10th Anniversary

Ten years ago today I sold the first Waterway Routes DVD.

Leeds & Liverpool Canal DVD Cover
Leeds & Liverpool Canal DVD Cover

After many hours of careful editing, I added the Leeds & Liverpool Canal DVD to my website and crossed my fingers to see how it would sell. The answer was very well and it led to the whole series of Waterway Routes DVDs.

Thank you to S who was my first customer, and to his wife L.  They became regular customers and now help with proof watching DVDs and, more recently, with crewing the boat and filming too.

A very big thank you to all my customers who have purchased DVDs (and Maps) and it’s nice to see many of your names appear regularly as you return each year to purchase more.

Bridgewater Canal Stop Gates – 2

I recently blogged about the new stop gates being installed on the Leigh Arm of the Bridgewater Canal.

Tom & Jan on Waiouru have cruised through the re-opened canal today and been kind enough let me have photos of the finished work, with permission to publish them.

New Stop Gates - © Tom Jones (Waiouru)
New Stop Gates – © Tom Jones (Waiouru)

I wonder what the mooring bollards are for.  Perhaps they will be handy for workboats when maintenance is being carried out.

The new stop gates have overlapping beams at different heights, although there is very little clearance between them.  It will take very little warping with age before they start touching each other and I wonder how long it will be before adjustments are required.

New Stop Gates - © Tom Jones (Waiouru)
New Stop Gates – © Tom Jones (Waiouru)

There are grooves for stop planks to be inserted so work can be carried out on the gates.  Hopefully that won’t be needed too often.

Map Updates – March 2016 – Issue 48

I’m pleased to announce the March 2016 updates to my cruising maps are now available.

Extract from Trent & Mersey Canal Map
Extract from Trent & Mersey Canal Map

You can see a full list of the latest issue of the maps, but those with significant changes this month are:-

Remember, you can update your map to the latest version – free during the first year and a small charge after that.  You can also upgrade to a larger map.  Just email paul@waterwayroutes.co.uk with details of your existing maps for a no obligation quote.

Hulme Locks Branch

The Hulme Locks Branch of the Bridgewater Canal was opened in 1838 to provide a link from the main line of the Bridgwater Canal to the River Irwell, then the Mersey and Irwell Navigation.  The branch closed in 1995 when the new Pomona Lock opened a little further along the canal.

Hulme Locks Junction
Hulme Locks Junction

There are two lock chambers still in existence, although the upper chamber, seen in the photo above, has no working gates so the intermediate pound is at the higher level and the lower lock is the full height.

The upper lock was certainly working in the 1930s, but with a much shallower drop than the lower lock.  The sides of the intermediate basin have been built up since then, and the lower lock made full height.  Perhaps someone will leave a comment to explain when and why this was done.

Junction with RIver Irwell
Junction with RIver Irwell

The bottom lock of the Hulme Locks branch sits under the arch of the railway viaduct and leads onto the River Irwell.

You can see a virtual cruise along the Hulme Locks Branch with a choice of starting points.

Precision Timing

While cycling along the Leigh Branch of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal recently to check my map data I encountered new signs, intended for cyclists.

This was the first sign I found, at Leigh.

Signpost at Leigh
Signpost at Leigh

I was intrigued by the precision of the timings shown on the signs, with Wigan shown as 59 minutes rather than 60 minutes, or 1 hour.  As it takes 10-15 minutes to cycle across Wigan this must be to a very precise location, but where?

Later I found this sign at Wigan, at the junction between the Leigh Branch and the main line of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

Signpost at Wigan
Signpost at Wigan

Leigh is 54 minutes and Wigan town centre is 6 minutes, a total of 60 minutes cycling, so where did the 59 minutes come from, was it to one end of the pier?

Hollinwood and Stockport Canals Map

My February map updates included an increase in the routes covered, with the addition of a map covering the Hollinwood Canal and the Stockport Canal.

Route of Hollinwood and Stockport Canals
Route of Hollinwood and Stockport Canals

Some might consider these to be called the Hollinwood Branch Canal and the Stockport Branch Canal and both to be branches of the Ashton Canal, but I’m using the shorter name they are gradually becoming known by.

The map includes the Fairbottom Branch of the Hollinwood Canal, and the Werneth Branch Canal, a stand alone canal, despite the “Branch” in the title which is often mistaken for a branch of the Hollinwood Canal.

Restoration of most of the Hollinwood Canal looks possible, excluding the most northern section after the motorway, but a link to the Rochdale Canal looks possible instead.

Restoration of the Stockport Canal might be possible for the northern half of the route but the southern part (within Stockport) looks unlikely as the route is blocked by too many developments and, regrettably, some of these seem very recent.

Extract from Hollinwood and Stockport Canals Map
Extract from Hollinwood and Stockport Canals Map

The Hollinwood and Stockport Canal Maps are free to download, as are all the maps for canal restoration projects, and available in both Acrobat (pdf) and Memory-Map (qct) formats.  They are included in the England & Wales Canal Maps from the February 2016 issue onwards.