We had a long day ahead of us, traversing Manchester. We awoke to a dull sky, but this soon cleared to a glorious day. The outskirts of Manchester were soon reached and the layers were stripped off as the heat of the sun increased.
Peel holdings and the council have certainly made an effort with the towpath, which is now looking really good and this has made the environment much more pleasant for all users.
Manchester was somewhat deserted. The meet at Lymm had removed many of the resident boaters from their home moorings, so pram hoods erect, they paraded west, leaving us enjoying the tranquility of the city to enjoy.
Walkers, cyclists and rowers made the trip a pleasure, but so did the sunshine. We topped up with fuel just prior to Waters meet, then headed towards the crossing of the ship canal at Barton aqueduct. But before this, Ali had a period of retail therapy at the Trafford centre! Why shopping is so adictive is beyond me!!!
Upon her return, we crossed the ship canal and wended our way out of the metropolis, through the orange waters around Worseley and through the reclaimed post industrial landscape to Leigh. Passing the junction between the Bridgewater and the Leeds/Liverpool, a very quick food stop and then onwards.
By late afternoon we moored above Pennington flash and enjoyed both the sunshine and the wildlife. That this landscape is a result of past industry, is a testament to natures powers of recovery, aided by the will to allow this to happen. What was truly a wasteland, is now a fantastic nature reserve.
Sunday dawned dull and wet! We had in prospect 23 broad locks, two prior to the flight, proper. As we made our way towards Wigan, the rain receded and whilst it never became warm, it did improve. After ascending to the junction, we turned right and thence towards Leeds. Not a boat in sight and so we were resigned to a long hard day. As we ascended the first lock and Ali made her way to prepare the second, a stroke of fortune! There was a boat ahead of us, alone!
Ali ran up, yes ran...and they agreed to wait for us.
Anyone else spotted this? Our very knowledgeable volunteer told us to look for it
So by lock three of the flight, we joined N.B Twizzle with Sue and Quentin. Our joy was compounded when Peter, a CRT volunteer joined the merry crew. It was a pleasure to ascend. Hard work, but so enjoyable. Sue , Ali and Peter soon reached a smooth rhythm, as did Quentin and I. Lock after lock, up we went and by late afternoon , we were on the top. A short hop saw us both then moored opposite the golf course in rural tranquility, with splendid views. We did then enjoy a glass of red or three thanks to Sue and Quentin. Not surprisingly, we slept rather well!!!
Bank holiday Monday dawned cloudy, and cold. We had a mid morning start and slowly wended our way along what is beautiful scenery. But boy was it cold!
At Johnsons Hillock locks, again with N.B Twizzle, we seemed to fly up. Only seven this time and the gongoozlers only added to the pleasure. Yet again, we seemed to synchronise effortlessly. It made lock working a pleasure.
So by the time we moored at Riley Green, we thought a meal and a pint (or two, or a few!) well deserved. So to the pub we went!!40.5 miles and 30 broad locks completed...