Having had a continuous stretch of great weather in Scotland, it changed as we were leaving to drive to Manchester on Monday (19/06). It was very overcast and, by the time we approached Manchester, it was raining. On the way, we stopped at one of the service areas for morning tea (Gretna Services) and another (Killington Lake) for lunch. The purpose of this short trip was to meet up with friends, Alli and Pete.
Alli and K were work colleagues many years ago and they have kept in touch since. A few years ago, Alli and Pete decided to buy a narrow boat and live on the canals of England. Being so close, relatively speaking, we had arranged to meet up with them in the Manchester area for a couple of days. Alli’s parents were visiting from Australia and staying on the boat. Four adults and the dog, Zsiga, living on the boat was a bit cramped, but they all seemed to manage.
On arrival at our hotel, we contacted them to arrange to meet. Since the weather was dure to clear, we arranged to meet them at 16:30 giving us time to visit the supermarket for some basics on the way to leaving our car at Worsley where Pete and Alli picked us up to drive to their boat moored at Pennington Flash.
Our first cruise
After a cup of tea, we departed for our first cruise along the Leigh Branch and Bridgewater Canal to Worsley, a total of 7.5 miles. Although at the stern of the boat with the noise of the motor, the slow progress was quite a peaceful experience. The weather had cleared, so we enjoyed sunshine all the way.
On arrival at Worsely, in a spot called the Delph, we learned that this was where the canal system started and where miles of underground canals exited with their loads of coal from the coal mines. After a beer that the local pub we drove back to the hotel to fall into bed for a late, for us, night.
As per forecast, the next day was very wet, but as per the previous day, it was forecast to clear by mid afternoon. In the morning, we braved the rain and had a very brief walk up the Rochdale Canal tow path, immediately behind the hotel. Our plan was to meet Alli and Pete again and cruise from Worsley to the canal basin in the Castlefield area of central Manchester.
We left the hotel in plenty of time to park the car, have lunch and explore before being picked up by Alli and Pete, back to Worsley. Once again, the weather cleared up and we had a delightful cruise into central Manchester, a distance of 7.5 miles. A couple of highlights on the way were crossing the Manchester Ship Canal and passing Old Trafford.
The Manchester Ship Canal was opened in 1894 to allow large sea going ships to navigate into the city so that the produce from the many mills could be exported quickly and easily. Our canal crossed it via a swing aqueduct – this operates in the same was a road swing bridge, but with two coffers at each side to contain the water on opening.
Old Trafford is the home of Manchester United, one of the most famous English football clubs. Its stadium looks pretty impressive from the canal.
On arrival at the city centre mooring and securing the boat, we visited the local pub for a beer before heading back to the boat for dinner, cooked by Alli. It was quite an experience eating dinner with all of us in a row, the boat being only 2m wide!
Back to Edinburgh
Our route back to Edinburgh and a return to lovely weather took us through the Lake District and Gretna Green, to stay at my daughter’s house for two nights.
Thursday was spent washing clothes, last minute visiting, emptying the rented car and re-packing our cases ready for our flight the next day to Prague.
It is now Friday 30 June and we are in Salzburg, it has taken me all this time to complete this post, almost two weeks!. Prague has been and gone and we are leaving for Barcelona tomorrow morning. This means that I am way behind with my posts. I have been finding it extremely difficult to find the time to select images (almost 100 in one day in Prague), process them, do further research, write up my notes into a readable post and upload it all. Any spare time I have had has been filled with other on-line priorities, leaving me little to relax and recharge for the next day of sightseeing.
Therefore, I have decided to take the pressure off myself and not post anything until I get back in just over a week. I appreciate this will become a record of our travels rather than a ‘live’ feed, but I hope you understand.