Charging for using Anderton Boat Lift

Published: Thursday, 09 July 2020

THERE has been much recent discussion about CaRT's recent decision to make a charge, or is it to render a fee for using the Anderton Lift to travel from the Trent & Mersey Canal to the Weaver, and vice versa, writes Roger Fox.

AndertonTicketIt seems that a relatively recent court ruling outlawed such a charge as boaters have already paid to use the lift as part of their annual licence.

A different story

I have a different story to tell. Forty years ago I paid to go on the lift and I still have the ticket to prove it  It is framed and displayed on our current boat.  As I cannot get to the boat at the moment I asked a friend to take a photo of it to accompany this piece. Apologies for the flash reflection.

My wife and I started boating in 1980 as complete novices. We bought our boat 'Autolycus' from Davison Brothers at Sawley, guided by the then very young Andy Burnett, fitted it out over the winter in London, and set off for the North in the spring of 1981.

To see as much as possible

We were keen to see as much as possible of the industrial archaeology of the canal system and one of our target sights was Anderton Lift.  We planned our trip for a Saturday and what a Saturday it turned out to be.  Persistent rain in the early morning. Just what you need for this sort of adventure. 

We arrived at the lift, sounded the horn and a couple of men came out of the operating cabin took our money for the return trip and explained what to do.  Looking back, the charge of £8.50 including VAT at 15% was quite a lot of money and at today’s prices is about £29.50. We would all shout very loudly if CaRT tried to charge us that!

Upstream to Northwich

We went down the Lift without incident and upstream to Northwich, moored and went off to see the town. I remember not a lot except for the skeleton of an incomplete large cinema which looked as if it might have been abandoned at the start of WW2. The Lift closed at 1 o’clock so we made our return trip just in time for the men to sign off. 

Does anyone else remember paying for the lift. I cannot be the only remaining boater to have done this trip on the British Waterways unrestored lift. I wonder whether the charge was a final hangover from the carrying days when tolls were charged?