That’s it, over the last four days we’ve lost all the height we made since Anderton in March. The Marple locks dropped us 214 feet, Ashton Locks another 140 and the final 9 of the Rochdale brought us to around 90 feet above sea level from 520 feet.
It wasn’t an inspiring morning, we’d had rain overnight and it persisted into the morning but was starting to ease as we set up Dale Street Lock and had stopped completely by the time we’d descended Piccadilly Lock and were out of the tunnel under the office block at London Road.
Into Dale Street Lock
Under the offices at Piccadilly Lock
We met a boat coming up here, but with another going down in front didn’t get the advantage of full locks.
It’s a bit of a surreal experience cruising down a 200 year old waterway with towering modern apartment blocks and offices rising on either side.
Canal Street, centre of the gay community in Manchester
Heading towards Princess Street Lock
Manchester has some really elegant Victorian architectural gems among the modern towers of glass and concrete, you just have to look for them.
This view of Lancaster House from Oxford Street Lock will be lost when an apartment block and hotel are built.
Apex of the Sackville Street Building, built in 1895 and now part of the campus of the University of Manchester.
In the lower half of the flight we started to encounter water problems. Not a shortage which seems to be the norm on the canals at the moment, but a surplus. This flight of 9 locks takes all the water dropped down the Rochdale and the Ashton above Ducie Street, and most of the bye-washes around the locks have been closed off during developments. So all this surplus water has to go over the top gates, making emptying the locks a problem. We had to run some water through one lock to lower the pound above a couple of inches to slow to overflow. This of course gave us knock-on effects lower down, but at least we could move on.
Meg and Snoopy have a leg stretch.
You know you’re getting near the bottom when you have to look up at the Beetham Tower…..
It hums in windy weather, you know…. you've got to check out this video!
One more to go, heading towards Lock 92, Dukes Lock
This last lock took longest of all, with a fair amount of water pouring over the top gates. We’d caught up with NB Sundowner, and they went down first, then we had to refill the lock so we could use it. Even with the overflow coming in it took over 20 minutes to fill, then another 15 to empty.
You’d think it’d fill quite quickly, wouldn’t you?
Going slowly down….
Plenty of time for a chat….again.
Out of the lock we turned left onto the Grocer’s Warehouse Arm, winded at the end and moored.
Out into Castlefield Basin
Moored on the Grocer’s Warehouse Arm.
After lunch John and Janet took a trip to visit The Lowry on Salford Quays, then decided to take advantage of the continuing dry afternoon and pushed on, heading to Worsley. We’ll be staying here till Monday, now.
It’s been a good morning, made a lot easier by sharing the locks with another experienced crew. Have a good trip, both. Thanks for the cake.
Locks 9, miles 1½