Thursday, 24 May 2012

Nearly a Bridge to Far.

We left our mooring in Lymm this morning with a little high cloud bubbling up. This soon evaporated into another of those 76 type days, (1976 for the youngsters). We have set ourselves something of an agenda over the next few days as we have to get to the Wigan B.W. offices before they close at 1200 tomorrow, in order to collect a skippers guide for the Link, as we are unable to print it out. With that in mind, we decided that we needed to get past Leigh today.

We managed to get water and empty the elsan soon after leaving Lymm and then enjoyed the weather and scenery on the journey into Manchester.  The initial parts are surprisingly rural and the long straight through Sale is wide and deep.  The whole journey was thoroughly enjoyable, but almost void of any boat traffic.  What happened to all those deserting the arid south for more temperate climes?  I think we saw only three boats moving the opposite direction to ourselves on the complete journey and met only one going our way, N.B Ferndale.

Doing a left at waters meet, we were soon at Trafford Park, and we know what that means, retail therapy for Ali in the Trafford centre.  I stayed on the boat!

Crossing over the Barton swing Aqueduct, I was surprised how small it appeared, albeit a fantastic piece of engineering.  The last time I visited this was 40+ years ago on a school trip and it appeared so much bigger then.  Passing through Worsley reminded me of the same trip long ago and it remains a quaint place.  Then through Leigh with its mills still looming over the town, now sadly neglected but harking back to the industry that made this area, King cotton.  Coal was the other industry of the area and whilst the pit heads are gone and the tips landscaped into nature reserves, their legacy is still imprinted in the landscape.  Lakes (flashes) caused by subsidence can be seen from the canal, which itself is raised on an embankment now.  There is a feeling of the lost industry in this area, although mother nature aided by mans endeavours has healed many of the scars.

We arrived at Plank lane by about 1830 and moored prior to it and just out of its direct sight.  Our Nicholson guide is somewhat out of date as we had been led to believe this was a manned crossing which closed at 1800 this time of year.  We walked up and found that this is now operated by a B.W. key, the man is now history!  Adjacent to the bridge is a large new I suppose winding hole, or possible a small marina?  A lot of money seems to have been spent for no readily apparent reason creating this.  The sign on the bridge operating instructions stated that it must remain closed from 0800-0930 to allow commuter traffic to take precedence, so in order to get to Wigan before our deadline, it is looking like an early start in the morning.  Sorry Ali, but promise we will stop early!

And I did not get my pint at the end of the day, as the pub near the bridge in our Nicholsons, is gone and I do not mean just closed, it has been demolished and all trace removed.  Bugger.

The small bridge in the distance is the M6, know where I would rather be!

Converted Mill

Long straight approaching Sale/Stretford

Barton Aquaduct carrying the Bridgewater Canal over the Manchester Ship Canal



The view from our mooring tonight

19.5 miles no locks or tunnels

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