Thursday, 9 July 2009

The Bridgewater Canal.

0 Locks, 10½ Miles. Now moored at Astley Green.

As much as we have enjoyed our stay in Manchester the time had come to cast off and head North. The Bridgewater Canal is unlike any other canals we have visited in that it is wide and deep with very few boats moored along the towpath necessitating the need to slow down. We did pass a few boats heading South along the way but we generally made good time.

The trip across the Barton Swing Aqueduct over the Manchester Ship Canal was an experience especially when we saw how high the M60 bridge was above the MSC. Another point of interest were the stop gates and what can only be described as primitive cranes that they use to put the stop gates in place to operate the swing aqueduct. To open the aqueduct must be time consuming what with putting in 2 lots of stop gates, 1 on either side of the aqueduct and then presumably drain the aqueduct. After the aqueduct is returned to normal there is a small aperture that can be opened to refill the swing aqueduct. I would imagine that if you happened to arrive at the aqueduct just as they were preparing to open it to allow a ship through on the MSC  you could be waiting for quite a while.

Bridgewater canal 029 Safely across the Barton aqueduct over the Manchester Ship Canal.

Bridgewater canal 023The control tower for the swing aqueduct and road bridge.

By the time we reached Astley Green we decided that we had cruised far enough for one day and pulled in on what can only be described as pub moorings on the non towpath side. At least we have mooring rings to tie up to where as the towpath has nothing. We have checked out the village and found the Colliery Museum but we will have to wait until tomorrow to see this or visit the place on our way back down South. At present our plans for our travel plans to return South are not set in concrete because both the Rochdale and Huddersfield canals are already suffering water shortages so we will have to wait and see what happens over the next 6 – 8 weeks.

1714 locks, 3560 miles, 66 Tunnels, 52 swing bridges and 52 lift bridges since Nov 2006


Adam said...

I don't think they drain the aqueduct; I believe it swings full of water. If we have time, we're planning a short detour to go over it in September.

Martin said...

They don't drain the Barton Swing Aqueduct - it swings with 800 tons of water on board!