Of our planned 4 days to Castlefields, only 1 doesn’t involve any locks, and that one was today. With less than 3 hours to cruise there didn’t seem to be much point in moving on too early, but on the other hand the weather forecast predicted heavy showers in the afternoon, so we split the difference and left at around 11:00.
Just around the corner was Hyde Bank Tunnel, wide and low.
Wooded approach to the tunnel.
Hyde Bank Tunnel, wide but not wide enough for two boats.
I wonder if the engineers got it wrong, or did it originally have a towpath which has since been removed? The next tunnel at Woodley has a towpath through it and the channel is painfully narrow.
It’s a toss up whether to protect the new blacking and keep clear of the left, or risk the chimney in the arch to the right! No pics inside this one, much too busy.
The Upper Peak Forest generally follows the valley of the River Goyt and the Lower PF does the same for a start, but, since a sharp right turn near Romiley, we left it to head west towards Stockport as we went north. In Stockport it joins forces with The Tame, becomes The Mersey and heads for the coast.
Just south of Hyde we picked up the Tame following it’s wooded valley up into the conurbation south of Ashton-Under-Lyne.
Following The Tame Valley
At Hyde there’s a marked contrast between two bridges. First there’s the snake Bridge 7, Captain Clarke’s Bridge (who was he?) where the towpath swaps sides….
Captain Clarke’s Bridge
…and then there’s the rather more recent (and considerably less elegant) tunnel under the M67.
There had been quite a bit of work thinning out the trees on both banks north of Hyde, and even though we’re now on the brink(?) of summer, you can’t pass up an opportunity, can you.
I didn’t put many on the roof, honest!
Heading in towards Dukinfield, you wouldn’t think you’re in Greater Manchester. Apart from the fact that it’s raining…
The tall chimney of Junction Mill can be seen ahead, the mill itself was demolished and replaced by modern apartments.
Mags had to drag herself away from her baking to help me with Bridge 1, the only moveable bridge on the Lower Peak Forest.
Through Bridge 1.
The bridge gives access to Plantation Farm, birthplace of Mary Moffat (née Smith), who, with her husband Robert travelled to South Africa and opened a mission station to spread the word. Their daughter Mary was to become the wife of the renowned explorer Dr David Livingstone (I presume…).
There’s a large goose crèche just alongside the railway bridge.
Safety in numbers….
We pulled in on the wharf outside Portland Basin Marina, pre-arranged with the marina office. It can be a little tricky getting half decent moorings around the junction.
Through Junction Bridge, Portland Basin through the arch.
A left turn here takes you down the Ashton Locks to Manchester (our route), a right goes onto the Huddersfield Narrow to Staleybridge, Huddersfield and points north. All being well we’ll be coming from that direction later in the year….
Looking back over the Tame aqueduct, Seyella moored just beyond.
There’s a few boats here so I guess we’ll have company going down the locks tomorrow. An early-ish start seems on the cards.
Locks 0, miles 6½