind us closed and we were ready to go. The lift worked until 1983 when serious deterioration of the structure was discovered. Some £7m was raised to fund the restoration, which was completed in 2002.
As we started to descend the caisson started shaking. We asked the operator what was going on . He told us that both caissons used to shake like that ,but now only the right hand one which we were in shakes. Anyway it all added to the fun of it.
There we are at the bottom, and there we stayed at the bottom . For some reason the door to allow us out wouldn’t open ,we could see it trying to operate but it just would not go up. We were told that it’s all computer operated and the lift regularly fails,It seems that modern the technology has problems getting this historic structure to do what it’s told.
After a good ride down on the lift we managed to pick up one of the new visitor pontoon moorings which have recently been installed. With the Sun now trying to burst through the clouds we will spend the rest of the day chilling here.