Friday, September 09, 2011

Surprise, Surprise!

Two surprises today. The first was it being such pleasant weather! Very little wind and warm sunshine most of the day. Wow!
The second was (almost) bumping into some old friends we’ve not seen for a couple of years.

Before we set off this morning Meg and I had a walk around the eastern end of Pennington Flash, the bit with the islands and the bird hides.

Pennington Flash map.

Looking west across the flash

Meg can’t resist having a dip.

Yesterday evening we suffered the bane of semi-urban towpaths; a couple of kids on motorbikes. They only made a couple of passes, but managed to move a proportion of the muddy path to the side of the boat.

Mud splashes, but easily washed off.

We were away around 10:30, doing a couple of wash loads as we chugged along to Leigh. Here we swap canals. At Leigh Bridge the Leigh Branch of the Leeds and Liverpool canal joins the Bridgewater Canal.

Approaching Leigh Bridge

Just after the bridge one of the most oft spotted structures on the Bridgewater, the stop plank crane, is sited. Stop planks are dropped into slots on a narrow section of the channel to seal off a length of canal for maintenance or repair. The Bridgewater Canal Company was on the ball, with cranes and planks situated at regular intervals along the navigation reaction time in the event of a leak is rapid, and there’s no need to transport the heavy equipment. BW use the same method, but without the ready-use crane and often without the planks!

Bridgewater Canal crane and planks.

We stopped to fill the water tank and empty a loo cassette just past Butts Bridge, then made our steady way back into the countryside.

A gentle hour’s cruise saw us approaching Boothshall Bridge with a boat coming the other way waving us through. This was our second surprise, the boat was Nick and Jackie’s NB Gloriana.
Both boats were pulled over and we spent a good hour catching up on the news since we last saw them on the top end of the Shroppie 18 months ago.
Then we parted company, they’re booked across the Ribble Link next Tuesday. Good to see you guys again, have a good crossing.

Nick and Jackie

We only had another few minutes to cruise, mooring up on the offside just past the marina.

Locks 0, miles 6¼

I’m running The Great North Run to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

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