Appley Bridge to Manchester
(Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Leigh Branch and Bridgewater Canal)
£1075pp (£2150 per charter)
Trip 13 – 28th July to 3rd August (6 nights)
Appley Bridge to Manchester (Stretford Marina or Castlefield Basin)
Total distance is 26 miles, 7 locks and 4 moveable bridges
After a couple of days of walking up and down the hill to the local shops, Capt. Ellis’s legs will appreciate the arrival of our next visitors.
We’ll expect our guests to arrive about 1.30pm on day 1 and after an introductory blah blah (and most probably a glass of something fizzy) we’ll chug off and aim to tie up for the night beyond Gathurst Lock (where we’ll have needed to top up with water) – probably somewhere around Crooke… Ideally near the Crooke Hall Inn but given the time of year, moorings could be tricky.
Next morning (after a simple DIY breakfast), we’ll cast off and head off to make our way towards Wigan. We’ll pass the famous ‘Wigan Pier’ (a nothing really but folks seem to have heard of it) and then we can lunch and hang around for a short while on the moorings near the dry dock if guests wish to have a little exploration. Not too long mind as we’ll need to get back on track and through the locks at Poolstock (now on the Leigh Branch of the L & L) before they are closed for the day (timings vary so we’ll have to suck it and see). It’s generally OK to moor around Scotman’s Flash – that said, bearing mind the time of year, chances are we’ll be on life-guard alert for any youngsters doing dangerous (to themselves) things involving the water.
Our 3rd day isn’t a very long chug – we’ll have to time ‘Plank Lane’ Lift bridge just right (not operational between 0800 – 0930hrs or 1600 – 1800hrs. We can top up the water tank here before moving off towards todays planned mooring a little further on overlooking the beautiful ‘Pennington Flash’. From here guests can walk down and around the flash or just sit and watch the wildlife… I’ve seen some beautiful sunset murmurations by starlings in the location
Day 4 we’ll cast off and stop briefly in Leigh (there’s a supermarket right next to the canal…an opportunity too good to miss) and then chug on to Boothstown around lunchtime. We can have lunch here (and maybe a couple of drinks in The Moorings pub which is canalside. We need to decide whether to take a gamble and chug on to Worsley (moorings here at peak times are rare) or settle for the night in Boothstown… we’ll get a feel for how busy things are at the time I suppose.
The next morning – wherever we’ve been the night before, we’ll chug off, pass Trafford Park and at waters meeting turn left onto the Bridgewater Canal. Along here, we’ll go part Manchester United and Old Trafford (the latter a step back from the canal) and TRY for a mooring in Castlefield Basin… in high season it’s often tricky to find somewhere to park! Hopefully, we’ll be arriving at a time of day when folks will have left after breakfast but any newbies will still be on route. I do have HALF a backup plan for mooring here (well up the arm) as I know a fellow up there has one of those “feel free to moor along side” notices stuck on his window… his dog is friendly too!
Assuming we’ve overnighted in the basin, we can hang around a few hours the next morning so as to enjoy the Science Museum or anything else guests fancy doing before we depart around lunchtime to our end of trip mooring at Stretford Marina - it’s only about 90 mins down the Bridgewater. IF we’ve had our own mooring we may stay put and then Ellis will leave the following morning when guests have finished breakfast and departed.