Change of Plans - to Lymm (April 24)

Yesterday we spent a full day in Manchester. The morning was spent cleaning the boat, which was beginning to look a little grubby after its long journey north.

Mooring at Castlefields

Three of the four railway bridges at Castlefields

Late in the morning the GRP cruiser Dancer, from Coventry, arrived in the basin. They took on water and moored-up behind us. They, like us, were planning to go up the Ashton to the Peak Forest and Macclesfield canals. However, they had recently been in touch with BW and found that there was an unscheduled stoppage on the Ashton Canal. Apparently, a large wire had been caught under a lock gate and it had badly damaged a sill. We hoped that it would be cleared by Friday because we had planned to pick up Steve’ s cousins half-way up the Ashton flight for a trip on Albert. However, late in the afternoon, we found out that the flight would be closed until at least Tuesday (April 28) when BW plan to issue an update. BW is planning to dewater part of the flight to make the repairs and needs Environment Agency approval to do this. Because of our commitments at home, we cannot wait until Tuesday to find out what is happening so we decided to change our cruising plans. We are now not doing the Cheshire Ring but returning home the way we came. However, we will definitely try to explore the Caldon Canal; it was on our reserve list.

This is the first time since we began serious boating in 1996 that we have had to change our cruising plans so we cannot really complain. We just hope that this is not the start of a run of bad luck.

Pevril of the Peak pub, Manchester

Detail of the fine tiles, Pevril of the Peak pub, Manchester

Tonight we are at Lymm again. So what happened in the meantime?

Well yesterday afternoon we went around the Art Gallery in Manchester and viewed the Leonardo Da Vinci drawings. In the evening, we went to a Halle orchestra concert in Bridgewater Hall. They played a programme consisting of Schubert's 5th symphony, Haydn's Sinfonia Concertante, and the Franck symphony. We really enjoyed it. The acoustics in the hall are particularly good.

Today we met up with Steve’s cousins who cam in from Rochdale and Diggle. They cruised with us to Sale where they caught the Metro home. It was great meeting up with them. Just before we left Castlefields, the ex-Cowburn & Cowpar boat Swallow arrived. Steve helped her manoeuvre onto the water point, wind, and then moor up behind us. We were treated to a tour of the back cabin and engine room of Swallow by the ownedr David Lowe. Like many other working boats, she had been at the Easter gathering at Ellesmere Port.

NB Swallow

A well polished National, NB Swallow

Swallow's unsusally shaped counter

Back cabin of Swallow

Hand bowl and soap holes