June 30, 2010

Well I have not blogged in a while, weather, tennis, football (football?) and last but not least relatives have all got in the way to conspire and demotivate blogging activities.

We came along with Rose of Parbold which helped coming through the swing bridges, particularly Crabtree swing bridge near the slipway pub. No abuse from the cars when you have 3 blokes manning the bridge. The Rose of Parbold is a charity widebeam boat that takes people from care homes and the like on a run along the canal. They operate 6 days a week with a team of 35 volunteers.

On Saturday we went down to Appley bridge and then back to Burscough for a BBQ with Paul and Pauline, a very nice time we had too.

On Tuesday we cycled over to the Wildlife and Wetlands Trust at Martin Mere, we were given a very informative tour of the grounds by Pauline, it certainly makes a difference when you are with someone who know what they are talking about and full of enthusiasm to boot.

Today we moved along to just past Scarisbrick marina (again), we have another day to get to bridge 9 for our rendezvous with BW and our trip into Liverpool.

Today we did 5 Miles and 2 Swing bridges

Saturday we did 10.57 Miles 2 Locks and 3 Swing Bridges

Statistics so far:-

1480.08 Miles, 871 Locks, 87 Swing Bridges, 65 Lift Bridges, 17 Tunnels

Still Burscough

June 25, 2010

We travelled down to Pinfold for a pump out and then winded and are now back where we started ready for our trip out tomorrow with my cousin Pauline and her husband Paul. The facilities on this section of the canal are a bit on the sparse side and we were fortunate in finding this pump out service while out driving around with Pauline yesterday.

We called out and spoke briefly with Terry Darling on Phyllis May II as we went past them as they moored up, he said that he had bought the new boat 4 days after the fire.

On the way back we had a bit of an altercation, well when I say we I should really say Frances, she was operating the mechanical swing bridge at the slipway pub whilst being bombarded by abuse from four men in their late twenties, not very helpful and probably slowed the proceedings somewhat.

Well just a short blog today, its Friday and time to go to the pub.

Today we did 7.22 Miles and 4 Swing Bridges

Statistics so far:-

1464.51 Miles, 869 Locks, 82 Swing Bridges, 65 Lift Bridges, 17 Tunnels


June 22, 2010

What a long day today, Felicites had to drop out they will catch up to us tomorrow. I had agreed to come and meet my cousin here in Burscough and that is where we are now, but we could have stopped and moored up in at least four other places between here and Wigan, in fact in the past this would probably have been a 4 or 5 day trip for us, we will go back and experience the joys of Parbold and Appley bridge later.

Does narrowboat give way to Sail?


Now that we are on a BW canal there are loads of men out working cutting and tidying the grass.

Man at Work

Today we did 11.09 Miles 5 Locks and 4 Swing Bridges

Statistics so far:-

1457.29 Miles, 869 Locks, 78 Swing Bridges, 65 Lift Bridges, 17 Tunnels


June 21, 2010

We came past a number of very attractive flashes today, but we were on a mission to get to Wigan BW offices to try and sort out our immediate plans. This we have done, we are booked into Liverpool on the 2nd of July. BW meet you at bridge 9 and then operate the sw
ing bridges and assist you through all of the Locks until you get to Salthouse dock, passing through Albert dock and others as you make your way through the city, should be exciting.

So we have a little time to kill before we can do this.

We are currently moored outside of the BW office, this is a 48 hour mooring but we will be off in the morning with Felicites who are moored along side of us.

We walked into Wigan town centre, hence our stay at the BW moorings, the Locks close at four thirty. Wigan has a bustling town centre which doesn’t seem to have been hit by the prevailing financial situation, there was only one charity shop and that was closed.

By the way I am looking for Kate Atkinson’s Case Histories which is the first part of a trilogy, we have the other two but can we find the first one. We had borrowed the book from a friend and Frances read this but I didn’t and now I have been stuck searching charity shops and libraries up and down the country trying to find this first volume. We even went into WH Smiths today to try and buy a new copy, but they didn’t have it. Why am I telling you this? No one knows.

To get into town we had to pass Trencherfield mill which has been converted into a block of apartments but in the grounds they have some very interesting exhibits.

Bryn Flash

Pearson's Flash

Steam Hammer

Pit Head Shaft Ventilation Fan

Today we did 5.72 Miles and 3 Locks

Statistics so far:-

1446.20 Miles, 864 Locks, 74 Swing Bridges, 65 Lift Bridges, 17 Tunnels

Plank Lane lift bridge

June 20, 2010

We felt that we needed to move on today and have travelled over 14 miles and are now moored up next to the Plank Lane lift bridge, this is operated by BW and we just missed the operator so can go no further today. The Bridgewater canal is managed by the Manchester Ship Canal company and I have to say that the facilities provided by the MSC leave a lot to be desired, although having said that I am not sure how much if any is financed from our BW license fee, so I guess I can’t really complain. We are now on the Leeds and Liverpool canal hence the presence of BW.

We have been skirting around and next to the Manchester ship canal and today we went one better and came across the top on a swing aqueduct, yes I did say swing, although it does very little swinging nowadays.

We had a beautiful walk around Pennington Flash Country Park and had a chance to use our new Meade spotting scope that we picked up from Costco for £34 when we were back in Croxley.

view of Manchester Canal from Barton Swing Aqueduct

Keep off the Rocks

Packet House Worsley

Today we did 14.54 Miles – yes 14.54

Statistics so far:-

1440.48 Miles, 861 Locks, 74 Swing Bridges, 65 Lift Bridges, 17 Tunnels


June 18, 2010

We visited the ‘Musuem of Science and Industry’ today and what an experience, we are going again tomorrow. It is by far the best museum that we have been in for a very long time. The way that the exhibits are presented gives the historical content a surprisingly modern relevance. The importance of the generation and method of supply of all the utilities that are generally taken for granted, water, gas, electricity and even sewerage were treated with an intelligence and vital energy supplied in no small measure by the bands of enthusiastic volunteers that man and ensure the smooth running of the exhibits. We will be going again tomorrow.

I will put up one photo for now as we are now preparing for the big game.


Statistics so far:-

1425.94 Miles, 861 Locks, 74 Swing Bridges, 65 Lift Bridges, 17 Tunnels

Castlefields Arena

June 17, 2010

Well we had a quick trip down to Croxley Green, Frances rang tional rail enquireis and was quoted £78 for two return tickets for Manchester to Watford, meanwhile I played around with the Crosscountry web site and found the same journey for £42, the cheap advanced return is £109 and the women on the phone with Frances said we should really take her offer as it was a saving of £31. I don’t think so. Anyway we had two and a half days of seeing our daughters family.

We are now back on the boat and discovered that we are in the middle of a warren of an arena namely Castlefields Arena which has been set up for the world cup. The question is do we nip down to one of the big screens or stay at home and watch it on TV?

Yesterday I mentioned the water wheel, well just down from us is the oldest canal warehouse in Manchester and a mighty fine building it looks too.

Big Screen

Sand Pit

Merchants Warehouse

Current Mooring

Statistics so far:-

1425.94 Miles, 861 Locks, 74 Swing Bridges, 65 Lift Bridges, 17 Tunnels

A bit of history

June 16, 2010

Above the basin at street level is a wheel monument describing the use of the original site, which was used for bringing coal into Manchester. In 1960 they pulled down the original building but in 1987 they built a reconstructed water wheel hoist which can be just about seen by peering in through the bars of the building. The plaque says that the delivery of cheap coal marked the beginning of the industrial revolution and helped to establish Manchester as a principal manufacturing centre. Of course the wheel was also designed by James Brindley.

The wheel is housed to the left of the arches behind the lift bridges, although the hoist is operational it doesn’t run all of the time but we were very fortunate to witness a fully operational wheel driven system at Dunham Massey Park. The wheel there was driving saws and lathes.

Water wheel building

Water wheel

Wheel monument

Water Wheel at Dunham Massey Park

Statistics so far:-

1425.94 Miles, 861 Locks, 74 Swing Bridges, 65 Lift Bridges, 17 Tunnels


June 14, 2010

We had a walk around the centre of Manchester, I have to say that the moorings are quite close to the city centre. Typically it was wet and miserable until we came back to the boat and now the sun is shining, so I guess we will just have to pop out again. It is not surprising that the moorings have filled up again as this is a fairly popuklar spot.

The town hall was very impressive situated in Albert square, I like the way that a lot of the old buildings have been re-utilized and not pulled down. This has left an interesting mix of the old and new.

I have not mentioned that the Bridgewater Canal was the first canal in England and also that it was designed and built by Brindley, so you could say it all started here.

Town Hall

Castlefield Quay

Rochdale Canal

St Anne's Church

Statistics so far:-

1425.94 Miles, 861 Locks, 74 Swing Bridges, 65 Lift Bridges, 17 Tunnels

Castlefield Quay

June 13, 2010

Well here we are in Castlefield Quay, the day started off fine enough but by the time we moored up we were a bit on the wet side and in the middle of an enormous rain storm. By the time we had a change of cloths and a hot shower there was no way we were going out again today.

We came through Sale and a were almost cut up by a ferry that dashes out between passing narrowboats.

At the junction of watersmeet we turned right and headed into Manchester, the turn towards Leigh looked inviting but it will be a few days before we go down there. We went past Old Trafford, I was last there when Watford played them in 2000, we lost three nil.

Ferry at Sale


Branch off to Leigh

Old Trafford

Today we did 9.80 Miles

Statistics so far:-

1425.94 Miles, 861 Locks, 74 Swing Bridges, 65 Lift Bridges, 17 Tunnels