Saturday, May 22, 2010

Waiting for BW

We’ve had a fairly long but uneventful trip today. The main feature has been the several swing bridges, varying from fully manual to fully mechanised.
We dropped lucky with the first, just around the corner of our overnight. A boat was just coming through as we arrived and we were waved through. The next we had to do ourselves, but the farm access Great Score swing bridge is chained in the open position. There was another like this further along.

Bridge 30, no longer in use.Alongside Great Score bridge is moored a 1930’s Leeds and Liverpool Short Boat, Ribble.

These steel boats were built to replace the earlier wooden versions, the dimensions of which were the same as the Mersey and Weaver flats regularly in use on the waterway. This is why the Leeds and Liverpool north and east of Wigan has such odd lock sizes (14’3 x 60’), built to accommodate existing boats.

There was a longish gap before we got to Scarisbrick Marina.

Scarisbrick Marina
Opened recently, there is still quite a bit of mooring space available here. I wish a few more of the linear moorers would move in, there’s some awfully long lengths of moored boats along this stretch.
Having space available makes the attitude I came up against here earlier this year even more incomprehensible. Not being able to use the new Liverpool Link in March to get to Albert Dock for my ½ marathon (it didn’t open till Easter), I rang them up to see if they could put us up for 3 nights, planning to commute from here. “Not worth the bother” was the reply. Obviously pointing out a berth and taking our money is uneconomical.

According to Nicholson's Guide, the canal construction is reputed to have started in a cutting between Bridges 24 and 25. I think they might be one bridge out; that length is open. The cutting is between 23 and 24.

Cutting Br23 - Br24. Start of digging?
We met up with the next swing bridge at Coxhead’s, then left the flat arable land behind as we entered the built up area around Maghull

Coxhead’s Swing Bridge.
There are four bridges to be operated through the town, and, being a fine, sunny Saturday, each was surrounded by attendant gongoozlers and anglers. Mags acquitted herself admirably, only coming unstuck once when she ran aground on a shallow mooring.
The last but one, Maghull Hall Swing Bridge, was the busiest, and there was quite a queue of traffic built up by the time I’d got the bridge shut again.

We arrived at Bridge 9, Hancocks Swing Bridge, at around 14:30, and moored. We’ve to wait here for BW, who will chaperone us through to the docks, operating the bridges and locks for us. They’re due at 09:30 in the morning.
We should be in the docks by 3 tomorrow afternoon.

Waiting at Hancocks Swing Bridge
It looks like we might be travelling on our own. No one else has turned up yet. I suppose it’s possible that someone might arrive in the morning.

On an entirely unrelated subject, did anyone see the final episode of "Ashes to Ashes" last night, with the excellent Phillip Glennister and the slightly less so Keeley Hawes? I did and I haven't a clue what happened. If you're floundering in the same morass, here's the creator himself, Matthew Graham, explaining things..... I think.
This one's a bit more revealing.......

Locks 0, miles 15.

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