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Bike ride, Warrington, Bridgewater Canal, Manchester, Huddersfield Canal - narrow & broad, Dewsbury, Leeds.
(3Ĺ day bike-pack)
Sat 18 Jan - Tue 21 Jan 2020

Sun 19 Jan 2020
Sat 18 Jan 2020 Sun 19 Jan 2020
Mon 20 Jan 2020 Tue 21 Jan 2020
 
Calm and sub-zero overnight with mist. As I packed up camp the mist froze on my bike and a lot of ice was rolled away as I packed my tent. The area is called Arpley Meadows and I followed the muddy track to the next road where I had to be very careful because of ice. I joined the Trans Pennine trail which was extremely muddy and difficult to ride. It joined the line of an old railway and some sections were deep in mud and hadn't had any maintenance.
Crossing the Ship Canal
The track reached the A56 just after passing under the M6. At the underpass a sign said there was flooding ahead and a diversion along the A56 should be followed. It was undated so I didn't know if it was still valid. I was getting fed up of following the mud so headed along the road towards Lymm. I reached a bridge over the Bridgewater canal and looked down at a decent towpath.
Trans Pennine trail along the railway

Lymm

Back on the old railway trail
 

The trail soon deteriorated again.
I decided to follow it but it turned out to be an access to some buildings. The continuing canal towpath was unrideable so returned to the road and into Lymm. Further along the road I re-joined the cycle trail along the railway. Some sections were ridiculously muddy and deep water in places. I had no option but to ride through. I reached Altrincham and the Bridgewater canal. Riding conditions improved but the towpath was very busy with walkers and other cyclists. Thankfully it was enjoyable cycling all the way to Salford where I left the towpath and headed along the roads to Media City but continuing mist meant I didn't see much. Cycled around Salford Quays for a while then re-joined the Bridgewater Canal to ride into Manchester City centre.

Though I'd take a photo before its demolished

Bridewater Canal.

Bridgewater Canal junction.

Arriving at Media City Salford.

Rail bridge.

Manchester Ship Canal Railway
(1885-2009)
Manchester Ship Canal Railway (1885-2009) 1941 twin-track swing bridge used to carry part of the 231 mile MSCR private railway.

The Detroit Bridge was formerly the twin-track railway bridge that linked the Manchester Ship Canal Railway, a cargo railway system on Manchester and Salford Docks, to Trafford Park. The bridge is made from steel and was constructed by Dorman Long and Co. Ltd. It was originally sited across the Ship Canal close to Trafford Road Bridge to replace an older single-track railway bridge that had been erected in the late nineteenth century.

transportheritage.com

Bridgewater Canal.

Under Manchester.

Up from the canal.

I'll have to ride round.
 
At Canal Street I reached the end of the towpath and joined the roads by Piccadilly Rail Station and on to the Cheshire Ring Canal. It was easy riding for a while but once away from the city centre started to deteriorate. After Audenshaw I was on the Huddersfield Narrow canal and began to look for water and somewhere to camp. I diverted to an Aldi store but there were long queues at the checkouts so I didnít bother and returned to the canal.
Canal Street.

Manchester view.

Twin locks.
I spoke to a woman walker who said water may be available further along at the canal basin. It was the Portland Basin and also had a museum & cafe. I could see people around but I'd already considered continuing to Asda where the canal goes into tunnel and I'd have to divert through their car park. I asked a man working on a barge if there was a water tap. There was so I filled my water bottles then continued to through the Asda car park.
Branch canal.

Above the Museum basin.

Separate towpath.

Really narrow canal.

Modern underpass.
I was back on the Huddersfield Narrow canal and the towpath was in a very bad state. I continued to Stalybridge but there was nowhere to camp. I had no choice but to press on. The mud was difficult to negotiate with a fully loaded touring bike and it was getting dark. I reached the lock at Grove Rd near Heyrod and decided to cross over the canal and pitch on the narrow strip of grass. It was dark and as far as I know nobody was on the towpath for the rest of the evening.

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