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The River Irwell: Brown Trout And Weir Tales

Jonathan Schofield jumps into the river and gets carried away

Written by . Published on June 28th 2013.


The River Irwell: Brown Trout And Weir Tales
 

I THREW myself in the Irwell earlier this year. Then I picked up some litter and had a wade with Arthur the fisherman and brown trout tickler (pictured above). At one point a bullock charged me and a group of pensioners in a park. 

You don't have to call in the dream interpretation agency or even Dr Freud.

All these incidents happened during the filming of Restoration Revolution: The River Irwell.

This was created by Creative Concern (the communications people in the Northern Quarter) for the Environment Agency.

It records the extraordinary efforts of the latter body, in association with riverside partners and other agencies to transform what was once called 'the hardest worked river in the world' into a cleaner, greener, area of recreation and beauty filled with brown trout and skimmed by kingfishers. 

The 'hardest worked river' tag arose because of Manchester's status as the first modern industrial city.

The city, with Salford and the towns close by, grew in a largely unregulated way in the early nineteenth century and waste, industrial and human, was directed into the rivers of the Irwell basin. By the twentieth century much of it was dead.

At the same time factories on the river bank sought to control the river waters and built more weirs on the Irwell river system than anywhere in the world. There were around 1000 of these manmade waterfalls on the system. This is a remarkable number if you consider the main River Irwell is only 39 miles long.

By the way the charging bullock was a surprise in Clayton Vale. It had broken free from a community of travellers and was being pursued by three or four people armed with sticks. A bullock running free in the central areas of the conurbation is not something you encounter frequently. Fortunately none of the old folk were injured but it was a close run thing.

You can watch the mini-documentary on the Vimeo clip above. The river is the hero. 

You might also want to read this article and also this one about views on the River Irwell. 

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter here @JonathSchofield or connect via Google+

 

Birds having a standing straight contest, the heron wonBirds having a standing straight contest, the heron won

Bridges over the IrwellBridges over the Irwell

The quiet waters byThe quiet waters by

The 'Red River', the Medlock in ClaytonThe 'Red River', the Medlock in Clayton

The QuaysThe Quays

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