Tuesday, 20 January 2015

CHESHIRE RING CANAL WALK (NORTH)

Avid readers may remember that in June 2013 I walked half of the Cheshire Ring Canal clockwise from Marple to Acton Bridge from where I followed the river Weaver to Frodsham to take on the Sandstone Trail.

Bowland Climber, a long standing friend and frequent commenter here had since suggested we complete the Cheshire Ring together, and that plan came to fruition last Thursday.

We drove to BC's son's  on Thursday evening, and son M gave us a lift to Acton Bridge on Friday morning.

I suppose doing a multi-day walk at this time of the year is a lottery but we knew we could return to M's each evening by public transport, so even if weather was dire we would have comfort.

We set off with bright sunshine but it was very cold. The walk divided into three fourteen mile sections taking us to Lymm this day with enjoyable walking and  sighting of a kingfisher.

From Lymm we were able to catch a bus to Manchester Piccadilly and then,  for me, the new experience of travelling on the excellent Metro tram back to M's at Timperley.

That evening we dined at the Shandaar Indian restaurant - walking distance from M's and as good an Indian meal as I can remember - well recommended.

M dropped us off again in Lymm on Saturday morning. The going involved some made up surfaces but an awful lot of squelchy mud. Again it was cold but we remained dry and the walking was interesting until we arrived at a point not far from Manchester United's ground on the other side of the canal. Here an ambiguously signed footpath diversion tricked us into continuing along the towpath for at least half a mile based on an earlier experience when we had been able to walk through a similar supposedly diverted path. The canal was blocked off at a bridge and steps lead up to a high padlocked gate and high metal fence which would have put life in danger with any attempt at scaling. We trudged the half mile back then became involved in busy city roads and roundabouts and our mapping just didn't have enough detail and we eventually ended up, unknowingly, on the wrong side of the canal trekking through undesirable wasteland for a mile or so. At one point I  tripped and fell bashing my forehead quite violently and wrenching my shoulder. BC has a dramatic picture with blood everywhere, and too alarming to be posted here, although BC has my permission to post it on his blog if he wants to.

We had lost over an hour on our schedule and we came into Manchester as light was failing. The passage of the canal through Manchester centre is a fascinating mixture of modern, and cleverly engineered Victorian architecture all shoehorned in, providing a most attractive part of the city it would be easy to miss on a casual visit.

On Sunday morning we were able to travel back to Piccadilly on the Metro and continue on a finish to Marple.

BC had researched public transport the previous evening without us being certain of arrival time at Marple, and with the added problem of Sunday services, but we only waited about ten minutes for a bus to Stockport and then another short ten minute wait for a bus to take us to the end of the road in Timperley where M lives. The public transport system around Manchester seems brilliant.

That was a most enjoyable three days with good company and fine weather snatched from winter.

Here are a few photos - I hope to post a link to the full slideshow when Dropbox has absorbed the transfer - it takes hours.



PLEASE CLICK TO ENLARGE



Section of canal drained due to breach. Towpath supposedly diverted, but we were able to walk through

Presumably fished from drained canal - crim's pickings; must have been a few years ago judging from dial rather than buttons.



Zoom to power station in direction of Runcorn - about 6 kms. away

Their machines for setting type were world famous until computers took over



Posted somewhat against  my better judgement, but for what it's worth, Manchester United stadium

Manchester Hilton

Spiral stonework on bridge over canal to enable horses drawing canal boats to  by-pass tunnel



9 comments:

Phreerunner said...

You passed our house Conrad. If we hadn't been abroad I'd have delighted in showing you around the stupid Old Trafford diversion. It caught me out the first time I encountered it, but it's not too bad if you know the route - it passes some points of interest.

Gayle said...

I'm not sure whether I should publicly admit that I've got a bit of a track record of walking through closed sections of tow-path (and footpaths, for that matter) and, more often than not, find there's no real obstruction (other than the closure barriers). Every now and then, though, it turns out that the closure and diversion was entirely warranted; always annoying when that happens - especially when you've walked the best part of a mile to find out!

Sir Hugh said...

Phreerunner - Hi Martin. I was aware we would be somewhere near your abode, but we had a tight schedule on this trip and I knew you were still away. Having studied the map under a microscope, in a more relaxed environment, I reckon I can see where we went wrong.

This was an interesting walk and an eye-opener to the merits of an area one thinks of as totally urban.

-----------------------

Gayle - Same here. From experience I reckon the odds are in favour of getting through, but you can't win them all.

bowlandclimber said...

Now you have uploaded dropbox I have been looking keenly at your photos to see when my pole section parted company. I think before the first tunnel.

Sir Hugh said...

BC - Do you want me to come and help you look for it?

bowlandclimber said...

Thanks for the offer - I suspect it will be in the canal by now and anyway I have a spare pair.

John J said...

What Martin said ....apart from me not being abroad. We could have quite easily bumped into each other, I walked from Timperley to Lymm on the towpath!
Do you realise that you photographed Sooty & Sweep's house and the Whore's Hospital?

Sir Hugh said...

JJ - Hi John. I didn't know about the houses. Can you please tell me which was which and what number photos they are on the slideshow and then I will do a bit of Googling. Thanks.

John J said...

I seem to have a problem viewing the photos today, so:
Sooty & Sweep's house is the white building next to the canal bridge in the centre of Lymm at SJ683873
The Whore's Hospital - actually the horse hospital :-) is just before Lymm at SJ705873.