Manchester to Acton Bridge, Bridgewater and Trent & Mersey 24 miles, 1 lock, 1 tunnel
About midnight on Saturday, on the way back from Snow Patrol, the weather took a major turn for the worse and a night of rain and wind ensued. It didn’t put off the Manchester clubbers out in force, and the bars alongside Deansgate were heaving – what credit crunch? Down at the Castlefield basin area there were very few if any revellers – that’s what is so nice about this mooring, literally a few hundred yards to the nightlife centre, yet not much disturbance although I dare say it has had its moments when it was a notorious drug den.
The morning was surprisingly sunny so I decided to push off early and head home – not possible to get to Middlewich in one day of course, but I thought I would see how far I could get – and ended up on the Trent and Mersey at Acton Bridge. I decided not to push to Anderton as it would have meant a delay at Saltersford tunnel due to the time restriction.
Although its short, Saltersford tunnel is far from straight, and its not possible to see one end from the other. Last time I visisted I was three quarters of the way through when a hire boat entered from the other direction, so I had the pleasure of reversing 150 yards to let them through. Now the Preston Brook concept of allowing boats to enter at certain times only has been adopted, and this is certainly one of BWs better new rules. Coming from Preston Brook boats can enter beteen half past and ten-two the hour, the other direction being from on the hour until twenty past. The same applies at Preston Brook tunnel but the window is only for 10 minutes rather than 20.
It was so good to stop and moor for the night – I can’t remember boating on such a windy day for many years, and the mixture of rain, sleet, hailstones whipped into a wind chill by the gales made it very hard going today.
Nevertheless the Bridgewater remains a very easy canal to navigate and we ended up 24 miles from Manchester – not bad going.