Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bottom of the Hill

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 LockSAM_0184 Dale Street Lock

Under the offices at Piccadilly LockSAM_0187 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 ManchesterSAM_0189 Canal Street

Heading towards Princess Street LockSAM_0190 Canyons

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.
SAM_0192 Architecture

Apex of the Sackville Street Building, built in 1895 and now part of the campus of the University of Manchester.SAM_0193 Architecture

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.SAM_0195 Meg and Snoopy
You know you’re getting near the bottom when you have to look up at the Beetham Tower…..SAM_0197
 It hums in windy weather, you know…. you've got to check out this video!

One more to go, heading towards Lock 92, Dukes LockSAM_0198 Towards Lock 92

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?SAM_0200 Lock 92
Going slowly down….SAM_0202 Lock 92

Plenty of time for a chat….again.SAM_0203 Lock 92

Out of the lock we turned left onto the Grocer’s Warehouse Arm, winded at the end and moored.

Out into Castlefield BasinSAM_0204 Castlefield

Moored on the Grocer’s Warehouse Arm.SAM_0205 Castlefield

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


jan said...

Really good meeting you. hope our paths cross again. enjoy the cake

Carol said...

All those locks!!! Good luck this weekend Geoff. xx

Geoff and Mags said...

Hi Jan
Enjoyed sharing the locks with you. Will look out for you on our travels. ood cruising...

Carol - Nothing like a good workout, eh!
All done now till we get back to Middlewich then it's back uphill again...
See you soon

jan said...

Finished Wigan flight. a gruelling 7 hours. but we did it. plank rd bridge now mechanised and time you can't use is 8 to 9 30 am. books say keeper there from 8!

Geoff and Mags said...

Hi Jan
Well done you two! I'd have thought you'd have wanted a few days off from locks. Did you get someone to share with?