Friday, May 09, 2008

The last 9 locks, then out into fields again.

I said at the end of yesterday’s post that today would be a doddle. Well, compared to yesterday, it was.

I took Meg for a walk along the rejuvenated section of the Ashton leading to Portland basin, and was well impressed. The “canal corridor” is attractive and well maintained.

Ashton Canal, up from Piccadilly

I had a chat with some people on 4 boats that were going up the Rochdale this morning, and they were queueing at Lock 83 at 08:20, keen to get going. The first pair went up, the second pair were waiting for the go-ahead, when the message came down that the vandals had attacked in the night, and 2 pounds were empty. There was not enough water to fill them from the upper pounds today, so the first boats were reversing back and all would have to wait another day. Ah, another day on the Rochdale.

Abortive queue at Lock 83
Anyway, we were going in the opposite direction, and got off at 09:15. Just around the corner was our first, Lock 84, followed immediately by 85 in the gloom under Rodwell Tower.

Into Lock 84.

Subterranean Lock 85
On down through the locks, surrounded by office blocks and apartments, till we could see a bit more sky as we cruised along below Canal Street, famous as Manchester’s Gay Village. It was here that a tragic drowning occurred recently. A man, sitting on the high wall over the canal, fell backwards into the water. A rescuer jumped in to help him and got stuck in the mud in the canal bed, and was lost. The rescuee managed to save himself.

Canal Street
Canal Corridor at Lock 88

We continued in the same uneventful way to the last lock, known as Dukes 92, and overlooked by the pub/restaurant of the same name. Here the lock cottage was originally occupied by a Bridgewater Canal keeper, the Bridgewater Canal Company insisting on maintaining control over boats coming into Castlefield. The cottage is now private, and supports a beautiful wisteria on its end wall.

Lock 92 Keepers cottage

Been there, done that...

We moored at Castlefield for a breather and to get some lunch.

Castlefield Basin. The Rochdale Canal starts under the stone arch in the background.
We each made a visit to the sanitary station under the railway bridge, then set off for the last leg into open country, 7 miles away.

Corbiere taking on water. Behind the bridge a new office and apartment complex is taking shape, along the old Potato Wharf.
With a stop at Sale Bridge to visit the Co-op, it took us another 3 hours to get to Dunham Massey, where we plan to stop for the weekend.

We spotted this young family enjoying the sunshine on their own raft.

We’ve had 2 glorious sunny days, and it looks like there’s maybe a few more on the way.
No more locks now, apart from the stop lock the other side of Preston Brook Tunnel, till Middlewich. WOW!!!!

Locks 9, miles 9½


Jim, NB Starcross said...

ce.comThanks for your posts covering the passage of the Rochdale Canal, I've really enjoyed them. I "did" this canal in the opposite direction soon after it reopened and you've brought back some good memories.

Geoff & Mags said...

Hi Jim
Thanks for the comment.
Although it was "challenging" in parts, I enjoyed the Rochdale, it's diversity makes it an interesting route over the Pennines. The next time we'll use the Huddersfield Narrow, which promises even more fun! I haven't told Mags yet, though.....
Regards, Geoff