Sunday, 4 September 2011

Great excitement! – quite by “Chance”

On Saturday we walked from the marina into Worsley.  We particularly wanted to see the “Delph” – the access point to the 40 or so miles of underground canals which allowed the coal to be brought to the surface from the mines.


The “Delph” showing the access tunnel to the mines.


The Courthouse, Worsley. 

Today we set off from the marina for the two hour journey back to Manchester.  Heading towards the famous Barton Swing Bridge over the Manchester Ship Canal we rounded the corner to find the bridge sealed and ready to swing!  Great excitement – we never dreamt we would actually see this fantastic feat of engineering in action.  After mooring up we went to see the ‘man in charge’ who very kindly allowed us to access the bridge area at the Bridgewater canal level and also to go down to the Manchester Ship Canal level. 


The bridge just starting to swing to the right.  The operator is standing on the edge of the canal sealing gate.


Down at MSC level – the bridge caisson (full of water) has swung round through 90 degrees.  The road bridge, which also has to be swung, is on the far right.


Looking up to see the sealing gate holding in all the water of the Bridgewater canal (right back to Wigan!)  Not a drip of water.


Canal bridge and road bridge swung and ready for the ferry to pass. Good job as well as the ferry wasn’t going to stop!


The Manchester ferry at full pelt!


Extra excitement as steam tug ‘Kerne’ follows through after the ferry.


Back to the upper level and we were allowed to stand right next to the sealing gates as the caisson approached its docking position.


We were also allowed into the operating shed where the original water operated hydraulic equipment from the 1890’s is still in working order.

After about 45 minutes we were on our way – still in awe of the terrific surprise which awaited us on our journey.  We arrived in Manchester at about midday to find our exact mooring spot, which we had last week, still available to us!  The weather has been really good today and we finished a brilliant day off by enjoying wine and nibbles on the rear deck in wonderful sunshine.


  1. Wow, can't believe it doesn't leak at all!

    & how on earth did you manage 2 weeks on one tank of water? How big is your water tank?

    Hope you are both ok, have a good time in Manchester (again!!)

    Ali x

  2. I love that sort of unexpected delay.
    I have never seen it open either.

  3. Hi Ali and John, We were amazed as well as the Barton Aqueduct could do with a little maintenance! We do have a large water tank as requested on the build, just in case we can't ever fill up for 2 weeks, as we were stranded on the Thames once,on our last boat. Its only showers and general water though, I didn't use the washing machine, went over the YHA in Castlefield for that, as its just as easy to do that! Doug x

  4. Hi Andy, We were so thrilled to arrive just as they were shutting the gates! The operator said most boaters get really annoyed when they have to wait and couldn't believe we were so pleased to be stopped! Maybe we are in a minority here!

  5. We were lucky enough to see the aqueduct in action too. Sooo exciting. Loved the pictures.

  6. Hi Ian and Karen, Thanks for the comment, isn't it amazing to see... Hope all is well with you both and we meet up sometime. Doug