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Monday, 29 August 2011

Into Manchester & first Kingfisher

Sunday 21st August

We had a lovely time going to Norfolk, using the train to Narborogh to pick up the car, seeing friends who had just moved house & then down to Salthouse in Norfolk for 2 nights. It was lovely to get to Norfolk again, we haven't been for a couple of years & our friends made us very welcome at their old cottage. We went to Cromer's End of Pier Show on our first night and what a fabulous show it was, no weak spots & a really funny ventriloquist. We will certainly go again, apparently it is the last end of pier show left in the country, support it if you can, you will not be disappointed.

The next morning dawned bright & we were awake at 6.30 with sun streaming into our room, and a good job too as we had said we would like to go to see the seals on Blakeney Point........and with a 9am tide we needed to be out to Morston to get on their boat by 8. It was worth it. Rest of stay was lovely too, & on returning to Leicester we had a lovely evening as we caught up with our family and our mail.

Back at Lily, Saturday was not a good day as it rained again as we thought about setting off so it was Sunday 22nd that we set off. It was after coffee again with Craig & his team at Infusions (excellent coffee, lovely people & the all day breakfast is good too!) that we cast off, filling with water & emptying loo & rubbish at the Wharf first. As we reached the first swing bridge about a mile along another boat caught us up, but Carol couldn't get into the bank after the lock to pick me up as the boat that was on the mooring when we cruised to Liverpool was now sunk & obstructing it fully. As such I walked to the next swing bridge & operated it for both boats before hopping on, the other boat stopping there to water their dog.

The weather was fine & our cruise pleasant but as we got to our first lock, Gathurst, we caught up with the hotel boats Duke & Duchess (last seen at Sawbridgeworth in July 2009), as well as a trip boat from Wigan Pier, it also decided to give us a sharp shower. The other boats ensured that the subsequent locks were against us & at one there were some kids who could easily have been a problem, but we avoided that, future lock users my be less fortunate.

We arrived at the ?secure moorings outside BW's Wigan offices at 4.30, after 10 miles, 5 locks & 3 swingbridges. We moored in front Doug & James on their new in April boat that builders MGM exhibited at the Crick show. Very smart, their blog is tells amongst other things of the building of their boat. Our previous Lily Pad was built at the same yard in Thurmaston 19 years earlier.

Monday 23rd was a lovely day, but Doug & James tried to set off at about 10, only to return after 10 minutes as the pound above was all but dry, due to vandals (& probably water leaks?) & BW said it would probably be about 2 before levels were high enough for us to work through the lock. Some water was lifted up from the adjacent river Douglas, but it was running very low so not too much could be used, the rest had to be run down the Wigan flight.

At 3 we were able to make it through & then on down the two nearby locks to get onto the Bridgewater canal level. Having done these 3 locks & about 2 miles the weather was so lovely & the surroundings alongside the beautiful Scotsman Flash were so pretty that we let the others carry on & we tied up to sit on the side, read & enjoy the scenery.
Scotsmans Flash plus my knee to show I was in shorts & was there

Tuesday 24th was another lovely day and we cruised into Leigh, arriving around lunchtime. We stopped for lunch after about 10 miles, & I then thought the mooring was ideal for me to rub down & repaint the gunwales, so that was all for the day. We stayed on Wednesday too whilst I finished the job off & also checked on regs for use using the Bridgewater canal that we were to join in about 50 yards. We have things to go to from Manchester, so we needed to be able to stay there till 8th Sept.
Magnificent 1930's building style in Leigh

Thursday 26th and we were off after coffee on a glorious day, just under the first bridge there were at least a dozen road cones, traffic barriers & a spare loo.

At Bridgewater Boats we filled with water & emptied rubbish & loos, before carrying on to Manchester. On the Bridgewater at most stop plank points they have a crane installed to facilitate installation.
We decided that our stop in Worsley & at the Mining Museum will wait till next year, any idea why this lighthouse is canalside in Worsley? Plus note the rusty water around the area.

This must be one of the best sign posts

Our journey was halted again by the swing aqueduct being closed against us. Half an hour later we were off into Manchester, and as we turned off the main line of the canal & not far from Manchester United's stadium we saw our first kingfisher of the year. How incredible that we should see such a shy bird so close to this major metropolis, but it is terrble to see how badly the kingfisher population is decimated by a hard winter. After this we turned right into the Castlefield moorings and moored up opposite Chance & just in front of friends Maureen & Roger on Ramyshome, who shared our journey into Liverpool.

Friday - Sunday We did a first recce of the city & a friend joined us for supper on Friday night. We watched the fun of the Manchester Pride parade on Saturday which was very fortunate for all the participants as the heavy showers stopped before it started & held off till just after it finished. We were in a quiet spot, opposite the John Rylands Library where the religious anti gay faction had their tannoy working, & therefore all the floats & sirens went to full volume as they went past.

After the show we visited the Hidden Gem that is St Marys, and which was close by, before dropping into St Annes (lovely too) & the Cathedral (not so lovely but wonderful new stained glass & some wonderful photographs on display). Maureen & Roger joined us for games of Rummicub & Bananagrams plus nibbles & drinks. These are 2 great games, look out for them.
A fabulous building near Oxford St, Manchester

Wonderful brickwork on old warehouse in Castlefields

What a fantastic pub on Bridgewater St

A new building in The Potato Wharf?
No, look at the wrinkles, it is the frame covered in a massive
print of how the eventual building will look!

Sunday was GP day, & our walk back from the coffee shop to watch it was enlivened by the wonderful sound of a GP McLaren engine running. Jenson Button is running the car up Deansgate tomorrow (and after a really great performance at Spa today). I went for a brief first visit to the Museum of Science & Industry after the GP whilst Carol gave her back/neck a rest. I reckon I could do with spending a couple of full days there!

So, not too many miles, but many wonderful things have been seen & enjoyed.

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