Monday, 8 June 2015

Manchester Salford Quays Running Route

Click here for route map 
Length 3.7 km (2.3 miles), terrain: flat

Manchester running routes:
City center route
Salford Quays route

Rochdale Canal route
Worsley route
For more running routes, see Route List.  

Here's a short but fun run in Manchester, UK. The city is making a big comeback after most of the old factories closed their doors in the postwar years. Manchester radiates vitality and creativity, with neighborhood after neighborhood rising from the dead.
Chill-out area at MediaCity in Salford Quays
One of the most graphic comebacks happened in the Salford Quays, Manchester's old harbor area. After the harbor closed in 1982, the dilapidated old warehouses and railroad sidings were torn down and a totally new development began springing up. Bit by bit, a mix of apartments, offices, promenades and parks have created an area with a modern urban flair like every city would love to call their own. It's hard to imagine nowadays that Salford was the location sung about in Dirty Old Town.

The running route begins at the Salford Quays tram stop, serviced by the Eccles and MediaCity lines. You can get there quickly from the city center.
Start of the run at St. Peter Basin: head to the left!
The tram stop is right along the water, on west side of St. Peter Basin.

Facing the water, turn to the left and now follow the water's edge, running eastwards through Merchant's Quay. This is one of the first parts of Salford Quays to be redeveloped, with nice brick rowhouses along the quiet little basins, named after saints.
Homes along Merchants Quay
There is a narrow path along the water: just follow it eastwards for 400 meters to the River Irwell, Manchester's main river. The river is pretty wide here.

Now turn right and head northwards, following the waterside as it then turns right again. The next building ahead is the Holiday Inn Express hotel.
Cross this drawbridge and then head under the blue bridge behind it!
Just before the hotel, turn left and head for the blue-and-white drawbridge over the boat-lock ahead. This spot is used for watersports events. The harbor to the right side is Ontario Basin, with a water-skiing arena, and various boat types to rent. When I ran through, a dragon-boat event was about to begin.

Cross the draw bridge, then continue running northwards, under the blue bridge, along Mariner's Canal, lined with nice flats.
Along Mariners Quay
This short stretch ends at Erie Basin, at the 1-kilometer mark. Now turn right and go over an identical blue bridge and start circling Erie basin by first heading east.

You'll circle the east end of the basin and then start heading west again along its northern shore.
Along Erie basin
You'll head past three half-circle-shaped apartment buildings and then come to an area with some spectacular new architecture, full of angular, shiny metal surfaces. You'll see the Lowry Theatre on the left and the Imperial War Museum across the River Irwell.
The Lowry, with IWM in background
You are now coming up to MediaCityUK, with a group of BBC and ITV buildings and studios, with nice green squares out front. Run along the water or through the squares, past the BBC Studios building and continue running westwards between the buildings along Green Street.
MediaCityUK complex
You'll come to a new, white footbridge over the Irwell, supported by spear-like masts. Cross the bridge and then turn left to run past the Imperial War Museum to the next footbridge in just a few hundred meters.

Now cross back again over that bridge, the Millennium Bridge, to the other side of the Lowry and its accompanying shopping center.
Millennium Bridge
At the north end of the Millennium Bridge, turn right and follow the tree-lined promenade along the Irwell as it curves back to the watersports center at Ontario Basin.

Re-cross the drawbridge at the mouth of the basin, but this time keep to the left, along the north side of the Holiday Inn.

Run through the parking area and cross the footbridge back to the homes in Merchants Quay. Now turn left and run back the last few hundred meters to the Salford Quays tram stop.

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