To Worsley (April 21)

Left Lymm in glorious sunshine and had a delightful cruise through Little Bollington to Sale where the canal becomes urban and is very straight. As we got to Dunham Steve noticed a quadruple sculler in the distance. They appeared to be turning, but then they disappeared out of sight. We found out later, when we got to the centre of Sale that is was a crew from the Trafford Rowing Club.

Factory at Broadheath

The canal becomes quite industrialised after Sale. We left the Cheshire Ring at Waters Meeting and headed for Worsley. Shortly after the junction, we suffered a minor incident when a group of school kids crossing a bridge threw a plastic file clip at us!

The section through Trafford Park is fascinating, especially the sweet smells from Kelloggs’ factory and the appalling architecture (if you can call it that) of the Trafford Centre. Why does it have domes like St Paul’s Cathedral and Greek statues?
We then crossed the Barton Swing Aqueduct that crosses the Manchester Ship Canal. The Aqueduct has particular significance for Steve. When he was growing up in Lancashire he came to view the bridge with his parents. He can remember watching a large freighter on its way to Manchester from the West Indies go through the bridge and the crew throwing him a banana. In the early 1950s bananas were quite rare and Steve has always considered that banana to be his very first.

Entering the Barton Swing Aqueduct

Coming from the south the aqueduct comes up quickly just after a corner but the views from the bridge are dramatic. It is shame that there is little or no traffic using the Ship Canal. It would be worth waiting for the bridge to swing.

View of the Manchester Ship Canal and Barton Swing Road Bridge

Barton Swing Aqueduct

Lighthouse at Monton Green Bridge

We moored up in Worsley just after lunch and explored the area. The mines, which triggered Britain’s Canal Building Age look forlorn. It is pity that the Coal Authority has restricted access so much that you can only view the mine entrances from a distance and cannot see where the Starvationers left the mines loaded with coal for transhipment to Manchester. However, Worsley is a charming place and the local Heritage Trail is very informative.

Worsley moorings with Packet House

Packet House, Worsley

Where it all began - Duke of Bridgewater's Mines, Worsley
The entrances to the mines are at the rear of the pool

We had a great early evening meal at the Milan Italian restaurant. We went early to take advantage of their special deal, and it was quiet. However, by the time we left (8.30PM) it was doing a great trade with over 50 covers. For a Tuesday night, that was good business. We were impressed with the meal and the service was very professional. In contrast, the large hotel next door, the Bridgewater Hotel, is closed for business.

Tomorrow we plan to go the Castlefields in Manchester, following Brindley’s first canal; the start of the Canal Age.