Canal walk – Radcliffe to Bury

Another gloriously warm and sunny afternoon saw me out and about with the dogs and camera again, this time along the Radcliffe to Bury section of the Manchester, Bolton and Bury canal. My walk started from the car park of the Last Orders pub on the A665 leading into Radcliffe; a short flight of stone steps led down from the car park itself to the towpath and I’d only gone twenty yards or so when I got my first shot, followed by a second one within another twenty yards. A bit further on was an old railway bridge in faded red paint and with lettering on the side, though I couldn’t quite make out what it said until I got closer to it.
The footpath over the bridge was part of a much longer path known locally as the ‘banana path’ (opinions seem to differ as to why it’s called that) and the slogan on the side of the bridge was one of the more obscure ‘artworks’ on the Irwell Sculpture Trail. Designed by New York-based artist Lawrence Weiner, one of the central figures of late 20th century art, the slogan is one of several in various locations around the world and is supposed to represent the artist’s attempt to understand the nature of water. Now I wonder, just how many minutes did it take him to think that one up?!
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‘Water made it wet’ – a text work by Lawrence Weiner
From the bridge the towpath was bordered for much of its length by hawthorn trees which had recently come into bloom and were giving off their lovely scent. I love the smell of hawthorn and often think it’s a shame that some enterprising perfume manufacturer doesn’t develop a fragrance like that; I’m not normally a perfume wearer but if there was a hawthorn one I’d have bottles of the stuff.
Across the far side of the canal open fields were dotted with sheep and cows, while in the far distance ahead and high up on the hills were the wind turbines of Scout Moor windfarm, the second largest onshore windfarm in England. As far as countryside goes I wasn’t that far from civilisation, there was nothing remarkable about my surroundings and there weren’t a great many photo opportunities as much of my route looked the same, but in the warm sunshine and with the sound of various birds in the trees it was a really pleasant walk.
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An overgrown section
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Eventually I came to another bridge and the high bank of Elton reservoir over on my left; I’d reached the outskirts of Bury and I knew from cycling that way years ago that I would soon be approaching an industrial area and there wasn’t much canal left, so I left the towpath and followed the nearby lane over the bridge and up to the reservoir. Elton Sailing Club was nearby and there were several yachts in the process of going back to the clubhouse so I snapped a quick photo then set off on a clockwise circuit of the lake.
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Away from the reservoir bank and over on the far side the land became flatter with several places where I could leave the path and get to the water’s edge so I decided to let the dogs have a paddle. Poppie however didn’t stop at just a paddle, she was so eager to get into the water that she slipped off the sandy edge and ended up swimming in water that was deeper than she’d expected. Sophie as usual stuck to just getting her paws wet but it wasn’t long before she too had an unexpected dip.
A bit further along from there the path veered away from the water and skirted a small creek with a stream running into it. The stream was crossed by a wooden bridge and I’d just stopped to take a photo when SPLOSH – Sophie, running around like she normally does, had misjudged the end of the bridge and fallen straight into the stream. And for a little dog who absolutely hates water she swam very well and was soon scrambling back up onto the path. So I ended up with two very wet dogs but I knew that by the time we got back to the van they would both be dry again.
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The creek near where Sophie fell in the stream
As I got near to the sailing club the path became private so I had to continue my walk along the lane behind the clubhouse, then once I got back to the point where I started my circuit of the reservoir I made my way back over the canal bridge and down to the towpath to head back to the van. A few clouds had started to gather by then so the sun disappeared briefly a couple of times but by the time I got close to where I’d left the van most of them had cleared away, so I got one last shot before I climbed the steps back up to the car park.
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The last shot of the day
At least I didn’t have to put two wet dogs in the back of the van, they’d both completely dried out on our way back from the reservoir and once they’d settled down I didn’t hear a peep from either of them all the way back home. It had been an enjoyable walk along a very pleasant stretch of the canal and it was one which I’ll probably do again in the not-too-distant future.
My walk from the yellow spot
I’m linking up again withΒ Jo’s Monday WalkΒ where this week she’s continuing her exploration of Bath – do pop over and join her for some architecture, quirkiness and a rhubarb and cherry slice or two.


20 thoughts on “Canal walk – Radcliffe to Bury

  1. I do love a canal walk. Sometimes they can get monotonous but there’s usually a passing boat for distraction. You have some lovely reflective and curvy shots, Eunice. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ I have a tiny snippet of canal in my walk this week. Thanks for joining me. Have a happy one!


    1. You certainly don’t get boats on this canal Jo – it originally ran over 15 miles from Manchester to Bury but it’s been disused for many many years and was closed completely in 1961, with several sections of it being filled in over the years.

      You’ve just given me an idea though – there’s a lovely canal a bit further afield which is great for a walk and has plenty of boats, I’ve not been there for several years so maybe it’s about time I did πŸ™‚


      1. I did wonder, Eunice. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Good idea! Can’t have too many canals. I just wish they were a little bit closer to me but I’ve got the coast. Can’t have everything.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Is that a good feeling or a bad one?? πŸ™‚ I know other countries have canals but I always think that a canal running through countryside like this is just so typically British πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t know what to say about “water made it wet” πŸ™‚
    Aww poor Sophie, that must have given quite her a fright.
    You’ve taken some lovely photos, I’m glad we’re having some lovely bright, warm sunshine at long last.


    1. I wouldn’t even call that slogan ‘art’ – a child could do better than that. Sometimes I wonder how the brains of these so-called modern ‘artists’ work, I’m sure they must have a wire loose somewhere πŸ™‚

      Sophie was non the worse for her unexpected dip, once she got out of the water she just carried on running round. I don’t know why she doesn’t like water, her previous owner told me she didn’t, and in spite of me trying to get her to swim on previous occasions she really does dislike it.

      I’m afraid the bright warm sunshine has now deserted us here, it’s very damp and drizzly this morning πŸ™‚ I hope the sun comes back soon.


  3. Poor Sophie, that unexpected swim must have come as a bit of a shock to her!

    I’m totally with you on Hawthorne – or Maytree, as they call it down here in Devon. Smells amazing! I always think mahonia would make a fabulous perfume as well, that’s my favourite scent! πŸ™‚


  4. I think the fragrance of hawthorn is divine, I could happily live under a hawthorn tree in spring πŸ™‚ I’m not familiar with mahonia – or maybe I am though I’m not very clued up on plant names etc so don’t recognise it, but another one I do like the smell of is broom, that comes a close second to hawthorn. I have a couple of broom bushes in my garden and they’re lovely when they come into flower πŸ™‚


  5. I’ve never heard of Scraggy as I’m not local to Radcliffe, but whatever he painted on the bridge can’t have been any worse than the slogan that’s on there now – a child could have thought of something better than that πŸ™‚


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