We’d heard rumours that Manchester is a busy place with only one ‘secure’ mooring site at Castlefield, so we weren’t sure how today would pan out. Of course we’d also heard terrible tales of hooligans and such like, from well-meaning fellow boaters, which Barry shrugged off in his ‘cup half full’ way. The amazing thing is that we really haven’t encountered any such problems on the canals, which reminds me of a favourite saying of mine: ‘If you think you can you can, and if you think you can’t you’re right’! I love his positive, 'can do', attitude to life.
Leaving Worsley - Jim and Chris bid us farewell, or so they thought ...
Swanky new 'Boatshed' developments on the outskirts of Worsley
Under a railway bridge and just beyond ... a lighthouse! What's that all about?
... and an old ex Thames 'Director's Inspection Boat' on a trailer
We had a surprisingly exciting day, due to an unexpected bonus …
We cruised through a place called Barton, where there were many boats from the ‘Worsley Cruising Club’ moored. I went to make a cup of coffee and missed my opportunity for fame and fortune as I spotted a Television crew on the canal-side filming, and they shot Barry and the boat as it passed them! He took a picture of them and said “Two can play at that game!”.
As we continued it wasn't very reassuring that the majority of boats moored up had shields on their windows, the first time we’ve seen that since the journey into Coventry.
Wasn't an encouraging look! An old icebreaker boat circa 1905
Shortly afterwards we approached Barton Swing Bridge/Aquaduct, which crosses the Manchester Ship Canal, and were astonished to find it open. Apparently it's a rare event that Barry really wasn’t expecting to encounter, so he was thrilled! We moved the boat right up to the edge of the canal where there was a gate that closes prior to the swing bridge moving into the centre of the Ship Canal, and Barry jumped off to take photos.
Sitting at about 40ft above a canal, on the canal, at a dead end
He needn’t have rushed, we ended up being marooned there for almost two hours as the other swing bridge, which is across a main road, wasn’t working and they had engineers tending to it. Other boats caught us up including Jim and Chris, so we got to pontificate with them once more about life on the canals.
We waited, and waited ...
As it took so long we used the opportunity to eat; it must have been one of the most incredible enforced lunch spots you could possibly imagine, and you certainly wouldn’t be able to book it in advance!
Jim negotiated a few obstacles to reach us at the gate
Eventually the whole thing worked and the waiting ship sailed through. The swing bridges both returned to their places, and the traffic and boats could continue their respective journeys. We felt very privileged to have experienced the event.
Workmen beavering away repairing the road bridge while we had lunch
This bridge, built in 1893, replaced the original aquaduct from 1761. At 235 ft long and 1450 tons it's considered one of the wonders of the canal system visitsalford.info/whattosee/waterways/aqueduct.htm
Awesome spectacle to watch
The ship waited patiently but was off as soon as it was able to
With the bridge swung back into place, they opened the gate on the bridge, then the canal gate and off everyone went - simple!
Of course the road bridge is opened last and closed first 'cause motorists are far more stressed than boaters!
Was a bit of a mini rush hour initially
And so onwards to Manchester, a little later than we’d planned but that’s life.
We couldn't believe what we saw when it passed, complete with rear vision mirror, didn't realise Land Rover made narrowboats!
The approach into the city is actually surprisingly pleasant, and it looks like a thriving hub of warehouses and factories. Of course we passed by Manchester United’s Stadium, which was awesome! Having visited a number of large cities in the time that we’ve been cruising on the boat, we were very impressed with all the buildings along the canal, even the derelict ones were tidy.
Piles of shipping containers in the Manchester/Liverpool colours
We saw a family jump out of the open container and run through the trees No! Only kidding
'Man U' Stadium, right beside the canal
Some bit's of buildings
Photographers paradise, check out Neil Roland whose photography work we saw in town http://www.neilroland.co.uk/
The old and the new
We made it into Castlefield Junction just before 3pm, and were relieved to get a mooring place. We think there may be enough to do here to stop for the bank holiday weekend, unless there’s a restriction on the length of time you can stay.
Not many moorings left
A walk into the Manchester took us to the Information Centre where we collected masses of leaflets and the ever useful map of the city. We spent a few hours walking around seeing all sorts of wonderful things; heaven knows why we’ve been told such negative things about this city, we love it! The variety of people and buildings is immense, such a colourful and vibrant place.
The 'Midlands Hotel' - very elegant, though not sure why they put the plumbing on the outside of the building??
The Town Hall and Gladstone statue - say wasn't he in Blackburn??
The Victoria fountain
Urbis - The Exhibition Centre
The Manchester wheel
Such a city of contrasts, either very old or ultra modern
The pub got a little free entertainment from this old disco relic with his portable CD player who'd encouraged these girls to join him
And to cap it all, it’s Manchester Pride Parade on Saturday! Yaay! Maybe we’ll hand out Northern Pride blog cards there?!
Finished the evening with the view about 20ft away from our mooring
Not too bad aye?!