Monday, October 15, 2007

Had a quiet day yesterday. Took Meg for a long walk down into Worsley, and spent some time exploring the village. It’s not particularly old, but is known as the birthplace of the British canals. It was here, in 1759, that Francis Egerton, the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, started construction of the first wholey artificial waterway in the country to link his coal mines around Worsley with his market in the rapidly expanding Manchester. Later, the canal was extended to join the Trent and Mersey at Preston Brook, and finally the Leeds and Liverpool at Leigh.
During the construction of the original line, he had cut about 46 miles of underground canal, to link the coal seams to Worsley Delph.

Worsley Delph, where the coal was brought to the surface.
There are several interesting buildings in the village, like the Court House and the Packet House.

The Court House
The Packet House
We set off today at 10:40, and cruised for 10 minutes till we paused so I could retrieve a substantial pallet from the cut. 2 reasons – it saves anyone running over it, and I want one for the roof to carry bags of coal.

Then on to and through Worsley

From here to Waters Meeting was much as expected. Urban canal with the associated rubbish, anglers and disused factories and mills.

The grandly named Eccles Spinning and Manufacturing Co. Ltd. Still in use, but not it’s original function, I suspect.
All of these new office buildings in Trafford Park are standing empty.
The highlight for me was passing over the Barton Swing Aqueduct. Mags kept telling me to watch where I was going, as I spent all my time taking photos!

Barton Swing Aqueduct

The aqueduct can be sealed at both ends and swung through 90° to allow large vessels to pass below on the Ship Canal. This, and the adjacent road bridge (pic 2), pivot on a central island. The moving section is 235 feet long and carries 800 tons of water.

At Waters Meeting we were back on familiar water, and after a short stop at Sale Bridge for groceries, we pressed on through Stretford and Sale and out of the conurbation to Dunham Massey, where we moored for the night.

The forecast was for showery weather today, but, apart from a few drops soon after we moored, we got away with it.

Locks none, miles 12½

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