Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Back to Boothstown

After a day off at Plank Lane we headed back towards Manchester today, stopping for the night at Boothstown.

We’ve had some pleasant walks around Pennington Flash, even though the weather has been windy, cool and occasionally damp.SAM_5541


The flash was caused by subsidence following coal mining, and a row of cottages has obviously suffered the same consequences, the row strapped together with steel braces.

Mutual support…SAM_5543

The lift bridge crossing the canal at Plank Lane has historically had a bridge-keeper in attendance. Although only a “B” road, it’s a pretty busy route, especially at rush hour.
Now this cushy but probably boring job has been contracted out – to us boaters!SAM_5544

Alongside the bridge there’s a large expanse of cleared land, the site of Bickershaw Colliery. Once the largest pit on the Wigan coalfield, it was also the last to close, in 1992.
This area is due a makeover, a mixed development of housing and commercial building, and a 40 berth marina. The marina pool is the only bit so far completed, and this is not in use having no mooring pontoons installed yet. I guess another victim of the recession.

The grandly named Diamond Jubilee MarinaPanorama Bickersdale Marina

We got away around 10:30 and had a fairly bright but breezy trip back through Leigh.

Leaving Plank Lane
The well surfaced path is part of the Greenheart Jubilee Way. This multi-user path runs from Leigh to Wigan along the towpath of the canal, and also includes part of the Douglas Valley. The Greenheart Regional Park is a project aimed at revitalising the areas abandoned by the loss of the mining industry, encouraging wildlife, leisure, economy and sustainability.

Recorded for posterity, the team responsible for creating the route.SAM_5551

With a short, squat tower, St. Peter’s at Westleigh could be mistaken for being Saxon. In fact it’s Victorian, a Grade II listed building from 1881.

More Victorian architecture entering Leigh. The nearer stone building dates from her uncle, William IV’s, time in 1821, the brick structure is from 1894. Both were warehouses, now converted to make The Waterside Inn.

Leigh (ex) warehouses.SAM_5559

Butts Mill chimney and blue skies

Between Dutton Stop Lock to the south, Poolstock Locks to the north, Runcorn to the west and the bottom of the Rochdale Canal at Castlefield, there’s around 45 miles of level navigation here. It’s understandable then that there are lots of stop-planks with attendant cranes, standing ready to stem any breach.

Near the East Lancs Road Bridge there are two opposing sets of stop gates for the same purpose.

Stop GatesSAM_5563
The local kids have found the blank faces of a stack of metal stop-planks irresistible….

We filled with diesel, replaced an empty gas bottle, disposed of several days of rubbish and even bought two bags of solid fuel at Bridgewater Marina. Still buying smokeless in May! Huh! The weatherman is predicting frosts….

I suppose we shouldn’t really complain, it’s better than in Oklahoma….

Leaving, topped up, from Bridgewater MarinaSAM_5565

We pulled in just along from the marina, on the offside again. Just for tonight this time, tomorrow we head to the Trafford Centre for a bit more retail therapy.

I’ve made the decision to go ahead with repainting Seyella this summer. The paint shed at Canal Cruising in Stone is booked for early August, and we’ve finalised a colour scheme. We’ll be mainly dark blue and mid-grey, just for a change. Grey Dk Blue preferred option
Red hand rails will add a bit of relief. The roof will remain cream, the gunwales black. I’ll also be adding mouse’s ear’oles on the stern cabin panel.
Back Panel
Signwriting has yet to be determined…

Locks 0, miles 6

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