Friday, 19 August 2016

Manchester Again!

After we helped Debbie and Danny fit their new aerial on their boat we’ve had several enquiries about it. Here are the details for anyone who is interested in this little marvel :-


And the link for the magnetic pole for it to fit on:

We can only go by our own experience with this piece of equipment. We’ve had one for five years now and it has seen better days (!) but it still works as if new. It’s mounted on a short (500mm) pole with a strong magnetic base. We just place it on the roof of the boat when we need to but a lot of the time it stays in the front well deck (where it’s normally stored when we’re moving) where it still works perfectly. The aerial has a booster attached and we also have a second booster inside the boat and run two TVs a lot of the time. We’ve had feedback from others who have fitted this product and are equally delighted. It’s very compact as well, which saves having a large, obtrusive thing on a long stick dominating your roofline. Good luck! 


We left our mooring at Lydiate on Tuesday which was a gloriously hot, sunny day. The flat land and alluvial soil from Lydiate right up to Rufford is mainly set over to the growing of vegetables and corn crops. The harvesting of wheat was well under way as we passed along and the air was full of a wonderful warm straw smell.


One interruption to the flat landscape is at Halsall where there’s a lovely, tree shaded cutting through a rocky outcrop.


The various pubs along the canal side were very busy with people taking advantage of the sunshine.


Not that we were wanting a mooring at Burscough but apart from the 1 hour service point in the town there seemed to be no facilities for visitors to moor. Instead, all mooring is set aside for permit holders and the general poor state of the craft on these moorings gives the town’s waterfront a very downcast look. However, one bright oasis is the regeneration of the massive Ainscough’s Mill which now looks rather splendid. We headed on to the much more attractive little Parbold for the night’s mooring.


This stretch of canal is periodically punctuated by well over a dozen swing bridges. Road users can get a bit frustrated sometimes when they’re met with the barriers coming down but we tried to be as efficient as possible!


From Parbold it’s not far to Wigan and it only seemed like yesterday that we’d stopped for a night there but this time we were cruising on through. Poor old Wigan Pier (on the left) although not looking too dilapidated at the moment, has been closed for a while it seems.


There was a major problem with the swing bridge at Plank Lane, which carries a lot of traffic, and we had to make it by 2 o’ clock Wednesday for the daily opening by CRT staff. We managed to make it by the skin of our teeth! Around the half finished marina next to the bridge (it was still only half finished when we last came 5 years ago) is a new housing development under construction. We were interested to see that all the houses have built in solar panels. They look a lot nicer than the ‘bolt on’ ones!


It was our second day of hot sunny weather and we chose to moor up mid afternoon just after the Plank Lane bridge on the Pennington Flash Country Park at Leigh. It’s rare to find a place where you can moor on either side of the canal but you can on this section (the opposite side being council owned land and used a lot by dog walkers and hikers) so that’s what we did.


It wasn’t long before we got ‘sussed’ as to our location and friend Scott (who joined us for the evening in Blackpool recently with his partner) called in to see us on his way home from work. Although only a brief visit it was great to catch up with him again.


On Thursday morning we noticed the weather forecast for Friday was for heavy and persistent precipitation so we decided to fold two days of travel into one. After a stop in Leigh for some much needed food shopping we set sale for a good days cruising.  At the, always very helpful, Bridgewater marina we stopped for water, fuel and a pump out before continuing. Further on, approaching Worsley, the water gets gradually more orange.


Worsley is really the birthplace of the canal system. This is “The Delph” which is the entrance to coal mines once owned and operated by the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater. In the mid 1700’s he built the canal to take coal from his mines to Manchester. It’s from these mines that the iron oxide now leaches and produces the odd colour of the water.


This part of Worsley, with “The Delph” in the far right hand corner is very pretty. 


It doesn’t take long before the canals offer us another surprise and at Parrin Lane there’s a lighthouse of all things!


Our good progress for the day was unceremoniously halted for a while at the famous Barton Aqueduct however. This ‘wonder of the canal network’ was built in 1894 to allow large vessels to pass on the Manchester Ship Canal. When we arrived the gates had been closed and the aqueduct, with canal water sealed in it, was being swung for the passage of something big to pass through on ship canal beneath. It’s interesting to ponder that the sealing gate in the picture holds all the water in the canal right back to Wigan!


We’ve approached this fantastic engineering marvel just twice form the Wigan direction and on both times we been halted for it’s operation. We don’t mind in the slightest – boat owners pass many times hoping to see the aqueduct swung only to be disappointed and we hit the jackpot on two occasions! The wait can be a long one so we put the washing out (as you do) and made a cup of tea.


In the end we were only delayed by half an hour and, after the massive caisson was swung back into position and the gates opened, we were on our way again.


Very sadly, the lovely wooden hut which housed the original hydraulic equipment for the bridge was burnt down a short while back and all that’s there now are safety railings around the charred, but still operational, workings.


It’s very very special to pass through this lovely old structure ……..


…… and to look to the right down the Manchester Ship Canal with the road bridge over.


And this is the view left.


The paparazzi were waiting for us and we’re now in someone’s collection of photos of the Barton Aqueduct!


Back on course again we soon pass the enormous Kellogg’s factory. You can smell it before you see it with various whiffs of Frosties and Sugarpuffs in the air!


It wasn’t long before we saw the first signs of our destination – Manchester’s Beetham Tower sitting head and shoulders above anything else in the area.


Astonishingly, when we turned the corner into Castlefield Quay and our favourite space was waiting for us! We’d managed to get to Manchester ahead of the rain forecast for Friday and we spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the sunshine.

We would like to dedicate this blog to Elaine McBride who passed away yesterday (18th August 2016). Many of us have had Elaine and Paul in our thoughts and prayers during Elaine’s illness and we send our heartfelt condolences to Paul and their families at this most difficult and sad time.  Rest in Peace Elaine.


From L-R:  Paul and Elaine, Neil, Pauline, Doug, Frances, Andrew. (July 2013) After a cruise on the tidal River Thames.

No comments:

Post a Comment