Sunday, May 20, 2018

Up the “Dukes Cut”

We’ve toddled on up the Bridgewater Friday and Saturday, and stayed put today on a fine spot overlooking Bollington Mill. I’m not sure that this section of the canal should be called the Dukes Cut though, as it’s not the original navigation opened by the Duke of Bridgewater in July 1761. We’ll be joining that tomorrow, the route from the Duke’s mines at Worsley to Manchester.
This bit was one of two further extensions, one south from near Stretford (this one…), the other north from Worsley to Leigh.
The route south led to Runcorn, dropping down the only locks on the navigation to docks on the River Mersey. It also incorporated the short arm to Preston Brook Tunnel and the connection to the Trent and Mersey.
The northern extension wasn’t built until right at the end of the 18th century, and linked the Bridgewater to the Leeds and Liverpool (Leigh Branch).

So back to the present and we left the mooring near Moore on Friday morning. A cold night, but a fine sunny morning. Two uneventful days, fairly quiet on the water, saw us to our present spot yesterday late morning. We had to be tied up before noon, Mags wanted to watch something or other on the TV…

Heading in towards Walton and the fringes of Warrington.DSCF3450

The rhododendrons are just coming out at Walton HallDSCF3453

The canal runs along the southern edge of the urban sprawl of Warrington for about 3 miles, finally breaking back out into the countryside east of Grappenhall.

Thorne Marine alongside London Road BridgeDSCF3460

And another of those stop plank cranes lurking in the undergrowth.

During construction of the Runcorn extension work was held up here for a while during negotiations with landowners further south. The main building occupied by Thorne Marine was once a warehouse for goods waiting to be moved on by road.

They can afford to use larger maintenance craft on here…DSCF3462

We arrived at Lymm early afternoon, pulling in on the towpath side. It’s a bit quieter here than on the same side as the town, and just as convenient.DSCF3465
It’s a good job we were early; the moorings were filling up by the time I’d got back from a shopping trip, and there wasn’t a space to be had by evening.

After another cool night we were on the move by half-nine on Saturday. Not far to go, just along to Bollington, but we had to stop for water on the way so had to account for having to queue.

We were only the first or second boat away this morning. There was bunting up in the town, so there might have been some sort of party on to celebrate THE WEDDING!

Long lines of moored boats make progress slow, past a couple of marinas then boat club moorings.

Past The Barn Owl pub on the left.

There used to be a bell on the towpath side to summon a row boat from the pub to transport thirsty walkers across the canal.

The water point at The Olde No 3 was free when we arrived, but it still took nearly 30 minutes to fill from the very slow tap. But we were moored up at Bollington by 11:10, in plenty of time for Mags to indulge her royalist tendencies.DSCF3471

Me, I can take it or leave it. So I got on with repairing the damage to the paint on the front corner of the handrail, and a few rust spots that had appeared on the roof through the winter.

It’s been busy on the water over the weekend, but it’s gone quiet again now. Tomorrow we’ll be heading up through Sale and Stretford, probably stopping at the Trafford Centre.

Locks 0, miles 10½

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