Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Spring, summer, autumn in 5 days!

Changeable, that’s what they said. They weren’t kidding, were they!

Friday was very early-spring-like, March winds and April showers chased us into Castlefield..

Poplars bend under the onslaught in Trafford ParkSAM_5597
You could hear the timber creaking and groaning, even over the noise of the engine.

We arrived in Castlefield a few minutes before Chas and Ann on Moore2Life, time enough to check out the mooring situation towards the Grocer’s Warehouse and to ring them to tell them not to head that way. No room. I don’t know if Peel has a mooring policy for the Bridgewater similar to C&RT, but if they have they need to enforce it. Several boats seem to have taken up residence on these popular moorings.

As it was it worked out OK. The alternative, on the opposite side of the railway bridges near the Castlefield Hotel, was fine. Not too noisy during the day, quiet at night and fairly open with a good TV signal. And it’s a stone’s throw from the excellent Museum of Science and Industry.

Moored outside The Y fitness centreSAM_5602
MOSI is up the steps beyond the white boat, and across the road. We spent quite a bit of time in there.

Saturday and Sunday were our salad days, warm and sunny, fetching the population of Manchester out in droves. Saturday was the Great City Games, a series of athletic events held on a special track built on Deansgate, and also in Albert Square. We didn’t go, preferring the view offered by the BBC, but Barbara and Malcolm (NB Pilgrim) went and enjoyed a trackside vantage point.

Pilgrim was moored on the Grocer’s Warehouse arm, as was a sister boat to Seyella, Orchard No 51, NB Anguilla.

Below Grocer’s Warehouse, first thing on SundayDSC_0110
Bill was kind enough to show us around Anguilla and give us a frank opinion of Orchard when we were considering buying Seyella. You’ll notice the livery is almost identical to ours. A popular choice.

Notice also the creative mooring solution chosen by NB Waterwheels. That was the only spot available on Saturday evening, the problem is that this is also the only place to turn around at this end of the basin!

On Sunday morning we toddled off up into town for my race, battling our way through the crowds. Sometimes I think these events are better when the weather’s poor, at least there’re less spectators!
Haile Gebrselassie was hoping for a 6th win here, he and I were disappointed. He came in 3rd, I came in 6114th!

Mags’ son George, grandson Steven and his partner Anne-Marie, and their children Luke and Courtenay arrived to watch the race as well, then joined us back on the boat for the afternoon.

Generation game, four of them!SAM_5603

It was quite a weekend for meeting folk, we had Malcolm and Barbara (NB Pilgrim) around, I had a chat with Bill on NB Anguilla, and Mags had chance meeting with one of the physiotherapists who treated her in Macclesfield General last November. She was on duty for runners who needed a post-race massage.

Malcolm and Barbara

Yesterday Chas and I had another couple of hours in the museum, he has forebears in the weaving industry, so particularly wanted to see a demonstration of a loom built by the family.

Another working exhibit, a replica of George Stephenson’s 1830 locomotive, PLANETDSC_0109

The fine weather was due to break, as clouds gather over the Beatham Tower….DSC_0107

Yesterday was cooler, with the odd drop of rain, but today…. Well it started bright and dry, but by 9 o’clock it was raining, and it’s continued all day. And it felt cold, too.

Reversing out of the wharf, in the rain.SAM_5605
The railway bridges date from 1894 (nearer, cast iron supports), 1877 (middle, brick supports) and 1849 (being restored). The near and far ones are embellished with turrets, in tribute to the Castlefields area, which gets it name from the Roman fort found here.
Front to back they are – The Great Northern Viaduct, Cornbrook Viaduct and the Manchester, South Junction and Altrincham Railway Viaduct. A bit of a mouthful, that, so it’s more commonly known as the Red Brick Viaduct.

Pulling away from the services, Chas getting M2L ready to follow.SAM_5606
The Beatham Tower is disappearing into the murk…

Chas is on his own for a few days, Ann has headed back to Southampton, returning on Friday. So we’re heading out of town to more dog-friendly territory for the duration, then Chas will be returning to Sale to pick Ann up when she gets back.

A left turn this time at Waters Meeting into Stretford…SAM_5611

…passing the fairly new Stretford Marina….SAM_5612

with boater services now fully open.

It’s always sad to see a flooded boat, but it’s unusual on the well-managed Watch House Cruising Club moorings.

Someone’s pride and joy

Stretford becomes Sale at the River Mersey crossingSAM_5615

By this time I was cold, damp and miserable. I got to thinking; how many times have we cruised out of Manchester in the rain? Too many to remember, I think. We usually seem to be on the Bridgewater at times of the year that are more likely to be wet than dry.

Chas pulled in near Dunham Massey Hall, we carried on to the roadside moorings near Ye Olde No 3 Inn. We had Mags’ sister Dot and nephew Paul arriving for tea, Dot has two new knees so doesn’t walk so far these days. This mooring is ideal for visitors, but not so good for dog walking. We’ll move back to join Chas tomorrow.

Locks 0, miles 11

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