One of our business offices is located on Salford Quays and a recent visit offered an opportunity to take an hour out to have a look at the place.
I parked up at the Lowry Shopping Outlet and venturted forth into a bighting cold wind coming straight off the snow covered Pennines to the east ( or maybe it was the Urals, the next highest point to the east).
I wasn't too sure what to expect, with my only previous contact being the glimpses one gets from the perspective of the Bridgewater Canal, and a fleeting cameo over the top of Pomona Lock. We did toy with the idea of gaining access to the docks as part of last Easter's South Pennine Ring trip, but in the end thought the better of it and just as well given the slowness of the Huddersfield Narrow and western Rochdale.
Salford Quays walkway
Whilst I am used to the sprawling acres of London's Docklands, Salford Quays way exceeded my expectations. The place is huge and the section occupied by the Lowry and the Imperial War Museum makes up only a small part of it. I had niavely thought I would walk round it but no way. To explore this are one either needs a whole day or a bike, and I had neither.
In the event I explored the northern section, covering maybe a quarter of the circumference. I hadn't realised that it was a whole network of docks with a number of locks between them. Most docks are accessible to boats, although some have been closed off by low bridges. Perhaps the most remarkable thing of all is the quality of the water. It was crystal clear in places, letting you see 10ft down to the bed of the dock. Mind you, one canal bed looks very much like another with the usual scattering of stolen bikes, beercans and shopping trollies in evidence.
Heavy duty mooring hooks
I can see a real appeal in gaining access to this watery wonderland in summer, taking a few days to explore all the basins, sample the local resteraunts and visit all the attractions. One day, when I have time, I have pledged to return with Wand'ring Bark and book a passage through Pomona Locks.
Inner Basin, Salford Quays
As well as the Quays there is also the River Irwell through the city and for the poineering there is the start of the Manchester Bolton and Bury Canal. A veritable smorsgaboard of obscure waterways.