Stretford Marina (Manchester) to Nantwich
( Bridgewater Canal, Trent Mersey Canal and Shropshire Union Canal)
£1250pp (£2500 per charter)
Trip 14 – 6th to 13th August (7 nights)
Stretford Marina (Manchester Bridgewater Canal) to Nantwich (Shropshire Union Canal)
Total distance is 51 miles and 9 locks.
After a few days restocking the boat and larking around in Manchester, Ellis will be all set to head off to Llangollen for the end of the season. Our first leg of this trip takes us from Manchester to Nantwich.
We’ll expect our guests to arrive about 1.30pm on day 1 and after an introductory blah blah (and most probably a glass of something fizzy) we’ll chug off and aim to tie up for the night somewhere around Sale. There are a few pubs guests can walk back to if they like or take it easy onboard.
Next morning (after a simple DIY breakfast), we’ll cast off and head off to make our way towards Lymm (tonight’s planned stop) – lunch will probably be around Little Bollington as we’ll aim to get to Lymm early afternoon if we’ve to stand a chance of getting moored in the ‘main bit’. It’s not the end of the world if we don’t as there are winding holes either side of the town so worst case, we can always turn around twice! Lymm Is a lovely little place – numerous pubs worth a visit and a pretty place to walk around.
Day 3 is a pleasant chug through Grappenhall and with lunch a stop planned for Stockton Heath (ish). The intention today will be to get through Preston Brook tunnel which operates a 1 way access policy permitting entrance Southbound (which we’re going) on the ½ hour for 10 mins. We’ll aim to moor up where we can after Dutton stop Lock.
On our 4th full day, we’ll be meandering along the Trent and Mersey canal (which is shallower and therefore slower than the former Bridgewater). 2 tunnels lay ahead of us today – Saltersford (once again entry permitted ½ past the hour for 10 mins) and Barton - which OUGHT to be timed but isn’t so it’s a case of 1st come 1st served… you can lose an hour here easily planning chicken!
Depending on how much time Barton Tunnel has taken and the availability of moorings, we might try and moor at Anderton for the night – this will allow our guests to take in the Boat lift visitor centre or even have a ride on the lift on their trip boat. Sometimes we go down and up for the fun of it but we’ll have to see how things are going before making a decision.
Next day (depending on where we’ve ended up moored) we’ll be topping up with water (another possible wait given the time of year) and then heading onwards. Today We’ll pass Lion Salt Works which may be of interest (I’ve had a look around and would recommend it). Today we’ll aim to get to (or just past) Middlewhich. Once again, given the time of year it’ll be busy - probably encountering hirers fresh from the base on the Middlewich lock flight!
Day 6 sees us chugging along the much underrated Middlewich branch of the Shropshire Union. We’ll pass by the site of the major breach which closed the canal for what felt like an eternity. We’ll aim to tie up for the night at Church Minshull – where we can watch the sun go down over the lovely view (trying to ignore the scraping noise from the famous ‘Shroppie shelf’).
Our Final day’s travel involves Church minshull lock and then the 2nd busiest lock on the system Cholmondeston (near Venation Marina – where we’ll probably have stopped for services). We then turn left at Barbridge onto the main Shropshire Union Canal. We’ll chug into Nantwich where this trip will end. It’s a popular place to moor so we could have to take Hobson’s choice. The plan will be to have arrived shortly after lunch so folks can have a wander into town before dinner. This trip ends here and guests will depart following breakfast the next morning.*
*NB – it’s quite a long walk to the Nantwich train station from the most places we can moor on the canal so it would be wise to arrange a taxi once we’re moored up in readiness for the following morning as Nantwich isn’t blessed with many.