Access to the Manchester Ship Canal.

brianrob1961
4th January 2012, 23:05
My other half and I ventured out the the MSC the other day looking for good places to view/photograph ships. Unfortunately everything around Eastham and Stanlow seems to be sealed off due, no doubt, to security and 'elf & safety' fears.

So where would YOU go to take pictures? I know Ellesmere Port is a good vantage point, but where else can you get access to the cut (preferably in an atmospheric/interesting spot and get good snaps?

Also, would I be breaking the law if I went for a paddle on the cut in an inflatable dingy to get better shots? (Yes, I know I would be dead meat if I met the wake of a tanker at full speed, but I was thinking of the quite spots beyond Runcorn)

And, last but not least, how easy would it be to blag a ride on a tug or a ship on the cut? Possible or impossible?

Brian.

Ron Stringer
4th January 2012, 23:19
There are passenger day trips available between Liverpool and Manchester and vice versa.

http://www.merseyferries.co.uk/content/Shop/ManchesterShipCanalCruises.aspx

brianrob1961
4th January 2012, 23:28
There are passenger day trips available between Liverpool and Manchester and vice versa.

http://www.merseyferries.co.uk/content/Shop/ManchesterShipCanalCruises.aspx

Yes, I know. Been on them twice and will hopefully return many times more, but you don't get the chance to stop and photograph things. Also, they can be VERY busy. Not ideal for setting up a tripod lol

Brian.

Frank77
5th January 2012, 00:20
Hi Brian, dont even think about putting a dinghy on the canal until you have had permission from the Harbour Master, even then you will have to answer 200 questions about the sea worthyness of your vessel, its not worth it, a vantage point at Eastham is at the Ferry Hotel or at what used to be the Crane Berth on the canal,this is about 500 yards away from the locks, Latchford locks is another good place, the Runcorn high level bridge,and the high level bridge at Stockton Heath.

Frank.

brianrob1961
5th January 2012, 08:11
Hi Brian, dont even think about putting a dinghy on the canal until you have had permission from the Harbour Master, even then you will have to answer 200 questions about the sea worthyness of your vessel, its not worth it, a vantage point at Eastham is at the Ferry Hotel or at what used to be the Crane Berth on the canal,this is about 500 yards away from the locks, Latchford locks is another good place, the Runcorn high level bridge,and the high level bridge at Stockton Heath.

Frank.

So if I was caught on the cut, would I be committing a "you're ears are going to be ringing for hours after the telling off that I am going to give you" kind of offence, or would it be a trip to the local police lodging houses under some by-law?

Brian.

Ron Stringer
5th January 2012, 08:23
Yes, I know. Been on them twice and will hopefully return many times more, but you don't get the chance to stop and photograph things. Also, they can be VERY busy. Not ideal for setting up a tripod lol

Brian.

Sorry for that Brian. Be careful how you put that tripod up in your inflatable dinghy.

brianrob1961
5th January 2012, 08:44
Sorry for that Brian. Be careful how you put that tripod up in your inflatable dinghy.

Ha ha ha. The logistics of taking pictures from any moving vessel are quite challenging at the best of times. I think summer and a fast shutter speed would be essential.

Brian.

Pat Kennedy
5th January 2012, 09:37
Hi Brian, dont even think about putting a dinghy on the canal until you have had permission from the Harbour Master, even then you will have to answer 200 questions about the sea worthyness of your vessel, its not worth it, a vantage point at Eastham is at the Ferry Hotel or at what used to be the Crane Berth on the canal,this is about 500 yards away from the locks, Latchford locks is another good place, the Runcorn high level bridge,and the high level bridge at Stockton Heath.

Frank.
Frank,
Even the crane berth is out of bounds these days. I used to go there fairly often to take photos, but the last time , maybe two years ago, security arrived in force, (3 of them) and warned me off. No mention of health and safety, just 'this is private land, get off'
Brian,
I go on the canal cruises every year and get a seat on the upper deck, right forard. I've got one of those small flexible tripods, a Gorilla, and attach it to the taffrail. No problems and doesn't get in the way.
Regards,
Pat(Thumb)

ChasD
5th January 2012, 10:29
A few years ago, I did the transit both ways on my own little narrowboat, great fun but, as has been said, the compliance we had to go through was mind blowing. Full seaworthyness certification, fire regs, communications, small boat safety cert., ( we had marine VHF and CB as well as mobile phone - more channels between them than on many a radio shack I've had !) and more permissions and assorted documentation than you could shake a stick at - they don't like to make it easy! But is was both challenging and fascinating to do a run I've done many times before on 'real' boats. Especially nostalgic was the old Stanlow berth, semi derelict at that point. As for access now, the Ellesmere Port boat museum, may be good and there are several road crossings - however terrorism laws relating to photographing public places can be 'Difficult' - I would recommend a bit of research beforehand.
Regards ..... Chas

brianrob1961
5th January 2012, 21:21
A few years ago, I did the transit both ways on my own little narrowboat, great fun but, as has been said, the compliance we had to go through was mind blowing. Full seaworthyness certification, fire regs, communications, small boat safety cert., ( we had marine VHF and CB as well as mobile phone - more channels between them than on many a radio shack I've had !) and more permissions and assorted documentation than you could shake a stick at - they don't like to make it easy! But is was both challenging and fascinating to do a run I've done many times before on 'real' boats. Especially nostalgic was the old Stanlow berth, semi derelict at that point. As for access now, the Ellesmere Port boat museum, may be good and there are several road crossings - however terrorism laws relating to photographing public places can be 'Difficult' - I would recommend a bit of research beforehand.
Regards ..... Chas

Fabulous pictures. I was only thinking about floating out a few yards from the bank or to potter around Manchester docks in one of those kids dingy things that you can by lol

Brian.

brianrob1961
5th January 2012, 21:26
Between Runcorn and Stanlow there is a mooring on the south of the canal where WD Mersey seems to rest between dredging duties. I can see paths to the spot on Google Earth, but is it possible to reach on foot or on bike?

Brian.

brianrob1961
5th January 2012, 21:27
Frank,
Even the crane berth is out of bounds these days. I used to go there fairly often to take photos, but the last time , maybe two years ago, security arrived in force, (3 of them) and warned me off. No mention of health and safety, just 'this is private land, get off'
Brian,
I go on the canal cruises every year and get a seat on the upper deck, right forard. I've got one of those small flexible tripods, a Gorilla, and attach it to the taffrail. No problems and doesn't get in the way.
Regards,
Pat(Thumb)

Thanks, Pat. I still like the luxury of studying a scene before I snap.

Brian.

Frank77
5th January 2012, 22:32
Between Runcorn and Stanlow there is a mooring on the south of the canal where WD Mersey seems to rest between dredging duties. I can see paths to the spot on Google Earth, but is it possible to reach on foot or on bike?

Brian.

Hi Brian
The place you are talking about is known as Frodsham Pumps, this is where the WD Mersey discharges and it is sealed off with wire fencing.
You can get to it by the marsh track.
Regards

Frank.

brianrob1961
5th January 2012, 23:04
Hi Brian
The place you are talking about is known as Frodsham Pumps, this is where the WD Mersey discharges and it is sealed off with wire fencing.
You can get to it by the marsh track.
Regards

Frank.

Cheers, Frank. Would it be worth the trip from a photographic point of view?

Brian.

Derek Roger
5th January 2012, 23:45
What would be wrong with the Runcorn bridge.

brianrob1961
6th January 2012, 08:02
What would be wrong with the Runcorn bridge.

Might have a trip out there on my trusty push bike in when the weather improves. Only 32 miles. Hmmmmmmm....... lol

Brian.

Trader
6th January 2012, 16:30
'and to think we got paid to go up and down there years ago' LOL

Alec.

Pat Kennedy
6th January 2012, 17:56
I used to be able to walk into Eastham Locks and take photos all day long and nobody minded as long as I stayed out of the way. Quite often I would cross over the locks and walk a couple of miles down the seaward side path as far as Stanlow Oil Dock. Sometimes I would take the kids and we'd have a picnic, and throw crusts to the rabbits which abound there.
Pat

Ron Stringer
6th January 2012, 18:05
As a kid I used to follow the river down from Ashton-on-Mersey to the weir where it entered the Ship Canal at Partington. It was a great place to watch ships passing and also as they entered and left the locks. Spent many a sunny afternoon lying on the grassy bank watching ships go by. Then I would take a short cut back to my Grandma's house across Carrington Moss (with all its market gardens and small holdings).

So your question caused me to look on Google Maps' satellite view, to see if it was still possible to do that. Good grief, the Moss looks like one bloody big car park/industrial estate. Reckon I went to sea and then came South just in time to avoid being concreted over. What a disastrous ruin of a beautiful environment that existed only 5 or 6 miles from Manchester city centre.

From another satellite view (on ViaMichelin) it looks as though you can get close to the Canal, immediately North of where the A57 runs under the railway bridge (on the opposite site of the Canal to the Carrington/Partington weir) where there appears to be a lay-by for vehicles. Click on the link and select "Satellite with names".

http://www.viamichelin.com/web/Cartes?layers=0001&strLocid=31NDRmNTYxMGNOVE11TkRNek5qST1jTFRJdU16ZzB Oams9

If you drawback and look at the area to the East, you can see that where I used to walk from the weir, along footpaths across fields to my Grandma's house in Manor Avenue, Ashton, there is now almost continuous hard standing and buildings. Very sad.

On Google Maps you can put the Street View marker on that lay-by and look up and down the Canal to check out whether it is worthwhile making a visit.

shipmate17
6th January 2012, 18:17
Hi,
Still think Eastham Ferry and the Boat Museum best for taking pics.
Cheers.

brianrob1961
6th January 2012, 19:05
As a kid I used to follow the river down from Ashton-on-Mersey to the weir where it entered the Ship Canal at Partington. It was a great place to watch ships passing and also as they entered and left the locks. Spent many a sunny afternoon lying on the grassy bank watching ships go by. Then I would take a short cut back to my Grandma's house across Carrington Moss (with all its market gardens and small holdings).

So your question caused me to look on Google Maps' satellite view, to see if it was still possible to do that. Good grief, the Moss looks like one bloody big car park/industrial estate. Reckon I went to sea and then came South just in time to avoid being concreted over. What a disastrous ruin of a beautiful environment that existed only 5 or 6 miles from Manchester city centre.

From another satellite view (on ViaMichelin) it looks as though you can get close to the Canal, immediately North of where the A57 runs under the railway bridge (on the opposite site of the Canal to the Carrington/Partington weir) where there appears to be a lay-by for vehicles. Click on the link and select "Satellite with names".

http://www.viamichelin.com/web/Cartes?layers=0001&strLocid=31NDRmNTYxMGNOVE11TkRNek5qST1jTFRJdU16ZzB Oams9

If you drawback and look at the area to the East, you can see that where I used to walk from the weir, along footpaths across fields to my Grandma's house in Manor Avenue, Ashton, there is now almost continuous hard standing and buildings. Very sad.

On Google Maps you can put the Street View marker on that lay-by and look up and down the Canal to check out whether it is worthwhile making a visit.

Thanks for that. Very interesting.

To be honest, I was never expecting taking photographs past Runcorn (or maybe Warrington) to be much of a problem. There are loads of locations that I can think of instantly and many more that I could find near Manchester. Unfortunately, ships are at a premium past Runcorn though and, to add insult to disappointment, the AIS live shipping thingy doesn't seem to work past Partington (The when I first found the AIS site I did watch I dredger at work in Manchester docks). Even the Mersey Ferries are invisible when doing the tours. Further towards Liverpool I can be doing something else (visiting the boat museum, drinking real ale, wondering how I am going to cycle home all wobbly, etc) and keep an eye on what is coming my way on my mobile phone (as I did with the WD Mersey the other day, and quite accurate it is too!).

Brian.

Pat Kennedy
6th January 2012, 19:12
Thanks for that. Very interesting.

To be honest, I was never expecting taking photographs past Runcorn (or maybe Warrington) to be much of a problem. There are loads of locations that I can think of instantly and many more that I could find near Manchester. Unfortunately, ships are at a premium past Runcorn though and, to add insult to disappointment, the AIS live shipping thingy doesn't seem to work past Partington (The when I first found the AIS site I did watch I dredger at work in Manchester docks). Even the Mersey Ferries are invisible when doing the tours. Further towards Liverpool I can be doing something else (visiting the boat museum, drinking real ale, wondering how I am going to cycle home all wobbly, etc) and keep an eye on what is coming my way on my mobile phone (as I did with the WD Mersey the other day, and quite accurate it is too!).

Brian.
Brian,
If you go in the Boat Museum cafe, give the sausage rolls a miss!
I was in there today, and it was like eating slurry encased in sand/cement mortar.
Cheers,
Pat(EEK)

brianrob1961
6th January 2012, 22:05
Brian,
If you go in the Boat Museum cafe, give the sausage rolls a miss!
I was in there today, and it was like eating slurry encased in sand/cement mortar.
Cheers,
Pat(EEK)

roflmao When out for a day I never allow stomach space to be wasted on solids when it could be better utilised on real ale! But your description of the sausage rolls does sound particularly appetising.

Lets face it, catering in most museums/tourist traps is generally overpriced and appalling. There is a Wethies up the road that would be much better. As long as I remember not to speak too loudly to reveal my Manc accent, that is, and check the football fixtures. It is not a good day to visit Merseyside when Liverpool are playing United or City. I remember cycling to Liverpool via Croxteth once and being terrified of having to stop to ask directions. The chances of a middle aged man clad head to toe in lycra getting to Lime Street were slim enough already. Ha ha ha ha!

Brian.

Rambo
10th January 2012, 17:30
What would be wrong with the Runcorn bridge.

Nothing apart from the fact the chance of seeing a vessel are very slim these days.

There are loads of locations upstream of Runcorn, probably the best vantage points are between there and Manchester but there is little shipping these days.
As has been said Ellesmere Port is the best spot along with Eastham ferry on the Mersey.
I have photographed vessels leaving Eastham locks from the walkways 90% of the time there is no problem but occasionally i have been turfed off by security.
There is a good spot from the road between Runcorn docks and Runcorn lay-by if you look on the map http://jeyres101.zenfolio.com/latestphotos/h191ac2b6#h191ac2b6

check out the rest of my site if you want more photo locations.

John.

brianrob1961
8th February 2012, 12:33
Well, I have now been able to get out and about a bit on my bike and look at some of the locations along the MSC upsteam of Runcorn. There certainly are some interesting locations for photography. The ones I have found are mainly around the Cadishead and Barton swing bridge so far, but as we have said, traffic is rare at those locations. How many interesting photographs can one take of a Mersey ferry?

I was really shocked at how the locks at Irlam (and presumably elsewhere) are sealed off behind this awful modern bar fencing. Any opportunity to take pictures at these locations would rely entirely upon the goodwill of the men operating the locks while they are there. There is just nowhere where there is a clear view. No doubt this is down to 'elf and safety' yet just a mile or so along the road towards Warrington and there is free access to the canal, with the opportunity to cast yourself into a watery grave with gay abandon. What a shame that so much effort is put into placing such a wonderful resource behind bars. The wildlife is abundant and the tourism opportunities must be huge. I just don't hold with this sealing things off, be it docks, canals or railways.

On a slightly different note, the 24/7/365 dredging of the MSC is obviously a thing very much of the past, even at the Runcorn end. WD Mersey has spent the last week or so dredging Heysham and is now on her way to Newhaven. I will be interested to see when she returns.

Brian.

Tony Shaw
9th February 2012, 13:10
As regards access to locks, when I worked there, Latchford Locks was always a right of way, and many used this access to and from working at Richmonds and British Aluminium. I cannot imagine it not being a right of way now. I've taken hundreds of photos from that location but as has been said, ship canal traffic is almost non existent on the upper reaches.

brianrob1961
9th February 2012, 13:24
As regards access to locks, when I worked there, Latchford Locks was always a right of way, and many used this access to and from working at Richmonds and British Aluminium. I cannot imagine it not being a right of way now. I've taken hundreds of photos from that location but as has been said, ship canal traffic is almost non existent on the upper reaches.

That's the shocking thing, Tom. Irlam locks are a right of way as well. Believe me, they have retained that right of way while completely sealing the site. It is hard to describe how they have done it, but it is AWFUL. I presume that the same or similar will have been done at Latchford.

Brian.

Tony Shaw
10th February 2012, 17:23
I don't know Brian - it's a long while since I was there. Last time I was there I was quite sad and also doing the trip on the ferry boat I was nearly in tears !!

brianrob1961
10th February 2012, 20:35
I don't know Brian - it's a long while since I was there. Last time I was there I was quite sad and also doing the trip on the ferry boat I was nearly in tears !!

Tony, buck up, lad! How do you fancy thee and me organising a date off here for all of us who love that strange bit of water to do one of the ferry trips this year? No tears this time, mind!

Brian.

Rambo
11th February 2012, 17:21
You can still roam free at Latchford locks but there are only one set of gates to walk over. Most of the other gate walkways have been condemned due to safety reasons. This was just over a week ago- http://jeyres101.zenfolio.com/latestphotos/h34e382a1#h34e382a1

I agree with Brian with what they have done at Irlam. The bridge looks hideous. On the flip side, when a ship is due they close the bridge off and you can walk around the locks no problem. There isn't access to Barton locks and you could get onto Mode Wheel if you ask the lockies on arrival..