Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Monday, 2 July 2012

Crossing the Manchester Ship Canal again

We stayed in Lymm last night as we had stopped for a look on our way through. It was a dry and quite pleasant evening and we enjoyed a wander round the pretty village.
Bridgewater House,
Village Cross, bedecked in Jubilee bunting, it's Village Festival Week too.
Houses on the Dingle (means wooded valley), beside the river from where the Village gets it's name. (Lymm means running water)

After a disturbed night's sleep, for one of us at least - Himself was snoring loudly, we were up early and set off at 8 o'clock, the weather was cloudy but dry after some heavy showers overnight.
The Bridgewater does not have any locks, so there were none to do today, but we were going to cross the Manchester Ship Canal.
As we went through Sale we passed an old Victorian Linotype Factory beside the canal,
metal printing type was manufactured here, other businesses occupy parts of the building now.
From the other side with a lot of clearance work going on, hope the factory is safe from demolition.
In contrast we then passed some very modern developments, flats and offices, I think.
At the junction known as Water's Meeting we turned left towards Wigan, instead of straight on to Manchester. Now the weathery was showery, so hoods up, hoods down, hoods up, is it really July?
But soon we were at another of the wonders of the waterways, the Barton Swing Aqueduct. 
 On the left you can see the slope which once led the horses to the higher level towpath across the aqueduct.
No-one coming
Look right
Look left
Keep moving slowly across

We were not so lucky as when we came from the other direction last July, we didn't get to see it in action today. But we still enjoyed the experience crossing the Manchester Ship Canal again. Yesterday skulled across on the Thelwall Ferry, today on Tacet using another feat of engineering.  It was built in the1890's in similar style to railway engineering of the time. Gataes slide into place sealing off a trough 235ft long which swings at right angles over a central island in the MSC, allowing the bigger ships through on their journey from Liverpool to Manchester.

At Parrin Lane Bridge where the canal takes a sharp turn, a lighthouse stood in the garden looking over the water! I wonder what we should have been looking out for?
And then to Worsley where the Bridgewater canal started, and so began canalmania in the 1700's.
Francis Egerton the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater built the canal to provide transport of coal from his mines here at Worsley to Manchester, thus cutting the price of coal for the businesses there.  The engineer was James Brindley, and the canal followed the contours of the land and used aqueducts to cross rivers. A new concept and great achievement for the time.
The coal mines were reached by underground canals from two entrances from the Delph,
with a bit of imagination you can work out where they were, each side of the grassy bit in the middle of the picture.
narrow entrance to the Delph from the canal

The canal has an orangey hue here from dissolved iron ore in the water. The building on the left was built as a granary, but never used for that purpose. It was used instead for storing oil for miner's lamps and steam tugs. No wood was used in its construction to reduce the risk of fire, so the materials used were stone, metal and brick.  It has now been converted to luxury apartments.
15 miles, 0 locks, Barton Swing Aqueduct

A bit of summer cheer brightening up the boat.


  1. You are travelling my old stomping grounds. I lived in Old Trafford (and, for a time, in Eccles)and taught in Worsley. The school in which I taught had four houses; three of which were Egerton, Bridgewater and Brindley,

    1. Hopefully bringing back good memories for you.