Burnley to Ashton Under Lyne (Part Two)
Thursday Piccadilly Basin, Manchester
Rochadale Canal 2 Miles 9 locks
A bit of a lie-in as we only have the "Rochdale 9" to do today. These locks take us right through the centre of Manchester and are great. To see what I mean take a look at the virtual journey one the excellent Pennine Waterways website. We are joined by Keith of the Rochdale Canal Society so we get to share the locks and I get to hear tales of the early days of restoration in the seventies. Keith also has a son who has done a lot of drinking in Manchester - so we have that in common.
Son and girlfriend join us as we pass under Pricess street and meet a jet-black mink hiding under a plank. Along canal street where the wild-life can be even wilder. And then we go subteranian under an office block, befor emerging into Piccadilly basin.
Out for a meal and a few beers.
The pub sign said Chesters Brewery, which doesn't exist any more, and I was was the only one who remembered their lovely dark Mild! Still it was a good pub and the Taylor's Landlord was a pretty good substitute
Friday Portland Basin
Ashton Canal 6 Miles 18 locks
At last we are on narrow locks again! They are much easier the boat mostly looks after itself meaning I can do more of the locking work. There used to be dire warnings about being robbed mugged or murdered on the Ashton canal but now it's one of my favourites, with lots of variety. Posh flats, older terraces, new tram stations, Manchester City's new ground, and the biggest Asda I've ever seen, Where Chris and Sarah joined us again.
We even met an old, wooden, working boat on its way down from the Boat Museum at Dukenfield junction (our destination)
With Chris at the tiller, I get the chance to do some proper lock-wheeling, and take some photos of the boat rather than from the boat.
Chris and Sarah leave us to return to Oxford before dark (we later found out that at 5pm they were still shopping in that huge Asda) so we do the last three locks and the last mile up to Portland Basin on our own and moor up on the Peak Forest canal (just).
On Saturday we hand over the keys so that Charybdis can be dry-docked on monday to have her bottom blacked.
This will be her last, proper, cruise this year, but hopefully we can get a couple of nice weekend trips in up to Marple aqueduct and back.
65 Miles, 63 Locks, 4 Swing Bridges
6 Herons, 4 Kingfishers, 1 unidentified bird of prey,
1 Mink (under Pricess St in central Manchester )
7 days, no rain!