Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Onto the Bridgewater

It was yet another fine morning as we set off for Preston Brook Tunnel. A few boats had passed already, but they must have gone through on the 10 o’clock passage, there was only one boat in front of us after we’d gone through the shallow Dutton Stop Lock.

Into Preston Brook Tunnel

The tunnel acts as the link between the Trent and Mersey Canal and the Bridgewater Canal. Completed in 1772, the precise end-on connection between the two canals is about 11 yards inside the northern end, but is now accepted as being at the portal.

Extensive repairs were needed in 1981 following a collapse in the middle of the brick lined bore. Using mostly pre-cast concrete sections, the reconstruction took three years.

I took some pictures a while ago, on another trip though.

It is only after the canal reaches the junction with the main line between Manchester and Runcorn that the Bridgewater shows it’s true colours.

Claymoore Narrowboats boatyard on the T&M link.

The Bridgewater was built as a broad and deep navigation, and has been maintained as such. Leaving Preston Brook there are extensive views across to the Mersey estuary to the north-west.

In the centre of the picture is Fiddlers Ferry Power Station. With a capacity of nearly 2000 megawatts, this coal-fired station was built in 1971 on the north bank of the Mersey. It’s 3 miles away at this point. A couple of stats – at full capacity it draws 195 million litres of water from the river, and burns 16,000 tonnes of coal. This is daily! Wow! Most of the coal now comes from overseas, and is delivered by rail.

We pulled over at Moore for the night, with it’s handy shop and Post Office right beside the canal. I picked up the mail from here, including my entry details for Sunday’s 10k race in Manchester. I’m number 4964, in case you’re watching on BBC2. Yellow shirt, white hat, wobbly knees.

Locks 1, miles 4

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