Acton Bridge – Lymm.
The Cheshire Ring is a 97mile circular canal route linking six canals. Trent and Mersey; Bridgewater; Rochdale; Ashton; Peak Forest and Macclesfield with a total of 92 locks. Somebody had the bright idea of using the tow-paths as a walking route, skirting the Pennines, passing through the Cheshire countryside, vast industrial areas and the city centre of Manchester.
Conrad had already walked half last year but we teamed up for the Northern Stretch over three icy days this January, using my son’s house in Altrincham as a hub.
See Conrad’s version at http://conradwalks.blogspot.co.uk/
We were dropped by the Acton Swing Bridge which is actually on the navigable River Weaver, at this point close to the Trent and Mersey Canal where we joined the ring.
Walking briskly to combat the cold we made good progress along the tow-path through rural Cheshire until confronted by an unexpected blockage.
Undeterred we proceeded with only a little squeezing past barriers. The canal had been drained in one section for repairs.
The spoil of some past crime had been recovered ……
The weather took a turn for the worse with cold rain and the path more muddy, reaching for my poles I discovered the lower section of one had dropped out at some stage but there was no point in returning to search. Sad after 20 or more years of faithful use.
A tunnel without a tow-path was climbed over, a kingfisher was spotted, we ducked under the M56, a seat found for lunch, Fiddler’s Ferry power station belched its steam.On the edge of Warrington we found an antiquated chandlers shop open and serving hot drinks from a machine. The owners were a font of canal tales and warned us to be wary tomorrow of local youths causing problems where the canal winds through the city. From there it became more Cheshire-like to finish in the sandstone town of Lymm.