Thursday, 7 August 2014

Come on in - the water's, er, disgusting

Today was the day when Jim, formerly of Starcross, was to join us for a bit of boating (for him) and a lot of help with locks (for us). His train was due at Piccadilly Station at 0827, but he had said it would be all right if we started without him.

We set off from the central Manchester mooring (is this Dale Street mooring? I still don't know) near Piccadilly at 0745, eager to get some "proper" Rochdale Canal under our belts.

There's lots of interesting stuff here: mills galore, most now without their chimneys. This is Royal Mill.

I took a second shot of the main entrance, and hadn't noticed until looking back at the photo that I got a wave and a smile. Thanks guys!

At about the third lock of the day Jim walked up and, fortified with tea and marmalade sandwiches, got stuck in. But, look, here he is sitting down on the job.

As well as the mills there is much evidence of the consumption of alcohol. At Lock 81 at about 0930 we spoke to a friendly native holding his can of lager - or, possibly, cider. I didn't look too closely.

And at Lock 77 there was plenty of detritus which in many places might take months to accumulate, but here I suspect it took rather less time. This morning's little party?

With an organised crew, as we were, we didn't have to make much use of the lock landings. This was good as the canal is shallow towards the banks, and the towpath side was beginning to look like the offside. We met a boat coming down Lock 72 and had to wait here.

In a number of places there wasn't room to put a conventional balance beam in, so gates are operated by winching chains or, as here in Newton Heath, by hydraulic means.

By this lock (69) the New Crown pub blasted out old country-style music. It didn't make me want to hang around. The lock took an age to fill.

Jim didn't just do lock work; he took his turn on the tiller.

There's a vast amount more that I could bore you with on this bit of canal, but I'll have to limit it or I won't get my beauty sleep and I won't be fit for another action-packed day on the Rochdale. (Destination Rochdale itself tomorrow - and beyond.)

This was fascinating, though: Grimshaw Lane Vertical Lift Bridge on the approach to Chadderton. I'd just hopped off to press the buttons, and hadn't looked to see what sort of bridge it was. I got a surprise to see the whole road deck lift in front of me (I hadn't looked at Nicholsons - the word "vertical" might have given it away).

I mentioned Chadderton. This was to be our stop for tonight. To show that we have, at last, escaped the urban-ness (urbanity?) of Manchester and returned to the country, here's the view from our mooring.

We said our goodbyes to Jim as he made his way to the tram stop in Chadderton, and then we investigated the Rose of Lancaster pub. We stayed to eat - reasonable pub fayre - and then went for a walk in the evening sunshine. Coming back along the towpath we witnessed these boys enjoying Lock 62 by jumping in.

Cheaper than a swimming pool, and certainly with less chlorine (although who knows what chemicals are lurking in the murky depths?). Rather them than me. I had enough canal juice on my skin removing two lots of clothing from the prop today.

The lock they were jumping in was about half full. The pound above it was half empty (or worse). We're going to have to fill it from the pound above in the morning before we can go anywhere. More fun!

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