THE Bridgewater Bridge 23rd July

Boothstown M60 to Plank Lane
This morning all the Watch House boats came past in turn and then most of them returned after winding, heading back to base. Only a small delay to the start of our day.
P1080886smThe orange water seemed to disappear when we turned the bend at Boothstown. On we pootled to Vicars Hall Bridge, THAT bridge that last year we dashed across the Pennines to get through before it closed for months to be rebuilt. Our dash, in torrential rain at times, need not have happened as the closure of the Bridgewater got put back time after time and eventually didn’t happen until March I think it was. This caused a big ho har as the closure period was going to encroach into the boating season affecting many summer cruises. However the stoppage was shortened and the canal reopened in May after a dam across the canal of gravel was removed.
P1080876smP1080884smWe’ve seen pictures of the work on facebook groups as it has progressed. The bridge had to be rebuilt due to a new housing estate being built which needed road access which wasn’t possible with the existing bridge, which was tired anyway. Ramps up both sides have been built and a new concrete bridge structure is in place. Currently it looks like a brick facade is being added, luckily for us and others the navigation isn’t affected by this.
P1080914smAt Leigh the towpath was busy with walkers and cyclists all making the most of a sunny Sunday afternoon. As soon as we passed under Bridge 11 our time on the Bridgewater was over, the 7 day clock could stop ticking, but the 28 day no return clock would start. We’ll not be back till September, so no problem for us . Just beyond the bridge was a long line of moored boats. Maybe here is popular due to the proximity of pubs and shops or that it is the last part of C&RT waters before you enter Sonny’s territory.
P1080924smP1080929smWe carried on as we had a rendez vous at Plank Lane. Once moored we had time for lunch and Tilly to disappear into the nettles before Gary arrived. Gary White is from All Seasons Covers. I’d originally contacted him last year hoping that he’d be able to make covers for Oleanna in Macclesfield as soon as she was launched. But that just didn’t happen, mainly because she didn’t get launched there. A couple of weeks ago I had made contact again as over the next couple of months we will be in his area. So today he came along to chat through what we wanted and if he would be able to do them for us in the time scale we had.
A very nice chap and we seem to have landed at a good time of year. His company tends to make a lot of covers for Collingwood boats, they close for a fortnight in August, a factory fortnight. So whilst we’ll be on the Lancaster Canal as long as the weather is good to us he should be able to make patterns and make our covers. So fingers crossed.
The rest of the day Mick has been sat in front of the final stage of the Tour de France, Tilly has been hunting and been hunted by several dogs on the towpath whilst I’ve been trying to get the video of the Barnton Swing aqueduct to work on the blog. After several attempts I think the link now works. If you clicked on it yesterday and it didn’t work try again, hopefully it will this time.
P1080931smOur view here isn’t the best, building works continue across the cut on new housing. We hope to move on in the morning after we’ve been woken up, so it shouldn’t affect us too much.
DSCF7114sm0 locks, 6.72 miles, 2 canals, 10 dead horse flies, 1 new bridge, 2 morons on a motorbike, 1 meeting, 1 very close shave, 2 strange legs on my boat, 1 favourable quote, 4th win for Chris, 6 lifts of the bridge, 3 years of full time living afloat.