Saturday, 26 May 2012

Slow boat to Wigan - 2

Speaking with Paul, the Peel Ports Engineer, was interesting, it turns out the delay was due to adjusts needed to the shims on the hydraulic wedges that seal the tank. These are adjusted according to temperature expansion - and there was plenty of that on the 234ft long structure, with thick grease and sawdust also being liberally applied. At last all was set for the Aqueduct to regain the canal alignment. It swung silently over about 4 minutes and I realised the ends were angled to take up a tight fit.

800 tons swings into place. The painted white vertical bar is the top of the hydraulic locking mechanism
As we tend to cruise slower, we let the others who were also waiting go ahead, including a very smart LMS Station Boat nb Achilles with what looks like a 4 cylinder Gardiner.
Crossing the Aqueduct was quite exhilarating with views all around.

Looking west to the road swing bridge

Looking east to Salford Quays

As we crossed over, there was a Peel Ports working barge. We had seen a number moored and only one in transit.

I realise my navigation can sometimes be poor though this building clearly confuses!

We had last passed this way in 1993, so my memory of the area was rather distant - and there has been considerable building development in between.  Some things stay the same through time and Worsley Hall and the Delph entrance are part of the folklore of how the canal system originated. Also the ochre colour of the water from the iron ore in the mines, there was talk of cleaning it up?!

We arrived at the newly installed self-operated Plank Lane Lift Bridge during the rush hour closed time.
Taking on a full tank of water filled (literally) the time and at 6pm I operated the push buttons to clear our way, just as nb Fletch (who was in front of us at the Aqueduct and stopped in Worsley) and Christal Haze appeared, holding the bridge up I could feel the looks from the growing queue of waiting motorists as a boat had interrupted their dash homewards! We arrived at the staging post of the old Dover Lock Inn and moored.
An 8 hour journey and some 22 miles! Tired and weathered, we eat at the pub with Alex and Kevin off nb Christal Haze swapping stories and planning the Wigan Flight Experience for tomorrow. Slept well!

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