9 Jan 2017

An Afternoon Walk along the Bridgewater Canal

Along the Bridgewater Canal we go
On a leisurely Sunday afternoon stroll
Ducks, swans and cackling geese
Moorings and barges keep company.

Walking from Manchester
All the way into Cheshire 
Aching legs refuse 
To carry us any further.

39 miles from Runcorn to Leigh 
In one go, we aspire, we strive
Perhaps not rambling on our feet
But on our bikes we will arrive. 

The Bridgewater Way is a gentle, leisurely walk suitable for all abilities, just perfect for an afternoon ramble. The path contours the Bridgewater Canal as it makes its way from Manchester into Cheshire and beyond. A great day out for all the family.

It was the New Year and the winter sun was shining bright. We set off on an aimless ramble, more to shake of the excesses of Christmas than to be somewhere or do something.

Our unchartered course soon brought us to the Bridgewater Way that runs along the Bridgewater Canal. The Bridgewater Canal is one of the oldest canals in England. A water conduit in the North West of England, it stretches 39 miles between Runcorn and Leigh, with a detour towards Manchester. The Bridgewater Way is undergoing major refurbishment to make it more user-friendly for both ramblers and bicycle riders.

Rambling along the Bridgewater Canal

Once on the canal path, we decided to head south towards the Cheshire countryside. It has been a while since our last proper ramble, so legs were rusty and muscles soon fatigued. We kept stopping every few meters to click photos – just an excuse to rest those weary legs. Even J got in on the act, insisting on clicking his own pictures.

We set ourselves mini walking challenges to keep us going. Like who reaches the next big tree first. Or who can do 100 steps before everyone else. Anything to keep up the momentum.

Birds and barges keep us company

Between photo stops, walking challenges and the occasional company of  ducks, swans and geese, we managed to reach a point on the Bridgewater Canal where a decision had to be made. Do we carry on and walk towards Dunham and real Cheshire countryside. Or call it a day and head into the market town of Altrincham for refreshments.

No prizes for guessing what won. So we left the Bridgewater Way and headed over the A56 towards Altrincham. 

Heading into the market town of Altrincham

It is three years since we were in Altrincham on a family outing. It looks marvellous after its recent multi-million pound transformation. The market is now a thriving hub of activity, open all through the week. We went in and found it heaving! After waiting around for fifteen minutes for a place to sit, the decision was made to head out into town in search of nourishment.

Hard-earned rewards!

The M&S cafe came to our rescue. A luxury hot chocolate and carrot cake later, we were rejuvenated enough to head home. But not enough to tax our legs with more walking. So we made our way to the transport hub and hopped onto the first bus home.

An afternoon well spent, wouldn’t you say? I have a feeling we will be doing this walk quite frequently in the future. The Bridgewater Way is a gentle, leisurely walk suitable for all abilities, so perfect for an afternoon ramble. And that pizza I never ate at the market wants me to go back!

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