Friday, 9 October 2009

Anderton Boat Lift

Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. This summer we've been through the Standedge Tunnel and down the Liverpool Link but we decided to give this third 'wonder of the waterways' a miss. After all, you've got to have something to look forward to!
We decided instead just to moor up and visit the Visitors' Centre. Unfortunately, by the time we'd watched a boat go down the lift, the Centre was closing up - it was the unearthly hour of 4pm after all - and we were shoo-ed out by one of the staff.
The Lift itself is a monumental piece of work - the first of its kind in the world. It has two large tanks (caissons, they're called - a suspiciously French sounding word for an English invention). One's at the top; the other at the bottom. A boat enters, the tank is sealed and a hydraulic ram pushes the tank up while the counter-balancing ram lowers the other one down.
It's fiendishly clever and raises or lowers craft with smooth ease between the Trent & Mersey Canal above and the River Weaver 50ft below. Next time we'll definitely try it.

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