Monday, 12 September 2011

Summer/Autumn Cruise 2011 (Week 4)

Summer/Autumn Cruise 2011 (Week 4)

Monday September 12th
Dover Lock Bridge moorings to Worsley Bridge
Day 22

Up early and out with the dogs for their morning constitutional walk. Met up with a non to friendly long haired Alsation. However it must be said the owner was of no better disposition. A boat moored further along the bank Nb Lucy Anne set off just before us. We were under way by 9am.

A warm but very blustery morning with the wind causing problems with the stove. We had quite a number of showers during the night. The clouds are now scudding along and I imagine that the wind will make the boating a bit more interesting.

This section of the Leeds Liverpool canal (Leigh Branch) runs for some distance on top of an embankment and so we were really exposed to the wind at times. Only one near miss when approaching a bridge hole we caught something on the prop. By 10:15, I was down the weed hatch removing a fisherman’s keep net that was wrapped around the prop. Quarter of an hour later I had removed the net and also freed up a few fish that were still trapped inside.

No more locks for the Memsahib for a few days, but we should encounter a few swing bridges. Plank Lane lift bridge was manned, so that was a most welcome help from the prevailing winds. However the Memsahib still had to push off the front so that we could get going. We passed Nb Lucy Anne again at this point.

I winced inside as the Memsahib spotted an Aldi and could not resist the need to go shopping. “I only need a few things” she said as she unpacked the granny trolley from the cratch!!! An hour later she returned looking like a Bedouin Donkey.

The Bridgewater Canal connects Runcorn, Manchester and Leigh, in North West. It was commissioned by Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, to transport coal from his mines in Worsley to Manchester. It was opened in 1761 from Worsley to Manchester, and later extended from Manchester to Runcorn, and then from Worsley to Leigh.

The canal is connected to the Manchester Ship Canal via a lock at Cornbrook, the Rochdale Canal in Manchester, the Trent and Mersey Canal at Preston Brook and to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Leigh. It once connected with the River Mersey at Runcorn but has since been cut.

Often considered to be the first "true" canal, it required the construction of an aqueduct to cross the River Irwell, one of the first of its kind. Its success helped inspire a period of intense canal building, known as "canal mania". It later faced intense competition from the Liverpool and Manchester Railway and the Macclesfield Canal. Navigable throughout its history, it is one of the few canals in Britain not to have been nationalised, and remains privately owned. Pleasure craft now use the canal which forms part of the Cheshire Ring network of canals.

We left the Leeds Liverpool Canal at Bridge 11 to join the Bridgewater Canal on our cruise towards Manchester where we hope to spend a few days in the basin area. I was soon down the weed hatch again this time to remove an Onion sack from the prop. Whilst I was busy down the hole, Nb Lucy Anne passed us again.

There were a large number of fruit trees on the off side along the first part of the Leeds Liverpool canal (Leigh branch) to the Bridgewater canal. If the wind had been much reduced we would have shoved the nose in and helped ourselves to apples and plums from the bow.

We eventually gave best to the wind and at about 2pm sheltered for the day at Worsley Bridge. Moored next door to us is Nb Lucy Anne who we were moored with last night at Dover Lock bridge. We saw Mrs Hyacinth Bucket (last seen on the Wigan Flight) again at Worsley! However, we managed to avoid her much as Mrs Buckets postman tries to do the same.

I checked for bats from the back of the boat as the wind was blowing a gale. It should come as no surprise to find that there were not any bats around.

Daily Total
Distance: 9.5 Miles.
Locks: 0
Swing / Lift Bridges: 1
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1874.4

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