|Looking down from the aqueduct at the road swing bridge|
Just a few hundred yards from our overnight mooring at Trafford Park was the first; the truly amazing Barton Swing Aqueduct which carries our canal over the Manchester Ship Canal. Dating from 1894, it is considered one of the great Victorian engineering feats.
The swing aqueduct was needed when the Manchester Ship Canal was built and replaced the original (and for its day equally impressive) masonry Barton Aqueduct which carried the Bridgewater across the Irwell river.
|The 250ft long trough weighs 1400 tons|
Looking down from the aqueduct one can see the similar but lower Barton road swing bridge, both operated from the bridge-keepers' tower in mid-canal.
This engineering masterpiece is rarely needed these days and that shows - the paint is flaking and weeds cling to its side. But the views along the Ship Canal are spectacular and it's a fine reminder of our dynamic engineering heritage.
|The oldest dry dock on the canals dates from the 1760s|
|Off to the right is the canal leading to the Duke's mines|
Not all our engineering ingenuity is on such a big scale. Shortly before Worsley is a canalside lighthouse. Yes, a lighthouse; 36ft tall, made of stone and with a working light on the top (albeit it a small one which only lights on special occasions). Phil Austin spent four years building this 21st century folly which is now one of the canal's best known landmarks.
|And Phil's folly, the 36ft tall lighthouse|