This was a ‘curry walk’. With no curry! A curry-free curry walk.
Most of us met at Deansgate Metro Station, where security for the Conservative Party Conference was getting into position. Phil arrived later, on the approach to Radcliffe.
We first headed down to the River Irwell where it morphs into the Manchester Ship Canal. Here, there’s a statue of Joseph Brotherton (1783 to 1857). He was Salford’s first MP, a vegetarian, and opposer of slavery and of the death penalty.
Across the road, Manchester city centre continues to ring the changes.
Across the border in Salford, times are hard. The Church Inn is one of several derelict hostelries that line Chapel Street.
St Philip's Church does provide an iconic bright spot, as well as other buildings in Salford.
Our route left the streets before Salford University, and we headed through Peel Park - one of Brotherton's heirlooms.
Some of the trees are just starting to turn. This is the start of the Irwell Sculpture Trail, which we followed all morning.
There are numerous footbridges and road bridges across the River Irwell. Some sport decorations that wouldn’t be found on more modern constructions.
In the vicinity of this weir there were many swans, as well as Goosanders, Little Grebes, Great Crested Grebes and Mallards.
Michaelmas Daisies are in flower just now.
This bridge at Agecroft, erected in 1832, carries the Thirlmere Aqueduct to the storage facility in Heaton Park.
Here’s our team for this sunny stroll - Martin, Sue, JJ, John B, Rick and Rob (we were later joined by Phil).
A nearby disused viaduct carried the link line between Clifton and Radcliffe. Our path led to the old railway track, past Himalayan Balsam, whose invasion goes unchecked around here.
We passed a short tunnel leading to Philips Park in Prestwich.
Soon afterwards, a footbridge led us over the M60, after which we followed the course of the old link line that had led over the tunnel.
Cake and a tea break proved most welcome, albeit a bit late to be described as ‘elevenses’.
This is the first sculpture we noticed - Trinity, which focuses on the period the railway line was constructed, the deaths of many of the 'navvies' involved in the digging of the Outwood cutting, and the pre-railway history of the site. The flowers' names hint at the loss of these unknown workers and are a memorial to them and reflect the woodlands that surround the site. Harebell = Grief, Snowdrop = Consolation, Rosemary = Remembrance.
After a long spell of dry weather, even normally muddy paths were dry, but Sue and I still got sore ankles as we were both trying to walk in new boots.
On the site of the former Outwood Colliery, Ulrich Rückriem has created one of his largest stone settings to date. It is composed of ten large stone pieces set over a number of locations; one column marks each of the two main entrances, a group of seven tall slabs are installed on a flat plateau, and the largest slab, 25 feet (7.6 m) in height (below), marks the former railway track. These stones are split horizontally and/or vertically into several parts then reassembled into their original forms.
Before reaching Radcliffe, we left the disused railway to the cyclists, who were becoming a bit of a nuisance (why don’t people buy bells!), and joined the now defunct Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal for the walk into Bury
There were coots …
... and a lone male Mandarin Duck (he should get together with Timperley's lone female).
The lazy Mallards were failing spectacularly to clear the weed. Perhaps they were pondering the reflection of an old chimney.
This wicker work is the centrepiece of a wonderful garden next to the canal in Radcliffe.
Another ‘sculpture’: 'Water Made It Wet' This text work by New York-based artist Lawrence Weiner is located on an old railway bridge over the Bolton Bury canal in Radcliffe and represents the artist's attempt to understand the nature of water itself.*
There were small and large fish, including a pike, in the canal. Here, on the last stretch to Bury, the team is tracking a pike.
Even though the canal is disused, the towpath is in excellent condition, and it led us gently into Bury, past several churches and a fine library building.
Lunch was taken at Katsouris – excellent value and a good substitute for the usual curry, then we went home.
Here’s our route – 21 km, with 200 metres ascent, taking 4.75 hours, which is exactly what Naismith would have taken.
There’s a slideshow with a few more pictures, here. Click on the first image, then click ‘slideshow’.
Sue and I both felt a little weary after this walk, despite eschewing a session at the pub. Something of a surprise to me then, when I managed the 5km parkrun at a good pace the following morning! Under 22 minutes for the first time in over a year.
* – all a bit deep for me!