What a difference from the weekend! Luckily for all the people for whom the Easter holiday really was a holiday it was warm and sunny right through till yesterday, Easter Monday. Today was so cold. I went into the winter clothes storage locker and pulled out a warm fleece and my gloves and at the end of each of my steering shifts I had to defrost my hands in a basin of warm water.

We left Stockton Heath at 9.30. We are heading for the Wigan flight onto the Leeds and Liverpool and travelled along the Bridgwater twice last year so had no great impetus to overnight before Worsley. The day was so cold, grey and drizzly that even Lymm held no great attraction though for once we could have moored right in the centre. There was a tremendously loud road drilling noise as well! We were thinking of mooring at Little Bollington to eat lunch and take on water but there were already four boats milling round the water point, including one hovering mid stream so we went on. By the time we got to the lovely stretch overlooking Dunham Massey it was raining so we stopped dithering and decided to travel on till Worsley, eating lunch on the move and taking turns to steer.

As we approached Sale a forty footer was following us and they were obviously upset that I slowed down when passing moored boats. They caught up and then came powering past me. I was travelling at our maximum speed at the time and they were going so fast that their bow wave was at least a foot high. As we went round a bend there was a boat moored on the towpath. Luckily I slowed right down because they had to take avoiding action so they didn’t crash into it. The woman steering veered round in the nick of time leaving the moored boat bashing and crashing in her wake. A little further along we passed them moored at Sale Bridge. The man was outside wiping down his white roof on which the rain drops were obviously not allowed to linger. I deduced therefore that they weren’t speeding because they had a long way to travel, nor because they had to run into the pub before they stopped serving. The boat was called “Nomad Rushing”!

After we had turned onto the Bridgewater Leigh Line at Waters Meeting things quietened down and we passed only one boat on the move. I saw my first goslings of the year, five very little round bundles, and also passed swans sitting on some very elaborate nests. There seems to be many more new buildings on the waterside at Worsley but it’s very quiet on the boating front. We have moored behind a barge laden with booty cleared from the canal. We suspect they are working down towards Waters Meeting having ridden over a few obstructions on our way here. Today we also passed a large dredger at Grapenhall: seems that there are higher levels of maintenance on the Bridgewater.

A footnote: our meal at Piccolino yesterday evening was extremely good. How wonderful to return to a place after a year to find that the quality hasn’t dropped.

Crossing the Manchester Ship Canal

Today we did 20.39 Miles

Statistics so far:-

2454.65 Miles, 1459 Locks, 128 Swing Bridges, 89 Lift Bridges, 43 Tunnels


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