Thursday, May 13, 2010

Concrete and glass to trees and grass

After 2½ days in the urban jungle we’re now back in the rural variety.
We had a reasonably quiet night moored next to one of the city centre car parks at Ducie Street Junction. Just one group of howler monkeys passing at around half past nine.

The last nine locks on the Rochdale Canal are broad (in fact they all are, but we were only doing the last nine today), so I went in search of lock companions this morning. Came across a Black Prince boat full of Norwegians who were willing to share the downhill run, but then they found they’d run out of water and had to get going sooner than we’d planned.
So we finished up dropping down the locks on our own, after all.

Lock 84 is tucked away under an office block at Dale Street
Even though we were following another boat down, we didn’t have to fill most of the locks. The bywashes that carry surplus water around most locks are conspicuously absent on most of these, so all that water crashes over the top gates. This makes them pretty well self-filling. And gives an unwary steerer a leg wash!

Chorlton Street Lock alongside Canal Street, Manchester’s gay quarter.
The controversial glass and stainless steel safety barrier can be seen on top of the wall.

Beautiful architecture over Princess Street Lock.I’ll be back here on Sunday; the Manchester 10K starts just around the corner.

The rest of the locks tend to be hemmed in by brick walls with little to see. It’s just 1¼ miles from Ducie Street to Castlefield, but add the 9 locks and it took us 2¼ hours.

Approaching Lock 92, Dukes 92 on the right and the Lock Keepers cottage on the left.
Probably the most photographed sign in the north of England.
Out into Castlefield Basin.
We didn’t stop, feeling the need of some green therapy, so pushed on at best speed, through Stretford and Sale and into the country to Dunham Massey.
This is one of our regular overnight stops, 3½ hours from Castlefield but a world apart.

Meg was pleased to be here, too.
The Bridgewater coming out of Manchester seems to support vast quantities of mallards and canada geese. It must be good a nesting area, there are 13 in this brood.

Big family
Imagine how big the nest must have been!

We’ve a bit of a chilling day tomorrow, after a few heavy ones. Up to The Olde No 3 pub to meet Tescoman, then towards Lymm to top up with diesel before coming back to moor in the same spot. An early start on Saturday to get back into Castlefield should secure us a good mooring ready for the race on Sunday.

Locks 9, miles 11½

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