As I am trying to put one photograph for each of the canals or arms that we have been on I will have to write a blog for one month rather than two or it will be too heavy to download easily. That's my excuse any way. From the following photos it can be seen that the weather really did start to set fair in June.
A lovely Macclesfield oval bridge, No.34, just to the north of Macclesfield. The bridges are a real feature of the 'Macc' and the snake bridges and the normal bridges do shout that it was built with pride and skill.
We stopped at Bollington and Marple before turning up the Peak Forest Canal. My rule of one picture per canal was very difficult to keep to here as we found New Mills and area very photogenic, but as it was not actually on the canal I had to skip it. We spent a couple of nights at Bugsworth Basin and loved the industrial archaeology and the walks around.
'Holderness' in the Middle Basin at Bugsworth on the Peak Forest Canal. To the left is the arch into the middle Basin Arm and in the middle is the bridge leading to the Upper Basin and on the left are the remains of the Gnat Hole Lime Kilns.
We retraced out route back to Marple and down the flight to emerge at Portland Basin and the Ashton Canal. Helen had a few days moored at Droylsden as I went home before we set off down the 18 locks to Piccadily Basin. We have moored her several times over the years and never had any trouble so didn't think it necessary to enter the Piccadily Village moorings. Manchester seems to be a mix of the old and new with some quite iconic new and old buildings on the canal side.
Lift bridge to Piccadilly Village moorings overlooked by the Chips Building at New Islington. Ashton Canal.
Helen hated the Rocdale 9 as they were extremely heavy to work and took more than all her strength to work. She was glad when we go to Castlefield.
Waiting for the lock to empty by a quiet Canal Street on the Rochdale Canal.
Once we were moored at Castlefield we met up with a niece who lives there and caught up with her. When we left there we were on the Bridgewater Canal which was the first canal of the Canal Age to be built by the Duke of Bridgewater (hence the name!). Once past Waters Meeting we were on new territory for us and it was full of treats. The Barton Bridges, The Monton Lighthouse and Worsley.
The Packet House at Worsley where the fast boats left for Manchester from the steps below it. The bridge is over the canal to the Delph where approximately 47 miles of canals were built into the hill, even with and inclined plane, to bring out the coal to be delivered by canal to Manchester and other places of industry so jet propelling life into the canal age.
We had a good look round the Astley Green Colliery Museum and the blokes working and volunteering there were very helpful and very interesting too. The Bridgewater becomes the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, Leigh Branch, at Leigh. You are then soon in to Flashes territory where the mining subsidence has filled with water to form wildlife havens and boat clubs. We were soon into Wigan that is make the best of a new life for it's self. You are soon out of the built-up area and the countryside is lovely, especially in the weather we were having.
The Mill at Parbold on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. It is a lovely little place with a lot going on and it seems a society for everything too.
We continued through Burscough, past where the canal was started near Halsall Hill and into the suburbs of Liverpool. We were booked to go down the Liverpool link. The day we went we blew down into Liverpool it was so windy. We were going sideways once the wide open spaces of the docks. It is a great experience and the moorings are ideal for the centre and attractions. We will definitely be going again.
Moored in Salthouse Dock with the warehouses around Albert Dock illuminated at the end of the Liverpool link.
Retracing our way after five days or so we moored up near Appley as Helen had to go home for a week. And what a week! The weather was stupendous and it was great to sit and listen to the the first Ashes Test and be on the edge of my seat through out.
Ranicar's Swing Bridge in the early morning with the mist just burning off, on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal where I was moored for a week.
When Helen returned we also picked up an extra crew member as an old friend joined us for a week. We headed back to Waters Meeting and sped on through Sale and had the obligatory stop at Lymm and ever southwards as the sun was continuing to shine for us.
The trees in full leaf as we get closer to Preston Brook. The Bridgewater Canal near Moore. (But we didn't).
The crew for the week.
Once through the Preston Brook Tunnel we are on the Trent and Mersey Canal and into the narrow and winding cut to Anderton. Here we went down one of the wonders of the canal and descended to the River Weaver. I had had mixed reports of the River. Several had told me that you could do it all in two days and that was it and others who annually come down to the river for up to two weeks! I think I am more in the former camp although as the weather was so nice we could have stayed for longer if we weren't on a schedule. It was fun to go down the Boat Lift and pass under all the big bridges and locks to Winsford Bottom Flash. We then retraced and went all the way up to Runcorn which I found very interesting if not very scenic.
Anderton Boat Lift between the Trent and Mersey Canal and the Weaver Navigation.
By now our guest's week was nearly up so back up the lift and to Preston Brook as we had organised to have him picked up at Runcorn. The arm was a revelation as it was quite pretty and well worth the trip. We moored up for the night and picked cherries galore.
Waterloo Bridge at Runcorn which is the end of navigation now. Previously a set of locks continued down the otherside of the bridge and joined up with the Manchester Ship Canal and the Runcorn and Weeston Canal which is at the end of the Weaver navigation.
We once again passed through Preston Brook Tunnel and this time continued past Anderton too. We kept going to Middlewich. The canal is very varied hereabouts with the chemical works of Rodeheath and Broken Cross and the unspoiled countryside between there and Middlewich.
Billinge Flash which is one of many flashes that have been formed by subsidence due to salt extraction in the area. Trent and Mersey Canal.
Middlewich seems to be looking a lot better than when we were last here and once through the locks we turned right before King's Lock and we up the Shropshire Union, Middlewich Branch canal. It could be argued that we also accessed the Wardle canal which is just a few hundred feet long that connects the Trent and Mersey and the Shropshire Union Canals but I thought that was a bit thick. The Middlewich Branch is often completed in a day as just a connection canal but it has many lovely moorings and non better than at Church Minshull.
Sunset over Church Minshull on the Shropshire Union, Middlewich Branch canal.
When we got to Barbridge Junction and the Shropshire Union proper we turned right and headed for Chester. We had some good walks from our mooring at the end of July and one of the best was up to Beeston Castle. We managed to pull a leveret out of the cut when moored here and hopefully it survived afterwards to. What a month with a lot of firsts for us and the most beautiful weather. We couldn't have ordered better. We were hoping that July would be as good.
Beeston Castle on its outcrop seen from our mooring.