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Tour 2003

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9 - Castlefield to Ellesmere Port. Bridgewater Canal, Manchester Ship Canal and River Irwell through Manchester.

Saturday 28th June 2003

We started off from Castlefield at 07:00, to be sure of early arrival at our 08:00 booking down Pomona Lock, onto the Upper Reaches of the Manchester Ship Canal and the River Irwell, through central Manchester. Arrival was at 07:20, so we moored up and had a cuppa and breaky. 
The Bridgewater Canal lads arrived at 07:45 and soon had us down into Pomona Dock - 08:10. We had a couple of hours to explore the River Irwell, before our booked passage down the Ship Canal, starting 10:00, at Mode Wheel Lock. Ian Clarke was most annoyed that Manchester had become just like the River Thames, bloody rowers everywhere! 
We sped up to Hunt's Bank, by the railway bridges, where the flow had become quite strong, due to the recent rain - conditions looked good! After this Neil took the helm and crept up against the current, ready for contact with the bottom / submerged debris at any time. Well we never did actually touch!....and got to just above the second bridge above Hunt's Bank, where we grounded on concrete, on our last passage up here in 1995. 
Beyond here is a tight bend and because of the high flow rate Neil decided to call it a day and beat a slow powered reverse against the current. (08:40) The backwards decent was until we were round the corner, below Hunt's Bank - railway bridges, where the flow was less and the river wide enough to ensure a safe wind. (08:50) 
At 09:30 we were hanging around above Mode Wheel Lock, drifting aimlessly in the wind. It is now possible to moor overnight in Salford Quays, but we decided against this, as it was easier for Ian Clarke to find us in Castlefield. 
At 09:55 a MSCC bod appeared and began preparing the (large) of the two locks. We faffed about a bit while the lockies chosen ropey technique was adopted - rope loose, with him putting slip noose round his rather oversize bollards. 10:25 we were out of Mode Wheel and foned the Latchford Locky for traffic info down to Latchford - his responsibility. He said we would encounter the Mersey Ferry "Royal Iris", just above Latchford, on a day trip to Salford Quays. 
Rather mundane journey, with no ships berthed. Barton Lock (Large) arrive at 11:10, depart at 11:25 - we were now in the swing of things. Irlam Lock (Small) arrive at 11:50, depart at 12:05. Just as Latchford Lock came in view, we could see the bulk of "Royal Iris" leaving, using the ships bins. A rather large breaking was bow wave soon appeared, but this subsided as he approached us. Much camera clicking on both sides. 
We met newsgroup member Dave Croft at Latchford, who was to then whizz down to Walton Dock to get a piccy of us attempting to "enter" Walton Lock. A brief detour into Walton Dock and up to the gates of the decrepit and totally silted up lock then ensued (14:00 - 14:10). Dave got some piccys of us from the bank. The corner of the dock was rather silted up and much black gunge was kicked up on our departure. 
Below Latchford we were under Eastham VTS, they said we would encounter one of the green Arklow grain coasters going to Cerestar Wharf - "Arklow Venture" around Bank Quay and a large suction dredger ship later on. We did indeed pass the "Arklow Venture", just above Bank Quay Swing Bridge, who slowed to the degree we hardly felt it pass. 
Here we could look across the Mersey......to see no water at all! Weaver Junction was at 15:50 and not long after the "WD Severn" dredger past us. A couple of bright orange hulled ships berthed at the rather stinky Stanlow Oil refinery berths - the Petredec LPG Tanker "York" and the UCT Multitank Tanker "Multitank Balearia". 
Arrival at Ellesmere Port was at 17:15, after a rather laid back run down the MSC. This was in the lower holding basin, below the lock and swing bridge by the Holiday Inn. Ellesmere Port Borough Council requires 24 hour notice for operating this bridge. I can't for the life of me see why this is not a BW Bogmaster key padlock, seeing as no traffic is allowed over it!!! Anyway we could not rely on the Council coming out at 07:45 to let us out. 
That night we toured moribund Ellesmere Port, but Ian and Neil did find the rather good, heavily patronized Indian takeaway. As usual Ian totally over ordered and we had a total blow out meal, with much left over for the following day.


Leaving Staffordshire basin at Castlefield. Bridgewater Canal.


Leaving Staffordshire basin at Castlefield. The people on the Sagar barge Ilorin were rather upset, seeing as they had been refused passage on the Ribble Link. Bridgewater Canal.


Leaving Staffordshire basin at Castlefield. Bridgewater Canal.


Looking across to the southern basins. The Rochdale Canal starts by the left of the new footbridge. Castlefield. Bridgewater Canal.


Pomona Lock down to the Upper Reaches of The Manchester Ship Canal.


Pomona Lock down to the Upper Reaches of The Manchester Ship Canal.


Exiting Pomona No 3 Dock. Upper Reaches of The Manchester Ship Canal.


Passing the filled in Pomona Docks No 1 and 2. Upper Reaches of The Manchester Ship Canal.


The final wharf of the disused Pomona Docks. The River Irwell proper starts at Woden Street Footbridge, seen above.


Looking back at Pomona Docks. To our horror we were being overhauled by rowers!



Woden Street Footbridge. River Irwell.


Regent Road Bridge. River Irwell.


The disused Hulme Locks up to The Bridgewater Canal.


Regent Road Bridge. The jetty on the right is used by the trip boat for Harry Ramsden's fish and chip trips. River Irwell.


River Irwell.


River Irwell.


Looking back at Regent Road Bridge. River Irwell.


Railway bridges and Princes Bridge. River Irwell.


Looking up the River Irwell from Princes Bridge.


Irwell Street Bridge. River Irwell.


The preserved lock into the Granada TV Studios site. River Irwell.


Irwell Street Bridge. Le Meridien Victoria and Albert Hotel in old warehouse to the right. River Irwell.


Albert Bridge. River Irwell.


The Mark Addy Pub. Mooring available here if visiting pub, with their permission. River Irwell.


Albert Bridge. River Irwell.


The new Calatrava Footbridge. River Irwell.


Blackfriars Bridge. River Irwell.


Victoria Bridge and Manchester Cathedral. River Irwell.


Cathedral Approach. River Irwell.


Salford Bridge. River Irwell.


Looking back at Cathedral Approach and Victoria Bridge. River Irwell.


Hunt's Bank. River Irwell.


Hunt's Bank Railway Bridges. Looking up at Greengate Bridge. River Irwell.


A 6042 Trinity Way Bridge. We managed to get under this, missing the concrete blocks, but gave up just after, due to the flow. River Irwell.


A 6042 Trinity Way Bridge. River Irwell.


Looking back from A 6042 Trinity Way Bridge. River Irwell.


Cathedral Approach Bridge. River Irwell.


Blocked off entrance to the Bolton and Bury Canal. River Irwell.


Coming back down, past Pomona Docks. Upper Reaches of The Manchester Ship Canal.


Looking back at Central Manchester. Upper Reaches of The Manchester Ship Canal.


The new tram bridge, for the line going to Salford Quays and Eccles. Upper Reaches of The Manchester Ship Canal.


Approaching Salford Quays and the Lowry Footbridge. This is the limit of Navigation, unless cleared for a passage down the Manchester Ship Canal. Upper Reaches of The Manchester Ship Canal.


Salford Quays. Manchester Ship Canal.


The still working dry docks just above Mode Wheel Locks. Manchester Ship Canal.


Mode Wheel Locks. Manchester Ship Canal.


Mode Wheel Large Lock. Manchester Ship Canal.


Mode Wheel Large Lock. Manchester Ship Canal.


Mode Wheel Large Lock. Manchester Ship Canal.


Leaving Mode Wheel Locks. Manchester Ship Canal.


Parkway Crossing Lift Bridge. Manchester Ship Canal.


Approaching the Barton Swing Aqueduct and Barton Road Swing Bridge. Manchester Ship Canal.


Barton Swing Aqueduct and Barton Road Swing Bridge. Manchester Ship Canal.


Barton Road Swing Bridge, M 63 Motorway Barton High Level Bridge in the distance. Manchester Ship Canal.


Looking back at Barton Road Swing Bridge and Barton Swing Aqueduct. Manchester Ship Canal.


Barton Large Lock. Manchester Ship Canal.


Barton Large Lock. Manchester Ship Canal.


We pick up some crud coming out of Barton Large Lock. Manchester Ship Canal.


Davyhulme Harbour. Manchester Ship Canal.


Rixton Junction, here the River Mersey exits and was the course of the Butchersfield Canal. Manchester Ship Canal.


Mersey Ferry "Royal Iris" on a MSC Tour. Approaching M6 Thelwall High Level Bridges. Manchester Ship Canal.


Mersey Ferry "Royal Iris". Manchester Ship Canal.


Mersey Ferry "Royal Iris". Manchester Ship Canal.


Mersey Ferry "Royal Iris" in Latchford Large Lock. Manchester Ship Canal. (Picture Dave Croft)


NB Earnest approaches Latchford Small Lock. Manchester Ship Canal. (Picture Dave Croft)


Latchford Locks. Manchester Ship Canal.


Latchford Small Lock. Manchester Ship Canal.


Leaving Latchford Locks. Manchester Ship Canal.


Latchford Locks and Latchford Viaduct. Manchester Ship Canal.


Looking back at Latchford High Level Bridge, Knutsford Road Swing Bridge and Latchford Railway Viaduct. Manchester Ship Canal.


NB Earnest underway. Manchester Ship Canal. (Picture Dave Croft)


NB Earnest entering Walton Dock. Manchester Ship Canal. (Picture Dave Croft)


NB Earnest approaching the disused Walton Lock. Manchester Ship Canal. (Picture Dave Croft)


NB Earnest and the disused Walton Lock. Manchester Ship Canal. (Picture Dave Croft)


NB Earnest approaching the disused Walton Lock. Manchester Ship Canal. (Picture Martin Wilson)

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Walton Lock from the totally silted up approach channel to the River Mersey


The disused Walton Lock. Manchester Ship Canal. (Picture Martin Wilson)


The disused Walton Lock. Manchester Ship Canal.


NB Earnest backing off from the disused Walton Lock. Manchester Ship Canal.


NB Earnest tanking out of Walton Dock. Manchester Ship Canal. (Picture Martin Wilson)


Acton Grange Railway Viaduct. Manchester Ship Canal.


Astmoor. Manchester Ship Canal.


NB Earnest going for the bridge hole! Old Quay Swing Bridge. Runcorn. Manchester Ship Canal.


The Arklow Venture going along at a more sedate pace. Runcorn. Manchester Ship Canal.


The Arklow Venture. Runcorn. Manchester Ship Canal.


Old Quay Side Lock down to the Mersey. This would need to be re-opened to make a safe high tide passage across to Widnes and the Spike Island entrance lock to the Sankey Canal. Runcorn. Manchester Ship Canal.


The Arklow Venture going through Old Quay Swing Bridge. Runcorn. Manchester Ship Canal.


Bridgewater Side Lock. This disused lock was just downstream from the Bridgewater Locks and Runcorn Docks. Manchester Ship Canal.


A quick glimpse across the Tidal River Mersey, just below the Runcorn Bridges - not a lot of water! Manchester Ship Canal.


The disused Weston Mersey side Lock down to the River Mersey. Manchester Ship Canal.


Salt Union salt works. Weston Point. Manchester Ship Canal.


Weaver Sluices.  Manchester Ship Canal.


Looking back at the Weaver Sluices and Weston Point. Manchester Ship Canal.


Looking across at Weston Marsh Lock (left), now the only operable way out of the River Weaver onto the Manchester Ship Canal. River Weaver exit on the right.


Weston Marsh Lock up to the River Weaver. Manchester Ship Canal.


Rather a lot of Canada Geese..........and this was only half the flock we split in two. Manchester Ship Canal.


The Westminster Dredging Co's WD Severn suction dredger. Manchester Ship Canal.


WD Severn and the crew of  NB Earnest. Ian Clarke, Peter Wright, martin Clark and Neil Arlidge. Manchester Ship Canal. (Photo Martin Wilson)


Looking back at the WD Severn and Weston Point. Manchester Ship Canal.


Looking back at Weston Point from Frodsham Deposit Grounds. Manchester Ship Canal.


Ince Power Station Oil Berth. Manchester Ship Canal.


Looking back at Ince Low Cutting. Manchester Ship Canal.


Ince Oil Berth. Manchester Ship Canal.


Looking back at Ince High Cutting. Manchester Ship Canal.


The York LPG Carrier. Ince Oil Berth. Manchester Ship Canal.


Multitank Balearia Ince Oil Berth. Manchester Ship Canal.


Stanlow Lay-by to the left. Ince Oil Berth. Manchester Ship Canal.


Stanlow oil refinery. Manchester Ship Canal.


Looking back at Stanlow Oil Docks. Manchester Ship Canal.


Looking back at Stanlow oil refinery. Manchester Ship Canal.


Ellesmere Port. Manchester Ship Canal.


Ellesmere Port. Manchester Ship Canal.


Looking back at Stanlow from Ellesmere Port. Manchester Ship Canal.


The entrance to Ellesmere Port. Manchester Ship Canal.


NB Earnest in Ellesmere Port lower basin.

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Looking out from the lower Ellesmere Port Basin to the Manchester Ship Canal.


The lock and swing bridge up to Ellesmere Port middle basin.


NB Earnest in Ellesmere Port lower basin.


Looking up the locks from Ellesmere Port Middle Basin.

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Ellesmere Port Middle Basin, visitor moorings for the boat museum. Holiday Inn Hotel to the right.

The Tour Continues...


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