Sunday, May 12, 2013

All down hill to Manchester

From our mooring near the Marple bottom lock it was only 6 miles to Dukinfield Junction. Geoff had warned us about the low bridges so we put down our Bimini.
The majority of the Lower Peak Forest canal is tree lined and pleasant in the sunshine. After the Marple locks it was good to travel the long pound.
We squeezed under the low bridges and pushed through the dark tunnels.
Just one bridge to lift before our mooring for the night.

At Dukinfield Junction the Huddersfield narrow canal heads east while the Ashton canal heads west. Both canals were abandoned and left to rot when commercial traffic failed. The Ashton was reopened in 1974 and the Huddersfield in 2001. Both canals have proved to be a struggle to navigate ever since.

Now we face up to the trip down to Manchester and an early start on the Ashton canal with its eighteen locks.
The first two miles are tree lined and flat to the top lock where we topped up our water tank.

Geoff and Margaret in Seyella led the way down setting locks for us to follow. All the lock gear are vandal proof locked so they take longer to operate.

Because the canal had been abandoned many new road and rail bridges were built lower than the original canal bridges. It is a wonder that boats were able to navigate when it was reopened.
Beswick locks

It had been a cold windy day that made the seven hour trip almost too hard to complete.
The last bridge on the Ashton canal.

We finally arrived at the bottom and joined Seyela on the Rochdale canal at Picadilly above lock 84.
Ann went up to lock 83 to find the pound above it dry!
Next day when it stopped raining we moved down the Rochdale nine locks. Locks 84 to 92 pass through the city centre and we see many buildings covering and enclosing the canal.
The canal age was built of stone while the Victorians used red brick. Now we use metal, glass and concrete. The contrast could not be greater and they do not mix well in this city.
Lock 92, the bottom of the Rochdale 9.
We came down together in those wide locks and found a mooring in Castle Quay on the Bridgewater canal.

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