Sunday, 29 April 2012

27th April

Can you believe it after being on the canal for 5 weeks we decided to have a break and take a trip up the Manchester Ship Canal to Salford.
We took the ferry across to Seacombe where we were to catch the boat, we wondered where we were going as it took us way down the Mersey to New Brighton, so named because the sand for the resort was imported from Brighton, with Ferry Across the Mersey playing over the tanoy, and then back to Seacombe.

Having boarded the Snowdrop we travelled up the Mersey to Eastham Lock where we entered the Ship Canal. The canal was opened in 1894 and can take ships up to 15000 tons; there is no speed limit on the canal but it is no good rushing as you will have to wait for the locks and swing bridges. Ships can only enter the Canal for up to 2hrs before and after high tide as the Mersey is too shallow at other times.
* Snowdrop

* Camel laird

* Eastham Dock entrance to the Manchester Ship Canal

* The Canal

We sailed passed Ellesmere Port where we moored 3 yrs ago, Julia and Mark will note the Holiday Inn and Jambula’s in the photo. It was strange but we passed a boat under tug escort going the other way at the same spot as we had watched one when we were there before.
* Ellesemere Port entrance to Shroppie

* Jambula restaurant

* Tug supported Freighter

Sailing up the canal we passed the enormous Shell (now the Indian SR) oil refinery, the John Lennon airport on the other side of the Mersey to the first of the 4 locks.
On route we saw the lock where the Western Canal enters the Mersey, linking the river Weaver with Ellesmere Port, a trip which would be great to do in our own boats and enable us to complete a great canal ring from the Trent and Mersey to the Shroppie.
* Cargo barge

* High level Bridge and M6 in background

* Typical Swing Bridge

* Carolann’s impession of Titanic

Later on the canal and the river Mersey join and because of the earlier rain it was in flood with lots of debris floating down. Further on we passed 2 old working narrowboats breasted up for safety when travelling the canal and trying to dodge debris. The flow from the lockside sluices was so strong that it forced our boat into the lock side knocking a lady off her chair.
* Mersey joins Canal

* Narrowboats on the Manchester Ship Canal

Continuing up the canal we went under the Barton Swing Aquaduct over which we had travelled on the way to Liverpool. It was open and you could see the gates which held the water in the aquaduct whilst it was open. They appeared to be raised up from the bottom of the aquaduct.
* Barton Swing Aquaduct

Later, just below Barton Lock we saw where Peel Holding are to develop a new Salford Dock in order to increase the trade on the canal. Next we went under the Centenary lift bridge which raises 83 ft in 1 minute and was commissioned in 1994.
* Centenery Lift Bridge

Finally we entered Salford Quay which has been completely re-developed and is now the home of the BBC and several other media companies as well as the Lowry Centre, a shopping complex and even a sailing Club.  
* Salford Quay

* BBC Media Centre

Passengers returned to Liverpool on one of 3 double-decker buses, which took about an hour. The 6 hr trip to Salford was really interesting with lots of birdlife and sights to see and an excellent commentary by a well informed guide.

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