Monday 2 November 2020

The high tides of River Irwell

Just walking along

I generally take a standard route for my walks with some subtle variations to the path whilst not wandering off to give me something from 9 kilometres to 12 kilometres of brisk walking exercise in the morning. How I set off usually determines how well I perform, though I am sometimes shocked that there are times I have spent over 11 minutes to a kilometre when I have once managed under 6 minutes.

What gives me the most pleasure is getting 7 kilometres done in under 60 minutes, it means I should average 8 minutes 30 seconds to the kilometre. Usually, if I get 5 kilometres into 41 minutes, I know I can do it.

Not slow, big flow

One fascinating feature of my walks is the River Irwell that meanders through the City of Manchester and the City of Salford, serving as the boundary between them. I will cross the river about 6 or 7 times and up to 5 kilometres can be walking beside the river.

The river course of River Irwell
The river course of River Irwell - Wikipedia

I now have an eye for the currents of the river, the sedentary and fast flows, the latter which I noticed today and by the time I reached the bridge crossing into Peel Park, the river was the fullest I had ever seen it. Apparently, the river from the flood gauge can measure from 0.78m to 3.00m, the highest was 5.67m on the 26th of December 2015, it was even much higher during a flood in Victorian times. In 1866, the river rose 14 feet (4.3m) above its normal levels.

Today, the embarkment towpath of the river was completely covered with water apart from the slipway, it was a murky brown flow and the tide was at 2.495m when I arrived at Peel Park and still rising to a peak of 2.733m at 9:30 AM. [Flood Information Service: River Irwell]

Tidal readings of River Irwell this morning.

If I had wings

The quiet feel of nature before the cities rise is calming and except for the kilometre indicators from my phone, I stopped listening to music or wearing earphones. The birds of River Irwell are a spectacle, sometimes, I have to walk through lots of guano. They never go hungry as there are people who have weaned the birds and ducks on a diet of bread.

Our local birdwatchers have sighted sand martins, blackbirds, Canada geese, great tits, wood pigeons, carrion crows, jackdaws, little grebe, starlings and much else. If only I could tell one bird from another apart from their generic names. [All bird references courtesy of The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)]

River Irwell at Peel Park this morning. (Click on pictures to enlarge.)

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