An Adventurous Cruise

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Only the telly and slippers to look forward to.....?

Only the telly and slippers to look forward to? Feeling middle aged or more? Feeling that life's adventures are behind you? Then buy a boat and join a cruising Club (preferably the NCCC) and life will never be the same again. Barry and I did both in 1993 and we have ‘enjoyed’ a great variety of interesting times, most of them pleasant, some frustrating and one really memorable one.

The Commodore's Cruise 1993. The Commodore, Dr. Noel Christopher.

Cruise boats assembled in Castlefield.

The Itinerary:- Down the Ashton Canal to Castlefields, onto the Manchester Ship Canal to theRiver Weaver calling at Acton Bridge B.C., Cruise the Weaver to the head of navigation then down to Ellesmere Port. Ellesmere Port to Chester, through the Dee locks, over the weir at Chester following the Dee as far as was navigable for our boats. Chester to Wolverhampton B.C. via the Shropshire Union Canal, returning home via the Staffs and Worcestershire Canal calling at the Stafford B.C., onto Great Haywood and home.

Club boats on the Irwell in Manchester.

The company was excellent, the weather good and all was going smoothly until we emerged from the Dee Locks Branch onto the tidal section of the River Dee. BW control this lock and they sent us through the lock a little too early, so when the leading boats reached the weir the tide was not quite high enough, consequently one of the boats became caught on the weir. This caused great consternation and much milling around whilst we gathered our thoughts and decided what to do. Various boats went to the rescue and as the tide rose the boat which was stuck became free. Unfortunately one of the rescue boats then became stuck (her draft proved to be too deep for this tide but we didn't realize this).

 

     

On the River Weaver.

We moored on the quayside in Chester and plans where made to pull Gertie of at the next and higher tide (3-30am); a long worrying afternoon and evening followed, discussing and planning what to do. The plan finally decided upon was to rope Gertie to the three most powerful boats (We will get her off!) and with the aid of what would be the highest tide of the year, off she will come. The other slight problem was the speed of the flow of the tide (fast) and the large lumps of debris which would be swept along in the flow, and the pleasure steamers and rowing boats which were moored overnight in midstream, directly in the path of the rescue mission. The plan was to cut the ropes as soon as Gertie came off the weir and all boats to disperse as best they could, avoiding each other and the moored craft.

Gertie stuck awaiting rescue.

Meanwhile, from the moment we got into difficulties word quickly spread around Chester and a large crowd had gathered at the quayside, on the bridge, on the far bank, even buses slowing to watch the spectacle. At the peak of our worry and concern an official from the council came for the fees for the pleasure of being on this particular stretch of the Dee.

We managed to be good humoured and polite and sailed him across to collect Gertie's money. We did comment that the council should be paying us for the entertainment we provide for Chester that afternoon.

Now what do we do? Boats stuck on the weir.

After all the worry and planning the rescue went like a dream, Gertie was pulled off, boats got out of Gertie's way as she shot upriver gently clipping the small craft moored midstream as she went (no damage). When we all had safely moored and a much needed nightcap consumed we retired to bed. The next day dawned bright and sunny and we continued our cruise up the Dee, going as far as our craft could go before returning, through the Watergate, down to the lock and back onto the canal system, safe, to resume our cruise.

P.S. Going through the Watergate is not without incident, but that’s another tale.

Barry and Margaret Stanton (‘Joy’).

 

 

 

 

All ‘safe’ on the River Dee.  

                 

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This page was last updated 28 February, 2005                                                              Visits Since February 2004: