Bridgewater CanalJuly 16, 2017 in the United Kingdom
Not all inland waterways are the responsibility of CRT or the Environment Agency. The Bridgewater Canal, for example, is a privately owned canal that has its own bylaws, boat registration and licensing system. After the tunnels of the Trent and Mersey, there's an arm of the Bridgewater heading eastwards to Runcorn, which once connected with the Mersey. Remarkably, the Bridgewater remains lock-free all the way to Manchester, some 25 miles. It achieves this with the construction of some unique aquaducts, including James Brindley's stone aquaduct over the River Irwell.
Today we are heading for the village of Lymm and another collection of mail, hopefully. The long, narrow towns of Stockton Heath and Grappenhall are sandwiched between the Bridgewater and... the Manchester Ship Canal! We're navigating within just a mile of it at one point. After passing under the M6 motorway, the canal heads due east and we are soon looking for a mooring at Lymm. The spot that we moor up at is directly opposite the village community centre - crafts and food fair taking place - and we find we're actually on a short aquaduct over a road and stream. It's a pleasantly warm and sunny afternoon, and we decide to walk into the village centre, see if the fair has anything of interest, and locate the post office which we'll collect our mail from tomorrow. We're also looking for potential places to eat out at. For a medium-sized village, there are a surprising number of pubs, restaurants and cafes. After a while we twig that we're not that far from Manchester now, and there's a sizeable suburban population, within a few miles, attracted to places like Lymm.
What there wasn't enough custom for, we discover, was the services of the village post office. No.2, The Cross is now a charity shop! Chris asks one of the shop's staff, and we learn that the post office closed, with no advanced notice, last November! So what's happened to our mail?? The helpful shop manageress suggests contacting another post office, close to Lymm, in case it's gone there.
Numerous attempts to phone the post office, local sorting office and CID all fail, so we walk back to the village and enjoy a meal at Elmas Mediterranean, a popular, noisy but entertaining restaurant, where Jo chooses the goat's cheese pizza, and Chris wishes he'd gone for the same!
When we return to the canal, we find that some neighbouring boats have left, and further boats are still arriving and looking for spaces. We move Pelangi a few yards to close a short gap in the moorings and help open a space for a longer boat. Lymm is a busy, bustling place, even on a Sunday. Feels a bit like a summertime seaside place, but inland!Read more