Friday, 24 September 2010

A Long (but Warm) Day - Abram to Wigan; Winding Problems; Return to Little Bollington

Woke up to a cold morning on Friday 17th - only 3 degrees at 06:00.
We had originally intended to drop down the 2 locks into Wigan Junction to turn but changed our minds when the lift bridge operator told us yesterday that BW were reopening part of the Leeds and Liverpool canal that afternoon and we thought that the junction may be too busy...
... so here we are in the warm sunshine approaching the end of our current journey to Wigan - a lovely peaceful scene
the last winding hole (click here for Granny Buttons explanation of a winding hole) at Bamfurlong before Poolstock Locks and Wigan. Because of the trees here it was difficult to see where the 'V' was and George decided that just to the left of the middle growth would be where we put the bow (front end) of RnR.  I was standing in the bow at the time when I realised that we were very definitely 'in deep sh ... mud' at the same time George had realised that he was also in the same situation aft (back of the boat).  Fortunately he could step off onto the bank and he and a kind tow-path walker tried to pull us round using the stern (back) rope, but to no avail, so they pulled the stern back in the direction that we had arrived and we started to reverse back down the canal as there were several winding holes between here and Plank Lane Lift Bridge.
This is us going through the next winding hole at Dover Bridge after realising that it would be impossible for us to turn here as there are boats moored at the top of the hole and what looks like a sunken cruiser (see below) just to the right of the 'V' - remember we are in reverse (going backwards - that is)
not to be tangled with!
continuing our backward journey having passed Dover Lock Inn - this is the spot where we moored on the way up.  We did manage to wind at the next winding hole near Smiths Bridge thank goodness as we knew that the last winding hole just before Gerrards Bridge was the one in which NB Kingfisher was sunk (see above). We had travelled for 2 miles in reverse gear - and won't hear a word said against bow-thrusters.
Now travelling in the normal fashion with the stern following the bow we leave Plank Lane Lift Bridge ...
... the friendly operator lowers the bridge, lifts the traffic barriers and crosses back to his office ...
... he has been operating the bridge for 25 years and is retiring next year ...
... and not a day too soon as this is the new marina in the making, the entrance of which is very close to the bridge and will create a lot more work for his successor! 
passing through the lovely Pennington Flash
with the bright (nearly hot) sun shining on the houses on the outskirts of Leigh
a smile from Common Lane Bridge 9
where we had moored on the journey up
an unusual church tower in the distance
Leigh Bridge marks the end of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal
(with enough traffic cones underneath to stop the traffic on the M6!) - what wonderfully clear water though!!
and also marks the start of the Bridgewater on this side
past Astley Green Pit Museum
Vicars Hall Bridge ...
... looks very precariously balanced
Phyllis May II - owned by Terry and Monica Darlington (of Narrowdog to Carcassonne fame) moored at Bridgewater Marina, Boothstown Basin
the water changes colour as we approach the M6 at Worsley
a paddling pigeon under the M6!
through Worsley Bridge - sharp turn right for us
past the Packet House on our left ...
... and the entrance to the Delph mines.
Old working boats at Worsley Dry Docks
Bridgewater Mill building now houses a variety of businesses
once again over Barton Aqueduct swing bridge ...
... and this is what you really call a fly over - over the Manchester Ship Canal
... and what's this?
... the Kellogs Factory of course!
approaching Waters Meeting Junction - turn sharp right again for us ...
.... and looking left up towards the Rochdale Canal is Trafford Park
after a long day (9-hours) a beautiful sunset when we moored at last at Little Bollington.

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