Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Thelwall to Manchester (Castlefields)

Thelwall to Manchester (Castlefields)
Bridgewater Canal
Easter 2020 - part 10
9th April 2010

21 miles - 7 hours

A glorious day, the wamest of the year so far.

Just as I was tentatively stripping down to a tee shirt and replacing my fleece lined trousers with some regular jeans around the corner came a boat complete with a bronzed lady  on the roof clad only in a bikini top and shorts. It's warm, not not that warm.

Barton Swing Aqueduct

Whilst this was a no lock day, the flat Bridgewater Canal does have a plethora of aqueducts and therfore involved numrous stops to capture images for my on line  collection. Actually, they are called underbridges hereabouts which is a very practical and accurate alternative description. I photographed 10 aqueducts in all if you count the Barton Swing aqueduct, to which we made a diversion to pay homage. Our excursion over the Manchester Ship Canal wasnt without incident as I sort of crashed when turning and for some inexplicable reason the Morse control went incredibly stiff. It was near impossible to put the boat into forward or reverse so the assemby was dismantled and engine oil was poured down the cable sheaths. This didnt completely cure the problem but it was loads better and there appeared to be nothing seriously wrong. I suspect that a cable is fraying inside its sheath and that at some point it will fail - time will tell.

Manchester Ship Canal

Whilst there were very few boats on the move, the spring sun brought the towpath walkers out in droves and the waterside parks in Sale were rammed with pasty white flesh seeking exposure to the first rays of the year.

Worn bollard at Barton Swing Aqueduct

We had hoped to gain access to Salford Quays via Pomona Lock but a call to the Bridgewater Canal Co soon put paid to ths ambition. In short, no we can go into the docks - not till May the 1st at any rate. The cruising season into the docks and the Irwell is limited to May to Sepember with no exceptions, so that is an adventure which will have to wait for another visit.

Itchy Feet at Castlefields

We motored into Castlefields at 5.00pm, passing Alwyn Ogbourn on his "Itchy Feet", a boat we saw being fitted out beside the Hudersfield Narrow Canal last Easter. Alwyn was busy working on the boat and judging by the amount of exposed wiring he was having a few teething problems, in addition to the three tons of ballast he had to add to the bows to get the trim right.

The Manchester Hilton (and Wand'ring Bark)

Castlefields is an excellent city centre mooring and we opted for the well populated southern arm near the Old Grocers Warehouse in preference to the noisier Potato Wharf where "Irwell" runs its generator all evening and its poorly baffled exhaust causes a racket to echo off the railway viaduct arches overhead.

Manchester Castlefields

Whilst I feel fairly safe in Castlefields, there is an ever present threat of having ones ropes untied so, like other boaters, we also padlocked Wand'ring Bark to one of the rings for good measure.


Halfie said...

Great pictures, as always, but isn't there one missing?

Captain Ahab said...

You want the bronzed beauty dont you?
Sadly If the sight of her wasnt startling enough her husband, who was steering, was grinning from ear to ear at mt undisguised amazement - and all thoughts of photographs went clean out of my head!
Sorry, a missed opportunity.

Sorry about your boating travails - I am sure an even better one awaits you around the next bend.