Sunday, 12 May 2019

Look for the Large Seat - Sunday 12th May 2015

Lymm to Pennington Flash
22.75 Miles, 0 Locks

What a wonderful day we have had – hats were needed, but to keep off the sun rather than the rain.  It was always going to be a long day for us (we usually aim to do a maximum of 4 hours cruising, but having stopped at Lymm we needed to get our heads down and go for it.  It was not just the weather that was good, we both really enjoyed this canal.  There was so much to see I managed to take 155 photos!  Some serious thinning out needs to be done!  I did my best (down to 38), but this is quite a long post - there was just so much to see. 

I managed a much better picture of Matthew Corbett’s house as we left Lymm early this morning – just check out that sky!

The only slightly frustrating thing about this canal is the long sections of moored boats, but as it is wide you don’t have to go quite so slowly as you do on narrow canals.

We had been forewarned that the water point after B20 was hard to see, so we were on the look out and managed to spot it and better still, it was vacant. 

I mentioned cranes and stop planks yesterday, well today I got a much better picture on some stop planks
And the grooves they are fitted into in the event of a breach

As you approach Sale and then Stretford there is an architectural mish-mash of buildings from the remains of the Victorian Linotype Works (where high speed, keyboarded printing machines were built)
to some rather less inspiring ‘apartment blocks’ – we found them quite grey and depressing

It is shortly after those that you encounter a very long straight stretch that just seems to go on

And on

and on
I was really expecting much more industry and grey depressing buildings, but for the most part it is a green oasis with a very busy towpath as befits a sunny Sunday.  Along with bikes, dogs, prams, Mums, Dads, children, grandparents, runners and young couples there was even a car!

We passed under three motorway bridges today – the M60, the M602 and the M60 for a second time.  They were all remarkably empty of traffic
Shortly after going under the M60 for the first time you pass over the River Mersey in its infancy

We had Stretford Marine in our sights as we need a gas bottle and were hoping to off load some rubbish.  We tied up, I went and looked at the very small note of apology on the door – they were shut due to sickness.  We were assured it was nothing serious, they just did not want to share their virus – a wise move in my book, so we untied and continued on.  A little later on Bridgewater Marina came to our rescue and not only did they have gas, they also disposed of a bag of rubbish for us along with another bag containing the results of Chris' trip down the weed hatch as we arrived at the marina.

At Waters Meet (there are no signs) you need to know that you have to turn left to head towards Wigan – go right and you end up in Manchester

The guide we have said to look out for the Kellog’s factory – well we smelt it almost before we saw it.  A fair few corn flakes cooking I would think.

 The next stretch is surprisingly rural
With the odd view of industry hiding behind the trees

On the left you pass the Trafford Centre

Shortly after that comes the Barton Swing Bridge – this is where the Bridgewater crosses the Manchester Ship Canal.  Brindley’s original canal crossed the Old Mersey & Irwell Navigation.  This was on stone aqueduct some 40 feet in the air.  It was that, or lock all the way down and all the way back up again.  It was widely derided as ‘a castle in the air’.  It proved to be his first great engineering triumph and attracted many visitors.  When the MSC obliterated the Mersey & Irwell, Brindley’s arches would not admit the ocean going ships that would ply the new canal.  It was demolished – some say that this is roughly the equivalent of knocking down Pontcysyllte today to build a new motorway underneath!  We took the book’s advice to go slowly
and savour the views up to Salford Quays
and down to Barton swing-bridge and the motorway viaduct beyond
Looking back as we depart 

The bridge is rarely swung these days, but it remains in good working order with test swings taking place on a regular basis.

Is this a unique sight on inland canals – a lighthouse!
 A bit of research and I find it is called Monton Lighthouse and was built by its owner as ‘it seemed a good idea at the time’.  Apparently he has restored a canal boat that bought Queen Victoria here in 1891- something to look for if we come this way again.  More information can be found here -

There was not a lot of boat traffic around today, but this one was unmissable – a rather noisy crowd of ‘hens’.  

And this was a question of ‘breathe in and think thin’!

This is the Packet House in Worsley from where fast passenger services departed.

The many pubs we passed today were definitely benefiting from the sun

The last remaining pit head that is a reflection of the mining history of this area is to be found at Astley where there is a mining museum

As you leave Leigh, you also leave the Bridgewater Canal and join the Leeds & Liverpool Canal (Leigh Branch) – another new water to us.

So where was this large seat we were looking for?  Our target for today was Pennington Flash and it was Sue/Boatwif from nb Cleddau who told us to look for the large seat.  I am not sure what I expected, but it wasn’t this!
Having found it we moored up

With this as the side hatch view 

and this view from the galley sink - it makes washing up less of a chore

As we moored there was a commotion behind us.  There is a steep path down from the tow path

I can assure you this is a lot steeper than it looks.  A young lad of about 6 or 7 was on his bike and Dad had asked if he thought he could ride down.  It became apparent from the screams from the bottom that he did not make it.  I am glad to say that once Dad had been roundly told off by Mum and the young lad had had Mum cuddles they went on their way – battered, but not broken.  It is so tempting to go down for a closer look, but sadly neither of us would make it down - the knees preclude such activity.  Down is harder than up.

So what other way was there to round off a really good day but to break out the Pimms for the first time this trip and where else could be possibly sit to enjoy them?

Yes the seat!

Whilst we breathed in the view

So the Bridgewater is behind us and we were both captivated.  There was so much to admire as you pass through and in some ways having no locks allow you more time to look.

ps - the cakes from the Lymm baker and the sausage, bacon, black pudding and pork pies from the butcher were all first class. 


Carol said...

Hi Jennie, putting a link below of my blog on Rock n Roll in August 12013 of Barton swing bridge swinging ... it was very exciting especially watching the ship come through! Hope you've enjoyed the Bridgewater, we did tremendously and there was no time limit then either, I think we were on it for three weeks!

Carol said...

Forgot the link!

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Lovely post Jennie!! This is new water for me too although Les had traveled the L&L. Iam sorry your knee is giving you gip but the seat, the view and the Pimms offered a lovely rest for all of your efforts.

Love and hugs to you booth,

Jaq xxx

Jennie said...

Hi Carol, Thank you for the link - what wonderful timing for you. It is an incredible structure. We did both really enjoy the Bridgwater - I can understand how you managed to stay for three weeks. Hope all is well with you both and that you are not too tired from all the work you are doing? Jennie

Jennie said...

Hi Jaq, Good to hear from you as ever. Yesterday was indeed a very good day - we do both love the Bridgewater Canal. I hope all is well with you and the family? Love Jennie xx