|The meeting of the waters...Croxton Aqueduct in September 2012|
Throughout the year the weather in Britain has been, to put it mildly, somewhat extreme. The early part of the year saw an unseasonal heatwave, leading to hopes of a pleasant warm summer.
Instead we had a traditional British summer with more rain than sunshine (although Middlewich's annual events and festivals were lucky and escaped almost unscathed).
Towards the end of the summer rainfall records had begun to tumble and talk was of 'the wettest September for a hundred years'.
On the 21st of the month the BBC was forecasting that parts of the North-West, including Cheshire could expect 'two weeks worth of rain in twenty-four hours'.
Locally, one sign that the amount of rainfall, even by Cheshire standards, was becoming exceptional, was, as noted here by Bill Eaton, when the Trent & Mersey Canal was breached near to Croxton Aqueduct (though things were even worse near the top end of the canal where it joins the Bridgwater near Preston Brook - a massive breach in the bank there caused massive flooding and meant that the entire section of the Trent & Mersey between the Big Lock and Dutton Stop lock was out of action and many boats were left marooned.
The Canal and River Trust, successor in England to British Waterways, immediately put out an appeal for funds to repair this massive damage to the local waterway infrastructure).
Observing that something truly out of the ordinary was happening, Bill Eaton took a walk down to Croxton Lane and took the above photograph.
Here's his report to go with it:
'I had a walk down to the canal to see the floods. Bullock's Meadow and the Flint Mill were well under water. This was caused by the aqueduct bridge (where the canal narrows to half its normal width) being unable to cope with the amount of water flowing into it.
The aqueduct was closed off when the canal breached its bank.
To make things even worse, at the point where the Rivers Dane and Wheelock meet the water had backed up to make one mass of water from both sides of Chester Road back to the aqueduct.' - BILL EATON
UPDATE (NOV 27th): As November drew to a close, the work to repair the breach at Croxton was nearing completion, although the bad weather continued, with severe flooding in many parts of the country.
TOWPATH TALK REPORT ON THE CROXTON REPAIRS