Fri 24th June Lymm to Dunham
As it was forecast wet later, we set off early to avoid the rain, and quietly to avoid waking sleeping boaters. Our first stop was in less than a mile, by bridge 24, to empty cassettes. Thankfully the elsan unit was unlocked, as it was still early.
Soon after that we passed the old buildings at Agden Wharf, and we had a look out for the oyster catcher family we had seen twenty days earlier on the roof of a building. We saw one adult and one youngster, much bigger than before. The second youngster was not in sight. We guessed it had been had by a predator as there was nowhere to hide on the roof.
Canalside buildings at Agden Wharf
Oyster Catcher with young
We passed our previous mooring at Bollington Underbridge, as we had plans to visit Dunham Massey, but wanted to explore Dunham Town a little further on. We stopped shortly before bridge 27.
Moored at Dunham
Rain started soon after we stopped, as had been forecast.
Later three large vessels went past, heading for Lymm. We had seen two of them on the Weaver. They must have travelled down the Weaver onto the Manchester Ship Canal at Weston Marsh Lock, then up the MSC to Pomona Lock to get onto the Bridgewater. The third was a Leeds & Liverpool short boat. They were all heading for the Festival of Transport at Lymm.
Leeds and Liverpool short boat
The weather brightened up later on and there was a bit of a sunset. James went for a short walk along the towpath to see who was there. He heard two tawny owls and a little owl in the trees, but didn’t see them.
Hugo drew our attention with some miaowing on the back deck. He had brought us a small vole as a present.
0 locks, 4 miles, 1 mouse
Sat 25th June Dunham
We had another wet morning and we had planned to stay another night. However, we found out later that although on CRT waters, mooring on the towpath is allowed for 14 days, on the Bridgewater Canal it is only permitted for 24 hours. It would be nice to know the purpose of this rule.
In the afternoon, when the rain had stopped, we went for a walk round the grandly named Dunham Town, which has a church, a pub, half a dozen houses and a couple of farms. We noticed that every building except the pub had the woodwork painted in the same brownish red colour, suggesting that they were all one estate, presumably part of Dunham Massey. We found a farm shop, but they had no courgettes, which we would have liked.
The only pictures today were an experiment with taking photos through the binoculars. The zoom on the camera I use (which is a Sony Xperia phone) is not much use, going very fuzzy. The picture through the binoculars is only slightly better, but the blur may be down to camera shake, particularly as it was late evening and low light, so the exposure took longer.
Through the binoculars
No boating today
Sun 26th June Dunham Massey to Sale
We started early to make sure we could find somewhere to moor in Sale to visit a church we had seen online. It was just over three miles away, which took an hour. We had to avoid canoes, which were out and about, timing themselves on the straight length of canal.
We moored by Walton Park Leisure Centre, with one rope tied to railings, and the other to a mooring pin. The canal is lined with large stones and it difficult to get mooring spikes in, but we discovered that the secret is to locate the spike in line with the crack between the stones, about two feet back from the edge.
We walked to the Life Centre, where LifeChurch Manchester is located. This is in a large modern building, apparently replacing the previous Victorian structure, which started out as Sale Baptist Church. We had a good welcome with several people coming to say hello. The worship team were good, with concise harmonies. Some songs we did not know, which we discovered were penned by the worship leader, Jamie Hill. The preacher spoke about suffering, from 1 Peter 4.
After a pleasant time over coffee and cake, we walked back to the boat and moved a mile further on to Sale Bridge, where we tied up using exactly the same ring and railings we had used last time. We picked up something on the propeller as we used reverse gear, and had to pull the stern in using a rope. We had a late Sunday roast in the King’s Ransom opposite the mooring. Not very good. I think they suffer from honeypot location syndrome, with a steady source of new customers.
The pub and the mooring
We visited Sainsbury’s and Aldi before returning to the boat. The next job was to free the propeller. There was a sweater there, plus lots of assorted plastic bags.
We moved a little further along the canal, to a place where there was a high wall to cut out noises, and a narrow strip of bracken for Hugo. We had more heavy rain later.
0 locks, 5 miles
Mon 27th June Sale to Leigh
Overnight mooring in Sale
Our departure this morning was fairly leisurely, as we only planned a two hour cruise to Worsley. We passed under the M60 motorway, and a line of boats moored opposite Watch House Cruising Club.
Stretford Marine Services was the next stop, where we took on diesel and water, and emptied cassettes and rubbish bins. This place is kept very clean and tidy.
Stretford Marine Services
At Waters Meeting a right turn would have taken us into Manchester. We turned left to go north and in about two miles we passed the Trafford Centre (without stopping for shopping).
Soon after this the Bridgewater Canal crosses the Manchester Ship Canal on the Barton Swing Aqueduct, a most unusual feature of the waterways, opened in 1893. It holds 800 tons of water when it is sealed at both ends before swivelling on an island in the Ship Canal to allow large vessels to pass. Today it wasn’t being swung, so we were able to cruise straight through. Downstream to the left is the road swing bridge.
Stop plank crane and the aqueduct
The canal passes through some industrial areas, with a road immediately alongside. By Bridge 50 there appears to be a lighthouse, which apparently is a folly. Opposite is a pub now called the Waterside Restaurant. It used to be the Barge Inn, and in 1997 on the delivery voyage of Lystra, our first boat, we were passing here going south. The landlord was leaning on the railings outside the pub, and James said “Terrible news this morning isn’t it?” “Oh, what’s that then?” “Haven’t you heard? Princess Diana has been killed in a road accident.” The look of shock on his face was memorable.
The colour of the water was getting redder as we approached Worsley. We passed new canalside housing and a boatyard and dry dock with historic boats before reaching Worsley where we stopped for lunch.
We had planned to stop here for the night, but with all the talk of boats not being welcome, we decided to move on and leave the Bridgewater Canal. We set off once more, passing the entrance to the mines, where the water was at its reddest.
We had hoped to visit the coal mining museum at Astley but it is not open on Mondays. There were a lot of water lilies on this section, with at least four varieties.
We reached the end of the Bridgewater at Leigh, where there are several large mills, and the final Bridgewater Canal stop plank crane. We moored for the night opposite a pub which looked good later, with decorative lights
An old mill at Leigh
0 locks, 13 miles
Next: On to Wigan and then Sunday in Burscough