Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Thursday, 14 July 2011

The Oldest Swinger in Town

Yesterday we had a very exciting time. We planned to make several stops on the way into Manchester to view canally things. Leaving Leigh the canal changes hands from Leigh Branch, Leeds and Liverpool to Bridgewater Canal. It was noticeable that the banks and towpath were not so neatly kept. Bridgewater Canal is owned privately not managed by BW. 
1st stop was at Astley Green.
Unfortunately being Wednesday, not Tuesday, Thursday or Sunday it wasn't open. Got a good picture of the pit head gear though.
Next stop Worsley, where the mines owned by the Duke of Bridgewater can be found, giving the canal it's name and it's reason for being built here.  
The old canal basin known as The Delph, there were 2 entrance tunnels into the mines. You can just make them out in the photo.
The magnificent packet house, built as several different houses and used in trading goods. The steps leading down for loading and also for passengers taking trips along the canal and into the mines.
The next stop was to be at Barton to take a look at the Swing Aqueduct. Imagine how excited we were to see this as we approached...
The aqueduct was turning.  So we tied up quickly and went to get a closer look.
The canal stops abruptly and the aqueduct is now swung open pivoting in the centre on an island in the middle of the Manchester Ship Canal.
The road bridge open too, making an open passage for the big ships.
The canal should be overhead. The black metal is the gate which closes off the canal chamber.
There's the 'big ship' going through, unfortunately on the other side of the island to us.
Mind your head Ian, it's coming back!
Just checking it's in place.
Winding the sluices open again.
Now we can cross, 

Are you brave enough to look over the edge?
Road bridge back in position too.

The main control tower on the island between the two bridges.
We couldn't have timed it better!
Then on into Manchester to moor at Castlefield Junction.
12 miles, 0 locks, 1 impressive swing aqueduct.


  1. I used to live and teach within a short stroll of the Bridgewater; closer to Barton Bridge than to Worsley, but we would sometimes walk up to the basin. By my understanding, it was the first canal in the country, constructed by engineer James Brindley.

  2. You're right H, this was the canal that started it all off. We enjoyed the small part of it we have been on. While we were there we saw a group of school children visiting the sights of Worsley having been brought along the canal on a boat and then departed same way, but not sure how far they had come. Good to see them enjoying the canal and learning all about it. Hope they will learn to love and respect its heritage and not abuse it.