Sunshine And Torrential Downpours

The weather’s been a trial today, torrential downpours intermittent with bright strong sunshine. We set off with the weather on our side, but it’s been touch and go all along.

We didn’t realise the Mikron Theatre Company was moored the other side of the bridge from us. We’ve not seen any of their plays, though I can remember the enthusiastic waves from the troop when we saw them on the Oxford last summer.

Moored boats, and a fishing competition that seemed to go on and on… slowed down our progress. At 5 bridges we had to tread water while boats got to the bridge hole first. Each of these obstacles was accompanied with a heavy downpour.

Passing under the ‘iconic’ bridge.

At Norbury Junction we topped up the diesel tank with 93 litres diesel @ 59p a litre. (While passing Turner’s Garage at Wheaton Aston, they were advertising diesel at 58.9p). Since we last topped up on the Leeds to Liverpool canal, we’ve travelled 115 miles.

Sorry Rusty but we had to go through a very small tunnel. I believe the tunnel should have been longer, but because the stone had a lot of flaws, bits of the tunnel kept collapsing. In the end the top of the tunnel was removed, leaving a ‘cutting’.

 

We’re now moored up at the bottom of Wheaton Lock.  We moored in torrential rain, though within five minutes the sun was shining once again.

Today we’ve travelled 10.5 miles, with no locks. WiFi is 15Mg, Digital TV signal good.

Cyan Comes Out Of The Water

We’re in Aqueduct Marina on the Middlewich, where yesterday Cyan came out of the water to have the top and bottom bearing replaced on the rudder. While she’s out, we’ll take advantage to have her bottom hull blacked, as it’s costly to have her hauled out of the water.

It looks a bit like Cyan’s in shark infested waters, as she’s steered onto the submerged cradle.

Once secured onto the cradle she’s pulled out of the water.

At this point I was worried about a cup of coffee I’d made just before the Marina’s staff came to start the manoeuvres. I remember I’d only taken a sip out of the cup, before putting it down when the men arrived. I couldn’t remember where I’d left it. The worse scenario was that I’d left it on the table where our laptops were, and that the cup had toppled over, spilling coffee onto the keyboards! Later I was amazed to find the cup still full of coffee on the sink drainer, still in tact, and with no spillage.

The pic shows the ‘mystery’ of the prop and rudder revealed.

Nick gave Cyan a power wash, before placing her on stands, on an area of land.

While she’s out of water, and waiting for the 2 coats of blacking to dry, we’ve got no end of work planned. My ambition for the week is to completely repaint inside the bow/well deck, the stern, and the stern bands of red and cream.

A few months ago, the blue ‘clip together’ plastic matting was lifted from the floor in the front deck, it revealed the plastic ‘feet’ of the matting had broken through the paintwork, resulting in corrosion and rusty areas.

While John worked outside prepping the gunwale, sanding problem areas ready for painting with ‘Andy Russell Gunwale Paint’, I spent a couple of hours yesterday sanding, and treating the rust areas in the well deck with ‘Hydrate 80’. [Note to self: The result is impressive, worth using the Hydrate on other areas.]

The area will then be primed and painted. We’ve also bought some new rubber flooring today.

We might lay the blue plastic tiles on top of the new rubber flooring – depends….

We had a glorious sunset last night! Though our ‘neighbour’ has seen a lot better days!

WiFi is 9Mg, digital TV is good.

Celebrating our First Anniversary; One Year Afloat!

On Friday we left our overnight mooring on ‘Clive Green Visitor Mooring (West)’ to a promising ‘Summer’s Day’.

Leaving behind a boat of holiday makers who were moored after us ‘fender to fender’. Grandparents, parents, and a couple of children were having a great time.

The smell of freshly cut grass is a joy to me, not so for John though as he had a sneezing fit that went on for hours.

The ‘smell’ released from the grass is apparently a ‘signal’ to bug eating insects, that the grass is being killed by bugs eating it. The grass wants the bug eaters, to help it survive ‘the attack’. The smell producing chemical released by the grass is the same chemical dead humans give off when they die. Police dogs are trained to track this chemical/smell when they’re searching for a body. It’s amazing what you can pick up from the Internet, whatever did we do before the ‘Information Highway’? (I’m hoping over time I can forget this bit of information!) (“So am I”, John’s comment!)

If there’s ever a building that needs an award for being sympathetically converted, it’s the ‘Weaverbank Stables’. In days long gone by, this is where horses that pulled canal barges were exchanged and rested.  The stables are now a beautiful home, without it’s original character hardly changing.

After a pleasant journey we’ve now arrived at our destination, Aqueduct Marina. Cyan is being pulled out of the water on Tuesday. The rudder has become loose, and getting gradually more loose since Cyan’s punishing journey through the Huddersfield Narrows. There’s also a nick out of the propeller which will also need repairing. While she’s out of the water she’ll get her ‘bottom blacked’ after having the area pressure washed and descaled.

Today is our anniversary, we purchased Cyan on 27th August 2016, and cruised her on our first journey, some 70 miles and 35 locks from Longport Wharf (Trent & Mersey) to Hinckley Marina (on the Ashby). We’d never really had the helm of a narrowboat before, except for 2 days essential training with Willow Wren. Since then, Cyan has been our home.

I’ve a feeling celebrations are in order today!

Cheers everyone, especially the helpful boaters who’ve taken time and trouble offering their advice to a couple of novices, saving us time, effort and money over the last year. Here’s hoping we can be as helpful to other novices during our next several years afloat.

For friends who’d like to ask us: “Do we regret selling our ‘place in the sun’ for a narrowboat on the Inland Waterways of the UK? The answer has to be from us both, “Not for one moment!”

In our first year, we calculated to have cruised 756 miles (at less than 3 miles per hour), and worked an amazing 562 locks, and countless swing/lift bridges. Think it’s about time we started to cruising canals that have less locks!

We’ve gone as far West to Llangollen Basin, and our most Northern point was Skipton.

Don’t think anyone can say we’ve not ’embraced’ our new way life afloat – well not for a couple of ‘wrinklies’!

Back On Familiar Territory

We thought it strange when 3 boats passed us about 7:00 a.m. this morning. It became obvious why during today’s journey.

After John had dropped off the spent oil at the Middlewich Household Waste Centre, and had been down the weed hatch to remove a plastic bag that had wound itself around the prop., we left our mooring about 10:00 a.m., which was the other side of the Croxton Aqueduct see pic below.

We climbed 4 locks on the T&M, two of which had a lockie helping, before our turning right onto the Middlewich Canal, where we climbed 2 more locks. Due to the congestion at the locks, we realised the ‘early bird’ boaters had been very clever.

We’d barely manoeuvred out of Middlewich Big Lock #75, when we were asked for a tow by the crew of a boat, the boat’s gearbox had failed and they were stranded. They wanted a tow up to Middlewich Bottom Lock #74, and from there they’d be able to pull their stricken boat to the boat yard at Kings Lock. We’d never towed a boat before, but we must have done OK, as we arrived all in once piece.

Coming down the locks was a ‘single handed’ hire boat, one of his party had become ill, and had been taken to hospital by ambulance, his other party member had gone with them. He was in a bit of a state, no doubt he couldn’t concentrate very well.

Sailing out of Middlewich Top Lock #74, the queue of boats to go down the flight was ridiculous.

At Middlewich Junction it was our turn to wait in a ‘bottle neck’! There were four boats ahead of us to climb the first 2 locks on the Middlewich Branch of the Shroppie.

While waiting what can you do except have a nosy around, taking pictures of rusty and stone trains, and wooden owl carvings.

It looks like there’s a market for wood carvers to make sculptures out of tree trunks.

We’re now moored for the day at a lovely spot, high above a gorgeous valley with total peace!

The spot is just after Lea Hall Bridge #22, on the Clive Green Visitor Moorings.

We’re now just over 4 miles away from our destination, at Aqueduct Marina. We need to speak to the management there as Cyan needs some attention.

Today we’ve cruised 4 miles, and worked through 6 locks. WiFi is around 30 Mg, Digital TV is not good.

Our start postcode: CW10 9JH

Our moored postcode: CW10 0LL

Moored Up When It’s Sunny! Are We Mad!

We were going to stay another day at the moorings by the Anderton Boat Lift, it’s a lovely place with a great nature park. It turned out a lovely day weather-wise, and we thought “Why aren’t we cruising?” We should be staying moored when it’s raining, not when the sun’s out.

Due to the amount of walkers enjoying the canal; ambling past Cyan, we had kept the curtains drawn for privacy, and despite the warm sunshine we couldn’t open the hatch for the same privacy reasons. Cyan was also wobbling about due to the water tank being low on water. To top it all we were getting grizzly due to the hire boats ‘roaring’ past. Decision was soon made, and within 5 minutes we were ready to go, despite it being 2:00 p.m. (we like to cruise in the mornings).

Our first port of call was to top Cyan’s tank with water, use the Elsan facilities, and to rid us of our rubbish at the Anderton Services.

We had a pleasant journey, but just to stop us getting complacent we found ourselves cruising through the depressing Northwich Chemical works. We couldn’t help but wonder what they are ‘cooking’ in there. It was a strange coincidence (or was it?) that a black cloud appeared to hang over the place.

Goodness knows what’s coming out of the steam vents. We could feel a faint mist of moisture on our faces as we passed by.

Just after passing this chemical plant, there were C&RT notices informing that HS2 was planned to cross the area, hope it’s planned to go straight through this plant, as it looks like it needs renewing.

We disturbed a crane fishing for it’s dinner, he flew up on a pipe bridge and played the game of ‘when I’m still you can’t see me’!

Passing through Croxton Flash, we envied the mooring this boat had taken. It would have been great to have moored up here, but it seemed a shame to disturb ‘the perfect spot’ for those boaters. It wasn’t until we passed the boat that we saw it was NB Together Forever. The occupants were out enjoying the sun, I shouted “Hinckley Marina”. At that point they recognised us, we’d moored almost next to them last winter in Hinckley Marina. It’s a small world on the cut as we’re finding out! They’re aiming for Middlewich Canal too, so we might see them again.

In the pic below, we’re just about to go under Murder Bridge #177! Can’t find any information about a ‘murder’ on the internet, I’m wondering if it’s about ‘crows’ – like a murder of crows?

We’re now tucked in for the night, just before the narrow aqueduct over the River Dane.

Tomorrow John’s planning to call into the Middlewich Household Waste, which is just a short distance from where we’re moored, in the hope they’ll relieve us of spent oil from an oil change.

Today we’ve cruised over 8 miles, WiFi is 25Mg, Digital TV is very good. (John’s also watched Liverpool qualifying for the Champions League proper, IN STYLE!)

Our start postcode: CW9 6AQ

Our moored postcode: CW10 9JH

Spending Time At The Anderton Lift Visitor Centre

Not sure about the weather, the BBC forecast says it’ll be dry until 6:00 p.m., but who can trust what the weather forecasts say these days? The weather is very unpredictable. When we set off it was ‘long sleeves, and a jacket’ type of weather, but it wasn’t long before the jacket came off.

We wanted to fill the water tank before we entered today’s two tunnels, Cyan handles much better when her tanks are full.  We gave up that plan when we saw how many (hire) boats were moored in the area, making it difficult to get to the water tap.

Though the weather’s dull, we did enjoy the scenery, even glimpsed the Dutton Railway Viaduct.

Cruising along; we caught up with a family on a hire boat, ‘Dad’ was cruising very slow, meaning we followed at tick-over pace, hanging back so we didn’t appear to be ‘bullying’ him.

It wasn’t long before we were at the entrance to Saltersford Tunnel. We arrived at 25 past 10, so we only had to wait 5 minutes until we were allowed to enter the tunnel at half past the hour. Rusty fared a little better in the tunnel, but that was until the teenagers in the hire boat in front of us decided to make ghostly noises. I hugged him all the way through trying to reassure him. Saltersford has a kink in the middle, which made the passage interesting.

The pic below was taken when we left the tunnel, you can just about see the ‘lane’ at the top of the tunnel where the barge horses walked over the length of the tunnel, while the barge was obviously legged through the tunnel.

Almost immediately we were entering Barnton Tunnel, though not before leaving a bit of space between us and the hire boat. There’s almost a 40 deg turn to enter the tunnel, and it’s not easy to see the entrance to ‘line up’ the boat. Whoops, John managed to catch the chimney on the roof, scraping chimney’s ‘hat’ along the ceiling. Luckily the ‘hat’ stayed on. Don’t know exactly what happened to the hire boat in the tunnel, but somewhere about the middle we heard a crashing noise, a bit of shouting, and Cyan was put in reverse to stop us banging into them. They must have sorted themselves out, as they were soon on their way again.

Rusty would be happy if he knew we’ve no more tunnels planned for a while.

We sailed past the Anderton Boat Lift entrance, and then moored up. We might be chilling for a day or two while we explore the visitor’s centre. Or we might not, the world’s our lobster so it’s said!

 

Today we’ve cruised 5 miles, sailed through 2 tunnels, Moored where WiFi is 8Mg, and Digital TV is OK.

Our start postcode: WA4 4LQ

Our moored postcode: CW9 6AQ

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. 🙂 )

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 canalplan.eu). 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
Thanks

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.]