Oh what a busy and enjoyable day!! We left Worsley and headed to the Barton Swing Aqueduct over the Manchester Ship Canal. As we approached the aqueduct we thought that the there was a barrier across the canal and there was - the swing aqueduct was swung! We pulled in behind another boat and walked down to the Ship Canal. To cut a long story short (I know I don’t do that often!) some toerag had stolen copper wire from the bridge’s workings and engineers had swung the aqueduct last night and worked on it during the night. There was a ferry due through at 10am so they left the aqueduct open. We waited and waited and eventually at about 11am the old Mersey ferry, Snowdrop, came through loaded with trippers going from Manchester to Liverpool. We watched the aqueduct close then rushed back up to the Bridgewater Canal to watch what happened next. Gradually the water levels evened out and the barrier was swung across the canal and things were back to normal. By this time there were two boats coming the other way and about 5 boats behind us. One couple who had been watching the proceedings with us asked me if I did a blog (I could get used to this fame) and it turns out that I have been following their blog too! Ian, Karen and their dog, Jumble, own NB Tacet and I’ve been reading about their adventures in Liverpool as we will be there at the end of September.
We were only going down to Waters Meeting where the Leigh Branch of the Bridgewater Canal meets the mainline. As anticipated Waters Meeting wasn’t quite so idyllic as the name implies but as we were on the outskirts of Manchester we weren’t surprised. The last part of the Leigh Branch was quite industrialised but before that it was treelined though between the leaves you could see industrial units and yards. Just before we got back to the aqueduct we stopped at the Trafford Centre. I’m not a great one for shopping but felt that we had to have a look and I am so glad we did as the place is amazing! The centre is the largest shopping centre in the United Kingdom by overall size and the second largest in the UK by retail size. The centre was opened in September 1998 and is known for its vivid and quirky rococo/late baroque architectural style - its architecture pays homage to the history of the area. The Orient food hall is themed as a steam ship. I’ve had a recent longing for pizza so we treated ourselves to a lunch time buffet at a very Egyptian looking Pizza Hut.
As we got to Monton we found a lighthouse! For those of you who are acquainted with me will know that I have a “thing” about lighthouses and the last place I expected to find one was about 40 miles from the coast! However it is lovely replica and I’ve asked Richard if he can build one in the garden for me this winter!
We pulled over for the night just before the Bridgewater Marina. I needed to rest as I really can take only so much excitement in one day anymore!!