Day 29 – Pennington Flash

We slipped our mooring. Said goodbye to Mal and the excellent Stretford marina. Rear Admiral Thomas at the helm, we took the Leigh branch of the canal towards Leigh, via the “Wonder of the Waterways” – Barton Aqueduct and Worsley – where all the canals originate . . 

After all the rain, it was so good to have some sunshine. We said goodbye to the view (and smell) of Kellogg’s

After 30 minutes we approached the Barton aqueduct – originally a Brindley design of 1761 but replaced in the 1890′s with a swing bridge. Some 235 feet long and carrying 1450 tons to swing over the ship canal. “It’s a bit squalid” said Viv and yes, sadly it is but still quite a feat of engineering and rather unsettling to drive over – like the Pontcysllte one, a big drop down the side!

Am I bothered? Yes, a bit.

Onwards – a sharp bend and yes, a lighthouse! Then Worsley comes into view – the raison d’etre  of the canals – to ship ore from the Duke of Bridgewater’s mines. The ochre colour of the waters showing the iron ore is still around.

We chugged on to the final few miles of the Bridgewater, noting the colliery ahead (now the Astley Green museum)

We began to approach Leigh – famous for its cotton mills – Viv found the name on this chimney amusing . . 

Aha! The end of the Bridgewater and the beginning of the Leeds & Liverpool (Leigh branch). We moored in the town to restock (milk) and visit one of Dave’s researches – the White Lion.

East Lancashire’s pub of the year … and well deserved it is too as we found an old fashioned boozer with separate rooms, run by Harry. He had about lots of beers on and all at a CAMRA discount which made em £2.20 a pint (we’ll come back here!!), Roboinson’s Robohop, Darkstar Hophead, Sandiway’s HopSalad, Adnams Fat Sprat, Allgates Wigan Junction and Totalll Brewed’s Crazy Like a Fox … brilliant.

Just 10 minutes further chugging brought us to the end of day mooring beside Pennington Flash – a huge lake caused by mining subsidence (coal this time). David remembers sailing on this lake back in’82 and now the Boggle gets his promised swim …

Day 28 – Media City with David

After much preparation and ironing of the red carpet, our CAMRA chum from Ubley arrives. We then saunter off in the direction of Salford Quays and Media City, in search of BEER.

This is the new Imperial War Museum North. Over the bridge to MediaCity

So this is where all the BBC (and ITV) programmes come from! Somewhere here is a researched pub called the Dockyard …

A nice selection of beer (Bourbon Stout – Sonnet, Dockyard IPA . . ). Back on t’boat for “Baby’s Heads”, mash n peas!

Day 27 – Lymm to Stretford

Some sunshine at last and time to bid farewell to wonderful Lymm and off further along the expansive Bridgewater Canal. It really was a blessing to have a very wide and deep canal.

There’s plenty to marvel at with old warehouses and factories. The sun came out for a bit too.

Another to add to the collection of boat names …

Adagio was loving this grand canal and skipped along, you don’t see these on most canals. . 

The old making way . . 

for the new . . 

A brief stop in Sale and a trip to a large Sainsbury’s, then on to Stretford marina, our stop for 2 days and a place David can visit us and leave his car. Small but very well maintained marina – a great welcome by Mal. All the usual services – excellent showers & toilets plus gas, fuel and water plus security! Brilliant.

A nice double rainbow (caused by single and then double internal reflection of the light by raindrops … yes, it rained again!). We are now within walking distance of Old Trafford and also the famous “Waters Meeting” junction where one branch goes off into Manchester and t’other goes to Leigh (our route) and Wigan and then on to Liverpool.

That dog seems to get everywhere! And then it rained some more.

An evil yellow sky but the forecast for the final push into Liverpool looks good – warm & dry. Well, it’s way past Gin o’clock, so that’s it for now.