Saturday, 25 January 2020
Wednesday, 15 August 2018
A repeat of last Tuesday’s bike ride. Just a bit of exercise, but I stopped to take a couple of pictures by the Ship Canal where the Metrolink extension from Pomona to the Trafford Centre is being constructed.
Hopefully they’ll tidy up the site when they’ve finished.
This is a dry route with a good surface at all times of the year, which is very handy for an off road ride. There’s less than a couple of km on roads, though the section from the BBC studios to Eccles is on a cycle track next to the road.
Here’s the route again – 26km, 40 metres ascent, in an hour and a quarter or so today. Easy (and quicker) on a road bike if you have one.
Wednesday, 11 October 2017
For a bit of exercise, I quite often cycle along the Bridgewater Canal as far as the Throstle Nest bridge on the Rochdale Canal link, where I join the path beside the Ship Canal, crossing that via the Media City Footbridge and heading along cycle lanes through Eccles to Barton Swing Bridge, from where the main branch of the Bridgewater Canal gets me home after 26-27 km, in a bit less than an hour and a half.
The route is often affected by various works being undertaken by Peel Holdings, who seem to own most of this part of the world. Currently it’s clear as far as the Throstle Nest Bridge, where the canal can be crossed if you want to continue to the Castlefield Basin and on to the City Centre. My route doesn’t cross the canal, instead heading alongside the Manchester Ship Canal for a while. Currently that path is under reconstruction, so lately I’ve had to use a short stretch of pavement to get me to Sam Platt’s Pub, beyond which the waterside path could be rejoined.
However, Sam Platt’s has suddenly disappeared. Here’s what it looked like until recently.
Then it closed, and this happened.
It has now degenerated to a pile of bricks. The sign that’s still in the top picture is just to the left of the picture immediately above this text. I’m sure Peel Holdings have some elaborate plans and the area of desolation will evolve into something meaningful, if not another pub.
Having eventually regained the canalside after passing by the long stretch of rubble, I found the Media City footbridge closed due to some sort of technical problem – twisting arches or something. A partly waterborne team was trying to mend it, so hopefully it won’t be closed for long.
Luckily there’s another bridge nearby, so the only downside is a few hundred metres of road cycling rather than off-road. But never mind.
Having regained the Bridgewater Canal beyond the Barton swing bridge, I paused for a break about half way back, near the Watch House Cruising Club that can be seen in the distance.
On this ride I noticed quite a few birds, including the resident mallards, Canada geese and black headed gulls. Mandy the sole mandarin duck is still living nearby, pretending to be a mallard, and just near our house the grey wagtails are so yellow that I must check that they really aren’t the rarer yellow version. There’s also a lone cormorant that, like the local herons, has lost its shyness, and if you wait for long enough at the bridge over the River Mersey you should eventually see a kingfisher. There are lots of LBJs about as well, but I’ll leave them to another time (after I’ve been accompanied by someone who knows more about birds than I do…).
Here’s my route. It’s useful at this time of year as it’s off road apart from 2 km in Eccles, and it’s entirely free of mud. A flat 27 km, taking about 1.5 hours.
Saturday, 7 October 2017
When we saw him at the jazz on Monday, Reg recommended a visit to Irlam Station. So I arranged a short notice outing, starting from the station, which is only a 15 minute drive from Timperley.
Sue came along, and we were joined by Rick, Andrew and John B, with apologies from various others including JJ (wedding) and AlanR (diy). [You missed a good one.]
After supping coffees outside the station on the warm, sunny morning, we set off basically along the route I took with Reg on 25 September 2014, adjusted for the different starting point. That link (click on the date I’ve just given) gives a bit more ‘colour’ that I’m not going to repeat in this posting.
The footpath work around Great Woolden Moss has been completed since Reg and I were there. Very impressive it is too.
The old (exhausted) peat beds have now been flooded and are awaiting wildlife to discover this new sanctuary. Quite a lot of wildlife has already done that. There were excellent views in the clear air to Kinder Scout in one direction and to nearby Winter Hill, pictured below.
Lancashire Wildlife Trust have put up a splendid set of information boards.
I’ve not seen plants trained to form an arch on a path like this before!
“I am pretty sure the arch of plants on the moss is a willow arch. Shoots of willow are planted and will take root so it will be a living arch in future. Living willow sculptures are quite common - see a few examples here.”
Here’s the view across the Moss towards the Lancashire coast. Near here we met David Steel**, a chap who spends a lot of time hereabouts studying the bird life. He spoke of peregrine falcons, swallows and stonechats having been spotted today, and I believe this is an area where he brings folk who want to see yellow wagtails. There were certainly buzzards and kestrels in attendance as we passed through, and David assured us that the place is rich in bird life.
Splashed everywhere are markers for ‘The Salford Trail’ – a route devised by Roy Bullock just a few years ago. The route, and its accompanying brochures, has recently been updated – mainly to handle the changes to footpaths generated by Peel Holdings’ activities.
Leaving Little Woolden Moss, we strolled down a track past Moss Lodge and Red House Farms, outside which there was an assortment of miscellaneous machinery that couldn’t quite command the title of ‘tractor’!
With Glazebury almost in sight, we turned left, past Moss House Farm, to join the Glazebrook Trail that runs along the east bank of Glaze Brook nearly all the way to where the brook empties its contents into the Manchester Ship Canal.
Andrew took advantage of a passing bench while the rest of us stood to enjoy a cuppa (or whatever) and a few crumbs of cake left over from Outdoor Activities’s recent birthday party.
Being so close to Glazebury, and having forgotten the relative merits of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway as compared with the Stockton and Darlington Railway, we agreed that I would include some clarification in this report. It’s as we thought…
Nearby Glazebury and Bury Lane railway station was closed in 1958. It was opened on 15 September 1830 by the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, and was originally named Bury Lane. In July 1878 it was renamed Glazebury and Bury Lane. The station was one of the original passenger stations of George Stephenson's 1830 Liverpool and Manchester Railway, the world's first railway to cater for passengers as one of its primary functions. It was also arguably the world’s first inter city railway.
The Stockton and Darlington Railway (S&DR) was a railway company that operated from 1825 to 1863. This was the world's first public railway to use steam locomotives. Its first line connected collieries near Shildon with Stockton-on-Tees and Darlington, and was officially opened on 27 September 1825. The movement of coal to ships rapidly became a lucrative business, and the line was soon extended to a new port and town at Middlesbrough. While coal waggons were hauled by steam locomotives from the start, passengers were carried in coaches drawn by horses until carriages hauled by steam locomotives were introduced in 1833, some three years after the line that passes through Glazebury was opened for passengers in carriages pulled by steam engines.
The black soil may be good for some crops, but it seems to have taken its toll on a wide range of farm machinery that we now found littered on farmland in the vicinity of Little Woolden Hall.
What’s this, Alan?
Alan says: “The fabrication is called "the lower frame", it is part of a 360 degree excavator.
From the looks of it, it could possibly be a prototype, it looks too good to have been a replacement part. Maybe it was purchased for scrap when Fermec on Barton Dock Rd was vacated and then demolished.
It's a fair size so I guess it would have been 10-15 ton machine.”
(I’ve deleted Alan’s comment and link to a picture as my virus checker told me it was infected with malware.)*
There must be about twenty tractors in various states of (dis)repair around here.
This one looks exceptionally sad…
Here’s Alan’s report on the machinery:
“The Fendt with the puncture is a nice piece of kit but a bit expensive at around 70/80k to leave it idle.
The yellow Fergy is quite a rare sight. It's an MF 65 in industrial yellow. They were built in Coventry and were painted red. If they went to an agricultural dealer they stayed red but if they went to a council or contractor they were repainted yellow as this one was. Hence the red front end.
When Massey moved the industrial section of the company to Stretford in Manchester they initially shipped machines from Coventry to be converted to "industrial". A few years later the Manchester factory started producing the machines entirely and they were painted yellow from scratch.”
As the sky started to cloud over, we made our way back to Irlam Station for an excellent lunch. It’s one of a number of a great dining spots hereabouts. Thanks to Reg for the recommendation.
Here’s our route, 13.5 km taking about 3 hours – very easy to navigate, and ideal for a half day stroll in countryside very close to the city centre.
Thanks for coming along, everyone.
* See Alan’s further comment, and here’s a picture:
**John B has now sent me this excellent link to an article written in 2013 describing some of David’s activities. Here’s an extract:
“David’s sightings have helped the Wildlife Trust to know when and where they can work on restoring the moss. The Trust owns Cadishead Moss and Astley Moss and manages 12 Yards Road and Highfield Moss. They bought the 90 hectares Little Woolden Moss last year and have worked over winter to ensure this expanse of peat extraction is returned to a carbon-capturing moss landscape.”
Monday, 31 October 2016
Last week was a quiet one. The only picture I took was this one near the BBC buildings in Salford Quays. Today the scene will be very similar, so I’m heading out into the sunshine in preference to ‘processing’ the weekend’s activities, which will appear later…
Have a nice week.
Tuesday, 13 September 2016
Wednesday, 10 February 2016
Alan was suffering from Curry Withdrawal Symptoms.
So he endured a marathon bus/tram journey to Timperley. JJ turned up for coffee and cake and the ensuing stroll to the This ‘n That curry house in Soap Street. (Well, poor JJ missed the curry – he had to dash off, or did he simply morph into Sheila?)
We took a fairly direct route along the Bridgewater Canal towpath so no map is needed today; my Garmin recorded about 15 km in total.
I wish I’d taken photos of Manchester more regularly since I first arrived in 1967 – at which time steam hauled goods trains passed frequently by our lecture room windows at UMIST, and Market Street was just like any other busy high street.
Aidan O’Rourke gave an illustrated talk at SWOG a couple of weeks ago that demonstrated the value of taking regular pictures from the same spot, recording changes in the city landscape. I haven’t got his ‘then and now’ images, but some of those below could eventually become ‘then’ snaps!
The Bridgewater Canal divides at Waters Meeting in Trafford Park. The 250 year old towpath has recently been restored. Here’s a picture from the bridge over which we continue towards the lock that links the Bridgewater Canal with the Manchester Ship Canal, looking on here to the path to Eccles.
En route, we pass the Soapworks, mentioned in last week’s posting.
A bridge across the Ship Canal/River Irwell is followed by one of my regular bikes rides, but it’s eschewed by Curry Walkers.
The graffiti in this part of Manchester leaves a little to be desired.
The towpath leads to Merchants’ Bridge in Castlefield, which we cross to wend our way towards Deansgate.
Castlefield (on which there is a plethora of information here) is full of Victorian constructions, many topped with castellated stone as a gesture to the Roman Fort that was virtually destroyed in their construction.
There are newer buildings here as well. Can you spot the YHA?
JJ found a sign.
Alan was inside the bar – his attention span didn’t reach beyond the first line!
St Peter’s Square is in a state of flux. The new KPMG building is on the right; the metrolink station has gone, for the time being, and trams pass without stopping.
The square will look quite different in a year’s time.
Later – Spinners Quiz in Adlington – jackpot now up to £550 – nobody won it – we did however gain a tenner between our team of five for winning the Snakes and Ladders contest!
Alan’s rather more comprehensive report is here.