Sunday, 22 July 2012

Class conscious cruise

We left Manchester yesterday and headed back past the scrap yards and the Man U ground, now fully decked out in its 2012 banners, on a run further down the Bridgewater.
It was a route that started in rather grim looking Manchester extremities like Stretford, worked its way up through the smarter suburbs of Sale and finally, after a glimpse of green countryside saw us tie up in the pretty and decidedly posh little town of Lymm.
Along the way we passed lines of moored boats, many in moorings belonging to various cruising clubs and, like the quality of the surrounding houses, gradually turning from semi-sunken plastics to smartly turned out narrowboats.
Lymm is an understandably popular destination for visitors; it nestles in a small, rock-edged valley and abounds in pubs, restaurants and tempting shops. Every other local seems to drive a smart Mercedes or Audi and the houses are priced accordingly. But even here, the recession has pinched a bit - at least two shops are up for sale and others could be following according to local talk.

Boaters must be doing their bit for business: the moorings are plentiful and perpetually full. They also have a steady turnover of traffic thanks to some no-nonsense mooring rules - 48 hours with no return within three days - which are apparently firmly enforced. A lesson here for the C&RT perhaps?

PS Isn't boating a small world? In Manchester we met two boats we'd been in Liverpool with three years ago and now here in Lymm we've met friends who left  Streethay some months ago.

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