Greetings from Scandinavia!
I think I’m in meltdown, or overload, or whatever describes altogether too much fun and information tossed in together. I’ve just come from three FANtastic days in Copenhagen, followed by a seven day cruise that visited Talinn, Estonia, which was FANtastic, three days in St. Petersburg, also FANtastic, and a day in Helsinki, even more FANtastic, and now I’m in Stockholm. You guessed it; it’s FANtastic. So I’m thinking I’d better tell you all about the rest of the canal boat trip–namely, the Anderton Boat Lift–before my head explodes.
I had been given quite a build-up to the lift by my fellow passengers, Rod and Dick, who both had been on it previously. Rod, in particular, kept telling me how it would blow my mind. I was assured and reassured that it would be FANtastic. And, eventually, it was.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Anderton boat lift, I should explain that it is a fifty-foot high lift between a canal and a river. The River Weaver, to be precise. It represents a remarkable convergence, not only of the river and the canal, but also a convergence of a very old, and simple form of transport (originally the narrowboats were pulled by horses from the tow path alongside the canal), a slightly more modern and amazing engineering feat, and some quite modern technology. Ironically, it was the modern technology which let us down (so to speak). We were delayed in our journey by a day because the computer was not working…
The two narrowboats (of Snipe and Taurus) were tethered alongside each other so as to go through the lift side by side. We entered what was rather like a very short aquaduct which enabled us to move out onto (into?) the actual lift. Once there, we were in what was essentially a huge trough of water suspended by an enormous superstructure.
It was an elevator, actually. We were about to drop straight down, from the canal to the river, fifty feet below.
At the same time, another boat was down below, in the river, about to rise to the canal level. I gather it used to operate only on a hydraulic basis, with one rising while the other dropped (which is what we were doing), but nowadays it is possible for one to go down (or up) without the opposite action required.
So much for my engineering knowledge. Unfortunately, on the day we were supposed to go through the lift, the computer was acting up. Imagine that. Anyway, we were delayed until the next day, but eventually managed to make the trip. It was amazing. Did I mention it was FANtastic?
I’m not very competent to describe things of a technical nature, so for a better explanation of what is actually happening, and some history of the the lift, check out the following links: Anderton Boat Lift, or the Wikipedia site.
For those of you who enjoy traveling in the slow lane, and don’t mind things being a bit squeezy, I heartily recommend a narrowboat cruise with Snipe and Taurus on England’s canals. MM