The two recent breaches on the Trent & Mersey Canal, north of Middlewich, left many boats stranded and unable to return to their home moorings before the winter set in. However, IWA's Chester & District Branch committee member, Mike Carter, has come to the rescue. With his extensive knowledge of navigating the Manchester Ship Canal as well as leading recent cruises across the Mersey, Mike formulated an 'escape plan', leading convoys down the Anderton Lift, and onto the river Weaver towards the Manchester Ship Canal. Following surveys to ensure seaworthiness, the boats then breasted up and were escorted down the Ship Canal towards Ellesmere Port.
This cruise is not for the faint hearted as some significant shipping still uses the Ship Canal, which can cause waves and drag on smaller craft trying to keep out of the way. However, the first 'escapees' landed safely at the National Waterways Museum on 17th October. Two more flotillas are taking craft from Anderton to Ellesmere Port and another will be taking craft in the reverse direction. A great example of mutual co-operation between IWA, Canal & River Trust and the Manhester Ship Canal Company - and utilising the specialist knowledge of a keen IWA volunteer.
See more photos of the convoy