Monday, 1 February 2016

Bridgewater Canal - 31st January 2016

The River Goyt wasn't running at a very exciting level, so Jim and I decided to get some miles in on the Bridgewater Canal instead.

We parked up under the M60 bridge and as we were getting ready some poor lad in a rowing boat capsized about 50 metres away from us, so we got on to offer assistance. He was pulled to the side by an attending bank crew, but Jim offered up some warm clothing and a flask of coffee. He was pretty cold, only wearing a tee-shirt and tracksuit bottoms and I bet it took a while for him to warm up again with the water temperature only being about 4-5 degrees C.

After that excitement we carried on down through Sale passing many new apartment blocks and people exercising on the towpath. Urban gentrification has taken hold hereabouts, especially since the tram line was installed giving quick access to the city centre.

As we made our way out of the southern Manchester sprawl, the scenery comprised of alternating industrial complexes and apartment developments, interspersed with the odd cluster of traditional canalside cottages.

An abrupt change to the surroundings occurs when the canal leaves Oldfield Brow and makes its way past Dunham Massey park. I'd just been talking to Jim about seeing kingfishers on the Macclesfield Canal, and he said they were also present here. Then on cue a kingfisher flew past us and stayed just in front of us for a couple of hundred yards.

We clocked up the miles chatting about future paddling trips and the merits of different styles of rolling a kayak and eventually arrived at the town of Lymm. Refreshments in Lymm normally involve visiting the excellent fish and chip shop, but being a Sunday, this wasn't an option. Luckily however, a recent new option is a canal barge that has been converted to a cafe and we partook of its excellent hospitality (and warmth) with a bacon and egg butty and a cup of coffee. (

Suitably refreshed, we relaunched into the increasingly heavy rain for the uneventful return trip.

We returned to our launch site and as we were loading up a police car passed us and went over to talk to the occupants of two other cars that were parked up further under the bridge. No idea what they were up to, but perhaps it isn't the safest place to launch from. We made our own getaway and had a post paddle crumpet and coffee round Jim's to warm up.

We paddled approximately 30km. Weather was pretty miserable all the time! Must have been paddling for about 5 hours total.

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