Saturday, October 20, 2012

And so to Stalybridge

A chilly one last night, lulled to sleep by the River Tame tumbling over a weir below the canal. As expected we didn’t see another boat so weren’t in the way at all.

Moored below Scout Tunnel, taken from above the tunnel mouthSAM_4018 Moored near Scout Tunnel

We’ve lost that pesky wind today, in the sun it was positively balmy! We didn’t see much for a while though, the valley is well wooded.

Heading towards our first today, Lock 11WSAM_4019 First one today

I stayed off for the first three locks, they were fairly close so there was no point in getting back on board.

Mason’s mark, Lock 10WSAM_4022 mason's Mark

In common with the majority of the locks on this side of the big hill, all of today’s were empty and therefore against us. Each had to be filled before we could use them and some were quite slow. Lock 9W was harder to open at the top end than most, no purchase for the feet!

Muddy underfoot at 9WSAM_4023 Muddy at 9W

The valley started to open up a bit so the sun could get through. Mags couldn’t see where she was going, she reckoned, so borrowed my baseball cap.

I’m a lumberjack and I’m all right….SAM_4024

We stopped at Grove Road to empty the loo and fill the water tank. I know we only did them on Wednesday, but now we’ve plenty of time to get to Bugsworth Basin and the next sanitary station. It saves having to use the facilities at Marple Top Lock then reversing back through the junction bridge.

Lock 8W and Grove Road facilitiesSAM_4028 L8W and Grove Road

Below this lock was a major obstacle to the re-opening of the canal. An electricity sub-station had been built across the line of the canal while it was abandoned, so it had to be bypassed.

Looking down from L8W. SAM_4030 Substation and New Bit

The canal originally went to the right out of the lock, where the sub-station now stands. The new bit has to swing around to the left, and is steel sheet piling and concrete. Not pretty but effective.

On the “new bit”.SAM_4031 New Bit
Unfortunately the only route available was under an existing pylon! It does allow for some unusual views of the structure…

Under the pylonSAM_4034 Under Pylon
Looking back….SAM_4035 New Bit

A few hundred yards of new cut took us back to the original line. From here it was about a mile to Stalybridge, light industry on the canal bank as usual being the first indication of population.

The Wooden Canal Boat Society has a yard here, and are currently restoring a 1914 boat, built in Cheshire and used in the salt trade.

Wooden NB HazelSAM_4037 Wooden Boat Building.
Launched as Mull, she was renamed when she changed hands, now carrying coal but still in Cheshire. In 1948 she was used as a camping boat, but was then fitted with an engine and a full-length cabin and used as a residential or cruising boat for the 30-odd years.
In need of extensive repair, she was donated to the society in 1988, and was preserved till funds allowed a start on restoration. The hull required almost complete replacement, and she will be returned to near original form, open hold and no engine. It will be interesting to watch her re-launch. She’ll have to be side-slipped, I just hope there’s enough water….

Lock 7W is on the edge of town, taking ages to fill with only one ground paddle operational, then we motored into town discarding the first two moorings and finishing up just past Tesco’s.

Mags’ sister Dot and her son Paul came over for supper, they live not far away, and we had a good evening till they left around nine o’clock.

Now then, Stalybridge on a fine weekend night? Not for the faint-hearted! Groups of youngsters roaming around with bottles of cheap cider, screaming, yelling and banging on the cabin as they passed. Fireworks going off and music blasting out from a car parked on Tesco’s car park till gone half-two.
I’d moved all the cabin top furniture to the outside of the roof to avoid temptation, and as it was nothing was touched although we did have a couple of uninvited boarders.
Not a good night, not a lot of sleep. It’d probably be fine to moor here in the week, and there may be quieter moorings further out from the centre, but if it’s a weekend probably best to keep clear. Unless it’s raining, of course. Inclement weather tends to keep them indoors….

Locks 5, miles 1¾  


Anonymous said...

Stalybridge has obviously gone downhill since we stayed there many years ago. Glad that there was no harm done but it's horrible to have uninvited boarders.

I do love this canal though - such contrasts.

Sue, nb Indigo Dream

Geoff and Mags said...

Thanks Sue
It's a real shame. the town has so much to offer. Maybe we caught it on a bad night...