Saturday, May 11, 2013

The “Rochdale 9” to Castlefields

Before we set off yesterday on the last downhill stretch, Meg and I had a walk up the Rochdale Canal from Ducie Street, just a couple of locks, to have a look at the New Islington Wharf development.

Pound above Lock 83 a bit low….SAM_5409

Part of the redevelopment of the wharf area of Ancoats by Urban Splash involved the construction of a canal link between the Rochdale and Ashton Canals, two locks up from the junction.
There are some visitor moorings, at the moment only accessible from the Rochdale end, and permanent moorings about midway. A wetland area off to the side encourages wildlife, complete with nesting islands.

Swan’s nestSAM_5415

Amenity Block, showers, loos, pump-out, elsan disposal and water.SAM_5414


As you can see from the pictures, it was a damp, dismal sort of morning, not the weather you want for lock work, so we hung on, hoping for an improvement.

By 2 o’clock the rain had stopped and there was a bit of brightness in the sky, so we got underway, The first lock from the junction dips under the office block at Dale Street…

Dale Street Lock, immediately below Ducie Street JunctionSAM_5419


It’s a bit grim down here, smelling of pigeon poo and stale urine. Apparently there’s other other activities involving relief as well…
That’s told ‘em!

It was a relief to escape down to Lock 85, even though the channel is hemmed in by tall buildings.
Canal Street, centre of Manchester’s Gay community, runs alongside the canal and Lock 84.SAM_5423

Queuing for the lock

Manchester made a lot of money out of wool, the older buildings are subsequently very grand.

Princess Street, Lancaster House with the tower under repair
Built in 1910 as a warehouse, it’s actually a steel frame faced with terracotta and brick.

Between the office blocks near Albion Mill LockSAM_5428

Nearly there, cafés and bars in the arches above the canal, Deansgate on the left.SAM_5429

Lock 92, the last of the Rochdale Canal, below which it joins the Bridgewater CanalSAM_5434

The trip had been OK, just a drop of rain halfway down.
This last lock was the worst, taking 40 minutes to get close to filling, then requiring Ann, myself and a passer-by the open one gate. There was a lot of water leaking from the bottom gates.


I was amazed at how busy Castlefield Basin is. We went down to below the Grocers Warehouse, not a space to be had, so turned around and moored almost opposite Lock 92. It’s a bit noisier here than around the corner, with two railway lines running across ahead, but it’ll do for the weekend.

M2L into Castlefield. We finally moored just on the left here.SAM_5436

Since we left Barton Marina in March, we’ve climbed up 250 feet to Stoke on the Trent and Mersey Canal, then a further 100 feet up to Macclesfield on the Macclesfield Canal. This took us to 518 feet above sea level. Marple Locks, Ashton Locks and the Rochdale 9 have dropped us all the way back down to around 100 feet above sea level. Makes you wonder why you bother, doesn’t it….
Winking smile

Hi Michelle and Barry, yeah, it’s great, isn’t it. Ann must have had a very sheltered upbringing! How is it up there?
Bob, you’ll have realised by now that we are mooring at Castlefield for the weekend… For once the 9 weren’t too bad, very little water coming over the top so no problems emptying the locks. Just L92…

Locks 9, miles 1½

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