Friday, 11 March 2011

The Road To Eastham and the M.S.C

This blogpost explores the passage through Ellesmere Port from the Shropshire Union and out on to the Manchester Ship Canal.

The National Waterways Museum offers moorings for 7 days (and free entrance to the museum) for the normal price of an admission ticket.
There are no facilities on the moorings, but there is a single water point, which you can see outside the reception building (on the right of the photo below).

The photograph below shows the museum reception building and the free short term 48 hour moorings on the right (where the narrowboat is moored).

Boats coming from the Shropshire Union into the port enter from right to left. The far lock is the Whitby Top Lock.

Looking down towards the lower basin, you can see that the functioning Whitby Locks are on the right whereas the left side locks are being used as an impromptu drydock for the trip boat.

In the photograph below, you can see the Whitby Lower Lock on the right, the lower basin (wider expanse of water) and then in the far distance, the last narrow lock which separates the lower basin from the Manchester Ship Canal. Note the funnel from the sunken boat, sticking out of the lower basin.

A close-up of the wreck is shown here. Whitby Lower Lock is off to the left and the last lock is out of shot, to the right. The channel ahead shows the route through to the lower basin moorings and Raddle Wharf, so named because it was originally used for the handling of red ochre associated with ore. It is also the route to the wide lock shown further down below.

The sunken boat is something of a navigation hazard for a longer boat trying to enter
the final lock - the submerged hull sticks out quite a way !!
She is ex Admiralty Harbour Launch Diesel (HLD) No.39461. She was largely exposed last year when the water level in the basin was lowered by about 5 feet.
You can see that a swing bridge straddles the lock.
The local council have to be called out to swing the hydraulically activated bridge for you and they need 8 hours notice.

This is the view from the final lock, looking down into the ship canal basin, currently occupied by a Dutch tug.

Out past the tug and the lighthouse, into the Manchester Ship Canal.

If the other route is used, past Raddle Wharf, the ship canal can only be accessed via the wide lock, which looks like it hasn't been used for a while.

This is the view on the ship canal up towards the Weaver.

This is the view towards Eastham Locks and the Mersey.

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