On that basis one could hardly ignore the Sankey Canal (sometimes known as the St Helens Canal), which actually received Parliamentary assent several years ahead of the Bridgewater Canal, which somewhat erroneously it would appear, generally carries the accolade of first canal of the Industrial Revolution.
Sadly, this 15½-mile waterway has, since carrying its final cargo of raw sugar in 1959, slipped quietly into oblivion as far as boat traffic is concerned, though it remains firmly in the sights of The Sankey Canal Restoration Society (SCARS – www.sankeycanal.co.uk) as a subject for full revival. Its relatively short length passes through the boundaries of no less than three local authorities, each holding differing views as to its financial priority in the restoration stakes.
|Typical Flat Territory - the Mersey at Fiddler's Ferry|
Hunt for the Oakdale
Well, I drove out from the town, towards the miles of shimmering sand and disparate trickles of water that make up this vast estuary (immediately west of Barrow-in-Furness) at low tide, to be greeted by nothing as much as a beached rowing boat. I engaged dog walkers in conversation, both here and in neighbouring communities up and down the shoreline. I visited numerous pubs, where I attempted to extract some modicum of sense from their regular afternoon clientele. Librarians were interrogated, as were members of the local constabulary, boat clubs and marinas. All to no avail.
|Sankey Canal section in the new Waterways Guide 5|