Romiley to Parbold
Monday 21st March
Left Romiley under grey skies this morning on our way to Portland Basin.
The canal continued northwards through Woodley Tunnel, 167 yards long, quite straight but only room for one boat at a time.
Then under a very tall railway bridge, you can just see the mouth of the tunnel in the distance.
We wound our way through pleasant countryside before entering Hyde, which initially looked quite shabby. You could moor your boat for £4 a foot per month, right next to a rubbish dump! Makes Overwater Marina look very attractive!
|Modern development versus|
A beautiful example of a roving bridge, the towpath swaps across the canal ( otherwise known as a snake bridge).
Through the last lift bridge on the Peak Forest Canal and moored up for the night before we tackle the Ashton Canal tomorrow.
Still exercising my green fingers, we have four pots on the boat roof with primulas planted around lavender in one, rosemary in another, thyme in the third and sage in the fourth. They look good and they are great in cooking as well!!
Tuesday 22nd March - we had an early start this morning, our aim was to get to Piccadilly Basin, at the end of the Ashton Canal. 18 locks in total!!
This is Portland Basin where we turn off the Peak Forest onto the Ashton Canal. We went through the first lock and then linked up with an old wooden working boat called Daphne.
Daphne was on her way to Ellesmere Port for a meeting over Easter. She had a crew of seven to get her through the Ashton locks and the Rochdale 9 locks down through Manchester.
We passed under an incredibly low bridge, so low we had to remove all the plant pots off the roof of the boat.
Etihad Stadium is the home of Manchester City Football Club and is part of the regeneration of the area along with sports arenas for the Commonwealth Games.
Once we had got to the end of the Ashton Canal we decided to stay with Daphne and continue down the Rochdale Locks with them. The locks are wide locks and it will be easier for us to be in the locks with another boat and the help with locking would also be useful.
Waiting to get into the second lock, the bottom gate wouldn't close so we couldn't fill the lock. It took over an hour to solve the problem, but eventually the gates shut and we were on our way again. Not a pleasant place to be waiting!!
We passed under some very tall buildings right in the centre of Manchester, quite amazing really!
Ella in one of the locks with Daphne, we are 57' and Daphne is 70', little and large!! Dave had to hitch a ride on Daphne in order to get out of one of the locks, an amazing experience!!
At the end of the 9 locks we waved goodbye to Daphne and her crew and they continued on their way whilst we turned into Castlefield Quay where we were going to moor for a couple of nights.
Wednesday 23rd March - we spent the day exploring the canal basin and the city of Manchester. Castlefield is where the working boats used to come to unload their cargoes into the warehouses. The boats would moor up beside the arches, unload their goods, fill up with other goods and return the way they had come.
The Victorians built the railway bridges on the site of an old Roman Fortress and in recognition of this each of the pillars has a castle turret shape top to them
The warehouses have all been renovated and are now smart new apartments or office blocks. The Museum of Science and Industry is also housed in one of the old warehouses.
This branch of the canal is shaped like a tuning fork, with two basins so that they could get two boats loading and unloading at the same time.
Manchester also has a Metrolink, trams that run around the centre and outskirts of Manchester.
The Great Northern Railway Company's Goods Warehouse has also been renovated and now houses restaurants, bars and a casino!!
Thursday 24th March - on our way again today. We are leaving Manchester behind and heading for Worsley on the Bridgewater Canal. This canal was built by James Brindley and was the brain child of the Duke of Bridgewater who wanted the canal built so coal could be moved from his Lancashire collieries at a more competitive rate.
We passed Manchester United's Football ground at Old Trafford.
Also Pomona Lock a wide lock that carries the Bridgewater Canal down onto The Manchester Ship Canal. This is the same canal we saw at Ellesmere Port in November last year.
The Bridgewater Canal crosses over the Manchester Ship Canal on the Barton Swing bridge. It is necessary to swing the bridge open to allow the passage of some of the enormous ships that use the canal.
Apart from the canal crossing the Manchester Ship Canal there is also a bridge for the road and a bridge for the railway.
Some odd features of this canal - there is a pagoda and a lighthouse - one wonders why?
Friday 25th March - Worsley, where the Bridgewater Canal started and the main reason for its existence. It opened in 1761 and was linked to a network of underground waterways that led to the Duke's mines.
The opening to the waterways can still be seen at The Delph and boats used to carry the coal up from the mines to the Bridgewater canal then towed three abreast by a pair of horses to Manchester.
Left Worsley and continued towards the village of Crooke. Passed through Leigh, an old mill town, which is undergoing regeneration, new housing springing up in place of the old mills.
At Leigh bridge we leave the Bridgewater Canal and it becomes the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
On our way through to Wigan we paired up with another boat to go through the wide locks. This time it was a 23ft narrowboat with a 15hp outboard engine named Short Cut. Another case of little and large, but this time I was large!!
In Wigan we passed Wigan Pier, an old warehouse renovated and now a pub. It is featured in the title of George Orwell's 'The Road to Wigan Pier' in which he reports on the plight of the working class in the bleak industrial heartlands.
The 'Pier' was a wooden jetty that boats would moor against to be loaded with coal from the nearby collieries. It was demolished in 1929 and today the name Wigan Pier refers to the canal area at the bottom of the Wigan flight of locks.
Saturday 26th March - there are dire warnings of Storm Katie for today so we are having a short cruise as far as Parbold where we shall moor up before the storm hits.
Only two locks today, one of which is 12ft deep, it was originally two shallow locks, now a monster that takes ages to fill and is very dark and dank!!
Entering Parbold we see a windmill overlooking the wharf on the left hand side, remains of old flour mills.
Sunday 27th March - spending today, Easter Sunday, in Parbold walking the canal towpath and generally having a quiet day.