all started when Ian & Cynthia invited Margaret
& me to a talk by John Butcher at Hutton Roof Village
Hall. The subject sounded a little dry, although
at the same time being very wet. It was the story
of the creation of Thirlmere, the reservoir, and the construction
of the pipeline to take drinkable water to Manchester.
Friends who had previously listened to the talk
elsewhere enthused about what they had heard so we accepted
the invitation with expectation.
were not disappointed. The speaker performed well
in relating the difficulties of securing funding, the
problems and triumphs of construction and the consequences
of the achievement.
of the many items on display was a book
entitled The Thirlmere Way- a long distance
walk devised by Tim Capelli and published
broadly follows the path of the pipeline
from sink to source, starting at Heaton
Park, Manchester and ending, not surprisingly,
at Thirlmere. Although long out of print, it
didn't take long to find a copy on the Internet.
the same time, I discovered another walk
around the Kendal's
Three Aqueduct Crossings
compiled by Peter Dobson in 2003 which
undertook in March 2013, recorded as BB1309.
was resolved that the four of us would tackle
the Thirlmere Way once the Miller's Way
had been completed.
we were no further than Shap Wells milling
our infrequent way north to Carlisle, it
was likely to be some time before the first
step was taken.
the overriding question was in which direction should
the first step take?
North or South.
instincts were "to go with the flow"- i.e.
southwards from the reservoir.
thought the opposite, partly for the purpose of "seeking
the source"- a more adventurous concept (unless
you already know its location). The other, more
persuasive, reason was that we would be starting in
unfamiliar territory and thereby not only heading towards
arguably the prettiest part of the Way but initially
covering ground that was new to us. "I've
started so I'll finish" is easier if heading home
rather than away.
further, practical advantage was that this is the way
the book is written so reinterpretation would not be
were going Up The Pipeline.
pipleline was built by Manchester Corporation Water
Works to relieve the problem of an ever growing need
by industry and people in the Manchester area in the
latter part of the 19th century.
first job was to create the reservoir so a dam was constructed
to convert two small tarns, Leaves Water and Whythburn
Water, between Grasmere and Keswick into one large reservoir.
are now four pipelines lying alongside each other for
nearly 100 miles. Construction of the first started
in 1890. It opened in 1894, water taking thirty
hours to reach Manchester.
The fourth pipeline was competed in 1925.
water is taken from Thirlmere to Manchester entirely
by gravity, the pipes being mostly underground except
where they cross the rivers. Evidencing the route
of the pipeline arre many inspection chambers and gates
which are generally locked. Some people are known
to be gate spotters, seeking to locate each such item.
is believed that there is very high security on the
piepline. Let's hope so!
further information see:
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