Sunday, 18 August 2013

From the Bridgewater to Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Our last blog found us on the Bridgewater canal where we met up with Carol and George of the good ship Rock n Roll. We’d last met them up in Chester and Ellesmere Port when we were only about a month into our new nomadic lifestyle. They kindly invited us for a BBQ at five and it wasn’t until about midnight that we had to trudge off into the moonlight in search of out boat. Luckily it was only a boat length away and we’d headed in the right direction first time. I’m a bad blogger though, didn’t take a bloggers must have gadget with me, aka a camera, so no photo.

We also met up with some old friends from Scotland, Alan and Ann, who we hadn’t seen for about four years. No excuse about not taking my camera with me this time, no, just simply forgot to take a photo of them – DOH! Now I say OLD friends, but were all sort of from the same era, well all except Ann, she’s much older than us and comes from an earlier decade. Unfortunately our day didn’t go exactly as planned as they enjoyed our Company so much there coming back to see us in October . . .  oh well, just have to try harder next time. Promise a photo of them next time.

After doing the main Bridgewater Canal we turned onto its Leigh Branch and travelled over the Manchester Ship Canal via the Barton Swing Aqueduct that I think is the only one of its kind in the world. Here are a couple of photo’s of our trip on it although it doesn't really do it justice,


but if you want to see it in action then check out Rock n Rolls blog here.

After that we stopped as soon as we got past civilisation that happened to be just after a place called Worsley. It had a bit of canal history associated to it so we took a wonder around the town and read up about it on various boards. It was actually quite interesting as they tunnelled canals into the mines starting with two entrances that then extended underground for about 50 miles with locks to about four different levels. The barges they loaded with the iron ore were then moved around the underground canal system by opening and closing sluices to push them along.

Pictured below is the access to the basin on the right although the canal itself turns a sharp left out of the picture. The right hand arm, that is not navigable, takes you into the basin where the tunnels were accessed from. You’ll note the colour of the canal and this is from the dissolved iron ore that comes out of the underground tunnels having flowed though the ore that remains.


And one of Badger Sett giving a truer colour of the water.


We had a few warm days whilst we were in the area and we normally put a large fishing umbrella out for the boys so they can sleep in the shade. Don’t know why we bother though sometimes as they prefer the heat anyway and just keep moving out of the shade when we put it there for them. Anyway, the reason for this is that we lost it (the brolly that is not one of the boys) into the canal with a gust of wind and off it floated with the spike pointing skywards. It was close enough to the bank to reach with a pole though, but the problem was that it was the other bank and it would have been about a mile trek to travel about forty feet. Luckily a little lad came to the rescue with a nippy battery powered boat and crying ‘ I’ll get it for you mister ‘ which he duly did.

I signalled to Nick to give him a quid or two as thanks, but unfortunately something got lost in translation and he ended up with five quid in his little hand. Oh well, he was a nice kid anyway.

Just up from Worsley where’d we’d stopped for a couple of nights is a place called Astley where we stayed for a few more nights. They’re only about two or three miles apart so not much travelling was done which is the way we like it. We’d mainly stopped here as there was a mining museum called Astley Green Pit Museum and it was well worth the few hours we spent there. Since we’ve been on our travels we’ve been to a Salt museum (Northwich) a Silk museum (Macclesfield) and now a Coal museum. All very interesting in their own ways, although the Boys don’t come on tour with us to these so they’re left home alone.

You can just make out the pit head gear of the colliery at the end of the canal and then a close up of it.


They’ve got some large steam turbines on show and a set of hefty spanners named King Dick’s.

Nicky couldn't of course miss the opportunity of trying a King Dick for size so hoisted it up and held it firmly in both hands with what I can only describe as a longing look.


We’re making the best of the canal banks fresh raspberries and blackberries to either go into some of our breakfasts or pies that Nicky does for us. Binks helps us when we’re collecting them although not many of his make it into the bag, but find there way into his tummy instead. We leave him to these as Nicky’s not keen on doggy pee height blackberries anyway, although I always lob a few lower level juicy ones into the bag and what she don’t know don’t hurt her, does it.


We’ve decided to do The Ribble Link whilst we’re up this way that connects the waterway system to the Lancaster Canal. It means travelling on rivers and tidal waters so will be a bit of an experience and I’ll blog about it in a later post. We’re booked to travel up the link on 4th September and return on 10th October so come back and check out how we get on.

And so in signing off,

Day 302 in the Badger Sett Narrowboat - 537 miles and 251 locks further on from when we started.


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