Today I went on the “Top of the World Tour” at the Anderton Boat Lift. I’ve boated up and down the lift countless times so when I saw on Facebook they were doing the tours again, I just had to do it.
For anyone unfamiliar with the Anderton Boat Lift, here’s a very brief and simplified history.
The Lift was built in 1875 to carry cargo boats from the River Weaver Navigation to the Trent and Mersey Canal some 50ft above. It became derelict in the 80’s and after extensive restoration (and 7 million pounds later) was re-opened in 2002. Canal and River Trust now operate the lift along with a free visitor centre and cafe. The Edwin Clark trip boat runs most days, both up/down the lift and along the Weaver into Northwich. See the Lift’s website for more information.
The “Top of the World” tours have been going for around 4 years now. They cost £10 and last about an hour. A head for heights is certainly preferred! We met our tour guide Michael in the Visitor Centre where he gave us high-vis jackets and an earpiece so we could hear his commentary whilst walking around the structure.
The tour takes you along the aqueduct and then to the front of the Lift, where Michael says is the “titanic moment”. Singing was encouraged but climbing the handrails is not! We then contoured back along the lift then up to the old winch and control room (the white, wooden shed). Ascending two flights of stairs took us to the very top to see the original pulleys. The tour concluded back in the visitor centre after looking at the current control room.
The tour was very informative and a great experience, and a bargain for just £10. I would highly recommend it. If anything, it’s made me appreciate what a privilege it is to be able to boat up and down such an important, historical feat of engineering. Many thanks to CRT for making them possible and our volunteer tour guide Michael!