Sunshine after the rain

A couple of weekends ago a brief break in the interminably wet local weather produced a lovely sunny Sunday so I took advantage of it and went for an afternoon dog walk along a section of the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal just a six mile drive from home. Behind a pub on the main road into Radcliffe steps took me down onto the canal path where I turned right and headed in the direction of Bury.
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Away from civilisation ducks, swans, geese and the occasional moorhen inhabited the canal and its banks while open fields were dotted with cows, sheep and the odd pony or two. Apart from the brief sound of an occasional passing tram on the nearby line between Manchester and Bury it was very peaceful and the afternoon was even warm enough for me to dispense with my lightweight tracksuit top.
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Eventually an offshoot from the path took me up onto a lane running above and parallel to the River Irwell and over on my left was the high bank of Elton Reservoir. I would soon be approaching an industrial area on the outskirts of Bury and having cycled along there several years ago I knew there wasn’t much canal left – it had been filled in many years previously – so I followed the lane across the bridge over the canal and up to the reservoir.
The River Irwell – the canal is on the left just off the photo
The reservoir is the home of Elton Sailing Club and there were several boats out on the water so I snapped a couple of photos then set off on a clockwise circuit of the lake. In the far distance beyond the reservoir and high up on the hills above Bleakholt animal sanctuary was Scout Moor windfarm; occupying an area of almost two miles it’s the second largest onshore windfarm in England and the twenty six 60-metre turbines can be seen from south Manchester, around 20 miles away.
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Away from the open reservoir bank the path meandered through trees for quite a distance and after all the rain we had since since before Hallowe’en it was very muddy in places. Fortunately I managed to pick my way round the worst bits though I was glad when I finally got back onto more open land.
When I got to the gates of the sailing club the path became private so I had to continue my walk along the lane behind the clubhouse. Past a farmhouse and its various outbuildings I soon got back to the point where I started my circuit of the reservoir so I made my way back over the canal bridge and down to the towpath. The sun was getting low in the sky and most of the canal was in shade by then so there were no more photo stops on my way back to the van.
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Since that day two weeks ago this area has been hit by yet more endless rain and dog walks have been kept to short circuits of my local avenues so I’m glad I took advantage of that one sunny day. It had been a very enjoyable walk and one I will no doubt repeat in much better weather.

20 thoughts on “Sunshine after the rain

  1. Another part of your world I’m unfamiliar with, but the jigsaw is coming along nicely now. It’s a shame that some of the canal has been filled in, but I’m assuming that the Irwell is cleaner than it used to be.


  2. The canal is actually on two levels and this particular section is part of the upper level. During its working lifetime there were several breaches, the last major one in 1936 not far from the local locks between the upper and lower levels. It was never repaired and the canal never fully functioned again, being abandoned completely in 1961. Over the years since then the building of various industrial/commercial premises and roads, including part of the M60, has meant that many parts have been infilled so of its original 15-mile length only 40% of it is still in water.

    It’s interesting that this part of the canal is fed from Elton Reservoir which in turn is fed from a narrow feeder canal off a higher part of the Irwell just over two miles away. A lot of industrial heritage round there – I can feel a future post coming on…. 🙂


  3. Eunice, before I forget, I only get notification of your reply if you ‘like’ my comment, which then appears in my inbox. I always look to see if you reply anyway which means it’s no great deal.

    Thanks for the info about how the canal declined, but if you do a post on the local industrial heritage I’ll be first in the queue to read it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s a lovely walk and one I’ve done several times over the years. Most of that section of canal is lined with hawthorn trees so it’s really lovely in the spring when the blossom is out. I haven’t heard of any cases of avian flu around here yet so fingers crossed there aren’t any.


  5. The blue sky made all the difference Jo. The weather has been really hit-and-miss just recently with most days being wet. Some days have started off with blue sky and sunshine first thing but by 9am it’s clouded over and raining by 9.30, rain which has lasted the rest of the day. Yesterday and today were actually dry for once but too dull to go anywhere decent. Roll on next spring/summer 🙂


  6. I’m pleased you liked the walk, it’s a lovely stretch of canal just there. Weather-wise it hasn’t rained today but it’s been damp and there was a thick mist for most of the morning. I’ve just been out with the dogs and it looks like there’s more mist to come.


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