Stockton Heath to Worsley

Any thoughts of a lie in were shattered by a the sounds of a strimmer just over the fence, so we moved off as soon as we had had breakfast. The Bridgewater Canal is quite deep and broad so good progress can be made, what was remarkable was how few boats were on the move.

DSCN1462There are quite a few ‘cruising clubs’ along the way with lot’s of linear moorings, some even have their own club houses and even statues of silver ‘ladies’, but apart from these, facilities are few and far between. We found the first water point near Ye Olde No. 3 a canal side pub.

 

Lymm looks like a nice place and we will visit on our way back this way.

 

 

The canal runs straight as a die into Sale, past the sadly decaying Linotype Works and the contrasting new apartments (?) looking for all the world like a pair of cruise liners. We had thought we would stop for the night at Sale, but the main moorings at were full and although we found a spot next the The Bridge pub it was in a bit of a industrial area so we had a late lunch break and decided to do a few more miles, so it was on to Stretford Waters Meeting where we branched left onto The Leigh Branch.

DSCN1476Just as we made the turn we noticed the smell of baking, was somebody cake making? No, it was the Kellogg’s factory just around the bend. They still have canal access but it looks pretty permanently fenced off. Another mile or so and we were re-acquainting ourselves with The Manchester Ship Canal and crossing the marvel that is the Barton Swing Aqueduct, where the Bridgewater Canal can be swung through 90 degrees to allow the passage of large ships.

"Entrance to Barton Square, Trafford Centre" by Seth Whales - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Entrance_to_Barton_Square,_Trafford_Centre.JPG#/media/File:Entrance_to_Barton_Square,_Trafford_Centre.JPG
Entrance to Barton Square, Trafford Centre

DSCN1498We toyed with the idea of mooring outside the intu Trafford Centre and glimpsed it’s impressive Barton Square entrance, but decided against it in favour of Worsley where we found the last spot on the visitor moorings waiting for us beyond the elegant footbridge.

Just before the bridge are Worsley Dry Docks, I wonder what Tooleys Boatyard back in Banbury would say about this claim?

IMG_20150718_145744772There are two Grade 2 listed dry docks which have a history spanning back to 1760 and are thought to be the oldest docks on the Inland Waterways. They are the last surviving part of the Duke of Bridgewater’s works yard and were built to service the boats carrying cargo on the Bridgewater Canal and also the many mine boats operating on the 47 miles of underground waterways in the nearby Duke’s coal mine.”

 

IMG_20150718_153536457_HDRAfter a busy day travelling 20 miles in about 7½ hours we thought we would save ourselves the chore of cooking by patronising The Bridgewater Hotel, a grand looking mock Tudor building opposite our mooring run by the Fayre & Square group .

 

 

We received a warm welcome and our drinks were brought to our table very quickly, but oh dear, it was ½ hour before our order was taken and another ½ hour before our meals arrived. Joy’s cod & chips had the signs of being left under a heat lamp to keep warm while my choice of Roast Vegetable Tart was unavailable & I had to settle for a cheeseburger instead.

In mitigation it was a busy Friday night and they only seemed to have one waitress, but they were advertising that ‘Table Service had arrived’ personally I would have been quite happy to order at the bar to speed their service up!

As we are a bit ahead of schedule we shall stay here for a couple of days and enjoy Worsley Summer Fête tomorrow which is taking place on the Green, just across the footbridge.

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