Friday, 3 August 2007

The Historic Bridgewater Canal

There's lots of industrial archeology in the Manchester area. Some of the best bits can be seen on a paddle along the Bridgewater canal that takes in the mines at Worsley and the aqueduct over the ship canal.
I went out and did this little trip with my brother and two of the kids. We were dropped off in Boothstown (near Worsley) and picked up again at the edge of Sale. It was an interesting paddle, particularly since we got to see the "swing aqueduct" in action.
I had the kids in the Perception Horizon double kayak:
and my brother borrowed my Perception Carolina:There's a marina at the edge of Boothstown, close to the start:
It's not far to Worsley and the little branch off to the Duke of Bridgewater's mines:The entrance to the mines is now rather overgrown:But you can still see the remains of one of the "starvationers":After a bit of a slog, you come to the Barton swing bridge that takes the road across the Manchester Ship Canal. There's a matching aqueduct to take the Bridgewater canal across. What you don't really want to find when you are in a hurry is that the canal stops dead:The "swing aqueduct" in the open position:With the tower in the middle of the ship canal:and the point on which the aqueduct turns (while full of water):
Fortunately, we didn't have to wait too long before the aqueduct started to move back into position:We watched with anticipation as both sets of double gates were opened (presumably after using a valve to let some water into the space between the gates to equalise the pressure):Going over the aqueduct:Looking down on the Manchester Ship Canal:It's not all industry though:
We saw geese, ducks and moorhens and ate a fair few blackberries along the way.


Jim Krawiecki said...

I was driven over the (road) swing bridge by my dad many times as a child. I often wondered what it would be like to experience paddling on the Bridgewater Canal, over the Manchester Ship Canal, on that swing bridge.

Amazing industrial architecture that I remember from childhood days. How satisfying that it is all still there in good working order.

Thanks for story.

Jim K

Jim Krawiecki said...
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