Through Preston Brook Tunnel

Yesterday we left our mooring by ‘Matthew Corbett’s house’ (thank you Pip and Carol) and gently wound our way to Stockton Quay Bridge #15.

Once moored, we got ready for Sunday Lunch with good friends we hadn’t seen for a while, Sue and Matt. They arrived with gifts too, a gorgeous port pie, a pot of caramelised onion chutney, and a pot of piccalilli, all from ‘The Pork Pie and Pickle Company, Great Sankey, Warrington’. You’re right Sue, the pork pie was amazing! Boy did we enjoy it, we had some for supper last night, and the rest for lunch today. (Thank you for yesterday, we had a great time! X)

With being moored only metres from Thorne Chandlery & Boat Services, and being low on water, we half filled (because the flow was slow) Cyan’s water tank. Then we were on our way, after registering Thorne’s diesel price was 69p litre.

But before we left, we had a brief chat with Nigel from Thorne who explained the requirements for Boat Safety Certification. He was very informative, and we discovered the location of our ‘Fuel Tank Vent’. Under the cap on the top of the red dolly is an anti-flame filter that must be inspected, and in place to prevent a flash fire. You learn something new every day!

I know we shouldn’t be nosy, peeking into passing gardens, but just had to snap this sculpture of an eagle or a hawk, carved out from a tree trunk. (Wish our camera was better!)

We passed slowly through a fishing competition, and it looked very competitive too judging by the black looks we got from the fishermen. “I’ve been ****** double boated twice today!”, exclaimed one competitor. I prefer this type of ‘fisherman’ below!

As we were passing, we called into Midland Chandlers which has got quite a good selection of cookers on display. Cyan’s galley doesn’t really work for us, but we said we’d live with it through the summer before finally deciding exactly what we want. It’s now getting pretty desperate as the burner in the oven packed up a couple of weeks ago, resulting in NO ROASTS! So while we were passing, I thought it would be good to see their range ‘in person’.

(Anyone handy that would like an oven that needs a repair? The grill works fine. The model is Country Leisure Midi Prima).

It was high time we bought a spare sealer for a Thetford cassette (just in case), a tube of silicon grease for the sealer, and two brass ‘T Studs‘. I hate watching John climb onto the bow to secure the mooring rope. Being over 70, he doesn’t ‘bounce’ like he used to, though he won’t admit it! I’ve finally talked him into buying two T Studs, and having them fitted on each side of the bow for easy access. They are the bolt on type, so expect there will be the sound of happy drilling soon!

We’ve now ‘cruised’ out of the Bridgewater, and are back on the C&RT’s Trent & Mersey. What a beautiful canal the Bridgewater is, we’ve really enjoyed its company!

This is us passing out of Preston Brooke Tunnel.

Rusty did his normal ‘jelly’ impression in the tunnel. I held him tightly and rubbed his chest, while he trembled. We’ve got 2 more tunnels to pass through tomorrow. In comparison, Preston Brook Tunnel is 1239 yards long, tomorrow we’ve Saltersford Tunnel which is 424 yards long, and Barnton Tunnel which is 572 yards long.

We’re now moored just past Dutton Wharf Bridge #212 on rings.

Today we’ve travelled almost 8 miles, through a 1239 yard tunnel, and one stop lock. WiFi is 25Mg, and Digital TV isn’t very good!

(For the benefit of Sue and Matt, because they find it difficult to keep track of our journey, we’ll add postcodes. ūüôā )

We started today at postcode WA4 5BH, mooring at postcode WA4 4LQ.


Shopping Problems, Tesco Helps

Our food cupboards were getting desperate, we had planned to stock up at Aldi, by the Waterside Inn, just before the last bridge on the Leigh Arm of the L&L, but the moorings were taken.

So plan B: This involves Google Maps, and searching for a suitable place where Tesco can deliver without causing any problems with the locals.

We found such a place in Lymm: ¬†Just over the bridge, off ‘New Rd’, there’s a place for the Tesco van to deliver.

Last evening my shopping list was loaded onto the Tesco website, so that when we moor up at the ‘identified’ mooring, we can inspect the area just to make sure there’d be no problems, then we can book a delivery slot, and order the provisions.

We left our mooring at Dunham Massey, and cruised down the canal until we arrived at the designated spot just before Lymm Bridge #23.

Luckily all appeared to be as we thought. So I went ahead and booked a slot. Firstly I had to create a ‘new delivery address’ and added the postcode of the bridge (according to Tesco’s website then asks which property, unfortunately there’s no ‘Lymm Bridge #23’ in the ‘drop down’ menu! ¬†Though there is an address for the ‘Golden Fleece’, so I chose that!

Then I chose a slot, and I was delighted to find that the Tesco in this area are doing a ‘same day’ delivery. I chose the earliest slot, 7:00 p.m.

In the ‘Delivery Instructions’ there’s a text box. In the box I typed:

DO NOT DELIVER TO THE GOLDEN FLEECE! We are on a narrowboat named Cyan. With the pub behind you, go over Lymm Bridge and turn immediate right. We are moored up under the bridge – just like a troll! Call if you need help Tel: xxxxxxxxxx

Just before 7:00 p.m. John wandered over the bridge and saw the Tesco delivery van in the Golden Fleece’s car park. The delivery driver had climbed down the steps onto the canal (on the left of the bridge ‘see pic above’) and was looking for Cyan. John shouted out “Mr Tesco”, and the driver turned around, and raced back to his van. After re-reading the instructions, he was full of apologies for not reading the instructions carefully.

Within minutes the driver was passing crates of food through the hatch, straight into the galley where I was quickly unloading the goodies.

The delivery man was a really nice guy, and asked if he could take a picture of Cyan to pass on to Tesco head office as they like to hear of ‘unusual’ deliveries.

After shoehorning the provisions into the gallery, and all over the pullman, we sailed Cyan around the corner to the other side of the bridge where we’re presently moored up, at this gorgeous mooring. Here I put everything away, into the many storage spaces, as you do…

The gentleman of this house, in the pic, is very pleasant, and even asked if Tesco had delivered on time! His garden is amazing!

This is the other side of the canal, by the garden of the ‘Golden Fleece’, and where the Tesco Delivery man was looking for Cyan.


This morning the rain was torrential, intermittent with squally showers – we decided to stay put for the day!

Tomorrow we’ve about 4 miles to cover to get to Stockton Quay Bridge. We’ve arranged to meet friends there, and have booked Sunday lunch at the pub. ¬†Hope the weather behaves!

Yesterday we travelled 4 miles, no locks. WiFi is 13 Mg, brilliant Digital TV.

Had To Visit “The Field Of Dreams”

We left our pretty moorings at Worsley. Weather outlook looked brilliant!

Winding our way through Patricroft.

We soon found ourselves sailing over Barton Lane Overbridge, just in front of the Aqueduct. Rusty’s right ear nearly always appears to get ‘in’ on the picture.

This is our entrance to the famous Barton Swing Aqueduct.

Wear and tear of history just oozes.

Looking at the mechanism, and wondering if they are safe!

Then it’s WOW! And the colly-wobbles start! That’s Manchester to the left….

Looking to the right, overlooks the Barton Swing Road Bridge, and the Thelwall Viaduct in the distance.

Can’t believe we’re sailing in a large bath!

The aqueduct pivots on an island in the middle of the Manchester Ship Canal and swings full of water, 800 tons of it. The aqueduct is considered an engineering masterpiece. It’s one of the engineering feats of the waterway world, and it attracts navigational enthusiasts from all over the world.

Built between 1893 and 1894 to replace Brindley’s 3 arch aqueduct of 1761. The bridge is literally an iron bath 18 feet wide, 7 feet deep, and 235 feet long. The bath/tank/trough is full of water, it sits on roller bearings, and is driven by hydraulic machinery, supplied by electrically powered pumps.

Here’s YouTube of the aqueduct in motion:

Leaving the Barton Swing Aqueduct.

After a short sail, we could have stopped to visit the Trafford Centre – there are moorings should we have wanted to stop. If I was dressed up for it, if the weather wasn’t so good, and if we weren’t on mission to see the ‘Field of Dreams’, I might have spent the rest of the day in there….

There is an unpleasant smell in the atmosphere and we soon discovered it was the Kellogg factory. The smell seemed to be with us for quite a while. I felt sorry for those who lived in the area, and had to live with this smell – perhaps they don’t notice it anymore? It wasn’t a pleasant toasty smell, as I’d imagined it would be.

We’d planned to turn left at ‘Stretford, Waters Meet’ (wonder why it’s not called a ‘junction’?), just for a little peek at ManU’s Old Trafford – it would be rather rude to be so near, yet not visit!

Here’s Cyan, paying homage!

Carrying on from United’s stadium, we went under ‘Throstle Nest Bridge’ – bit of a coincidence, but I don’t think there’s any connection here with ‘The Baggies’.

We passed, a Water Taxi, it was going quite a lick too.  

Passing by the Manchester Ship Canal, and I’m thinking Salford Quays is beyond…

… as we’ve just passed the TV Centre at Salford Quays. I’m sure we’d get good digital TV here!

At the ‘colourful’ Pomona lock that goes onto the Ship Canal, we turned/winded Cyan.

Travelling past the tram station.

Here we are, back again at ‘Waters Meet’, where we turned left to continue our journey.

We passed through Sale, where the canal is as straight as a die!

We passed a ‘birthday’ boat!

It’s been a thoroughly enjoyable day today! Eventually we moored in the countryside, next to a wooden bench where we ended the day with a bottle of something very nice. (Well that doesn’t sound good does it? But in this instance, it’s true!)

I should also add we moored at Dunham Massey – the medieval seat of the ‘Massey Barons‘!

Today we’ve cruised 13 miles, no locks. WiFi 5 Mg, Digital TV not good.

Hello Bridgewater Canal!

We woke to a glorious day, on this beautiful canal, the Leigh Arm of the Leeds to Liverpool.

We said ‘good bye’ to our neighbours who had ‘kindly’ woken Rusty at 5 this morning!

Passing a very busy swan who was concentrating on her morning preening.

We are cruising in an area where coal mining was the main industry. We can now only imagine what this area must have looked like.

Each coal/slag area has been replaced with ‘flashes’ or lakes. With all the recreational facilities on these expanses of water, it must look like utopia to the old miners and bargees that worked and lived in this area.

Personally there’s a ‘belonging feel’ about this area, I had a relative on my mother’s side who was a coal bargee on this stretch. Though the family didn’t live on the boats here, as they did in the Midlands. On my father’s side there are generations of coal miners, the first generation coming from Mold, Wales, about 1800 to work in the Leigh coal mines. My grandmother was in fact born in Leigh.

Sharp eyed John spotted a winding head. It wasn’t working of course, yet it looked like a ‘ghost’ from a by-gone age.

It’s the first time we’ve seen this type of wharf, the wharf has ‘bay areas’ giving the side a jagged edge.

On this stretch, the water is definitely a different colour. We’re imagining the area is rich in iron ore.

We arrived at the Plank Lane lift bridge around 10:30 a.m., well outside the rush hour restrictions. There was no sign of ‘John 2’, and we didn’t expect we’d see him.

John manned the electric lift bridge, and I took Cyan through. With the sharp wind that was blowing, I was pleased there was a narrow ‘throat’ leading to the the bridge. It kept Cyan ‘still’ while the automatic procedure worked its sequence of sounding an alarm, turning traffic lights red to stop the traffic, dropping traffic barriers, then lifting the bridge. Obviously when Cyan had passed through, the sequence set off again, though in reverse, eventually John’s waterway key was released.

The picture is looking back at the lift bridge.

By the lift bridge a new marina is being built, along with a new housing estate. It’s great to see the canal is a feature in the architecture.

The new houses have solar panels incorporated into the roof. Sad they couldn’t do the same with satellite dishes, and burglar alarms. I’m sure one day every house will be like a pod, generating its own energy, rather like narrowboats.

The picture below is not very clear, but this sculpture looks like a book standing on its end, its constructed with old lock gates.

Remains of an old railway bridge, tidied up, with a grass planted on top.

Eventually we came to the end of the Leigh Arm of the L&L, the cruise was nothing as we imagined, it was beautiful, and it’s thoroughly recommended.

Before we passed onto the Bridgewater we’d planned to stop by the ‘Waterside Inn’ where there’s an Aldi next to the mooring; our cupboards are getting bare. When we arrived we were disappointed to find all the moorings were taken. It wasn’t convenient to moor on the other side of the canal, using the bridge, as the bridge was on a busy road, and the door to Aldi was rather far to carry bags of shopping. So we moved on, to formulate another plan later.

Hello the Bridgewater!

The entrance to the Bridgewater is understated, and its without a stop lock. Basically we sailed under Leigh Bridge #11, coming out of the Bridge and onto the Bridgewater. On the Bridgewater side there’s a lovely wooden sculpture of two arms linking, one ‘arm’ is the Broadwater and one is the L&L.

We passed the new bridge, which looks to be still under construction. We had been told (unconfirmed) the original bridge had been pulled down, and that bit of the canal filled in, a temporary road was placed on top, This bit of road was used by contractors building the new estate that’s close by.¬†¬†The work had stopped boats passing through the length of the Bridgewater for several months.

It’s lovely to see, what was an old derelict wharf, planted up and made into a peaceful garden.

We arrived at our mooring at Worsley Delph. Unbelievable to think the Canal went underground to carry coal from the coal face and drainage water out of the mines. Here’s more information.

Our mooring’s at a lovely setting, in the middle of Worsley, and right next to a small memorial park.

Mooring right next to us was the ‘Water Womble’!

The Water Womble works up and down the Bridgewater, collecting rubbish from the canal.

A member of the crew explained to John about the history of the ‘Water Womble’, it appears an owner of a trip boat was so fed up, and embarrassed over the rubbish in the canal, that after he moored up his trip boat, he went out on another boat to collect the rubbish. Eventually, over 20 years ago, he bought the ‘Water Womble’, employing staff to collect the rubbish. Nowadays, I believe the Water Womble is paid by the owners of the canal.

When the owner first bought the ‘rubbish collecting’ boat, children in the area would throw things at it, they didn’t like it. Until he came up with the idea of calling it a ‘Water Womble’, and painting a womble on the front. Children now love it, and look out for it and throw their rubbish ‘into’ the boat! What a great idea for a Franchise Operation on other canals? How about it CRT?

It looks to be very successful too as the Bridgewater canal is pristine!

Worsely is in bloom, making it a lovely place to visit.

Today we’ve travelled 10 very enjoyable miles. WiFi is barely available, and only a small digital TV signal.

[NB: We’ve now started on our ‘new’ mini journey, which will take us from the start of the Leigh Arm on the Leeds to Liverpool Canal, and ending at Aqueduct Marina on the Middlewhich Canal; the journey will be 64 miles, and will transit through 9 locks, one lift bridge, and the Anderton Boatlift.]