….that summer’s here? Or is that tempting fate?
T shirt and shorts weather from 07:00 today gives me a degree of optimism.
Looking down the Bridgewater early this morning.
Purple, lilac and red poppies in Little Bollington on the roadside verge.
E-on are replacing power lines on the high voltage pylons crossing east to west. There’s a massive effort required just to meet Health and Safety requirements, even before work can commence.
Scaffold gantries support a safety net over the canal.
Seyella sits in splendid isolation on the Olde No 3 moorings.
I don’t think we’ve ever been alone on these moorings before. There’s usually some squatters here, but maybe the MSCC has been having a purge…
Tescoman arrived about half past nine, but it was gone half ten before we got everything away and were ready to move. I reckon we’re an inch or so deeper in the water now.
At Agden Bridge there’s one of those iconic Bridgewater cranes, poised to drop stop planks into slots across the bridge ‘ole in the event of a breach.
Bridgewater stop plank crane.
With nearly 50 miles of waterway without a lock, a major breach would be catastrophic for the navigation and anything below! Indeed, a failure at the Bolling Aqueduct we crossed yesterday occurred in 1971 and closed the canal for 2 years. The cranes and planks are regularly sited along the canal to isolate any leaking sections.
There’s a string of boatyards along the canal heading towards Lymm, Bridgewater Boats seem to be doing well with several boats in various stages of completion.
Old canalside warehouse near Hesford
Lymm was busy as usual, and we went straight through not needing to stop after our delivery this morning.
Mags having a steer out of Lymm
Good sized family outside Lymm
There’s a pleasant rural intermission for a couple of miles before the built up area on the edge of Warrington is reached. Grappenhall and Stockton Heath are wedged in between the Bridgewater and Manchester Ship Canals.
We’re pleased to see that Thorn Marine is still open for business. They’re under threat of closure as Peel Holdings want the leased land back for development. The current financial situation is giving them a bit of breathing space.
Thorn Marine at London Road Bridge
They occupy original canal buildings dating back to the construction of the canal. There were quite a few wharf facilities here, as this was the terminus of this section of the canal for some time while negotiations with the owners of Walton Hall took place. They were reluctant to have the canal cut across the estate, but agreement was reached and the canal completed to Runcorn in 1776, 15 years after the main line from Worsley to Manchester.
Past Walton Hall, the canal runs through a wooded cutting, dappled with sunshine on a day like today, dripping with rain on our usual trips!
It was a delight to do the trip from Manchester in such good weather. It seems that we normally do it in the rain.
Out of the cutting and it’s just over a mile to the village of Moore, where we often stop for the night. But today we pushed on to get back onto the Trent and Mersey.
The tower at Daresbury Laboratories is a prominent landmark as you head towards Preston Brook.
Daresbury Labs and the Synchrotron Research Tower
The tower housed a synchrotron, a particle beam accelerator, and if you’ve time on your hands you can find out more here….
Daresbury Labs is a research facility, supporting industry and universities with specialised skills and equipment. It’s sited on the Daresbury Science and Technology Campus which also houses companies at the cutting edge of technology in the UK.
We pulled in at Midland Chandlers at Preston Brook, I needed to get some bits for the stove. Now that (hopefully) we’ll not be needing it for a bit, I’ve a chance to replace the fire bricks and the door glass, both of which are getting past their sell-by dates. Another dent in the wallet.
Then it was through Preston Brook Tunnel and back onto BW waters. It seemed such a shame to swap warm sunshine for the stygian gloom under the hill, but where the canal goes, we go.
Preston Brook Tunnel
We had a quick run through, 12 minutes for the 1239 yards, then had to negotiate the very deep Dutton Stop Lock.
Hmmm, maybe not that deep then.
In fact it’s only around 4 inches up, but it’s there to protect the Trent and Mersey if there’s a problem with water levels on the Bridgewater. Actually it’s a bit of a nuisance if there’s a queue of boats wanting to head north through the tunnel.
Dutton Stop Lock.
It’s also an odd size, too wide for one boat; too narrow for two. Built for Mersey flats and Leeds and Liverpool short boats, I guess.
We pulled in a little further on, alongside Long Acre Wood. I had to do a bit of gardening at the fore and aft, the wet weather has certainly encouraged the stinging nettles! Then Meg and I had a walk around the woods, Meg looking for squirrels to terrorise. She needed a good run around after being stuck on the boat for most of the day. Moving on to Anderton tomorrow, all being well.
Locks 1, miles 14½