Sunday, May 31, 2009

Nights At Clarence Dock

Clarence Dock
We spent a few days and nights at Clarence Dock and Eric took this photo. It wasn't the quietest place to be on Saturday night with the party boat returning about 12.30am and pranksters jumping in the dock at 4.00 am. We were entertained watching the arrival of the fancy dress guests and there were some amazing costumes and wondered how the girls managed to walk on their killer heels.
Sunday morning we set off to River Lock which is the first lock on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. We used some strange gear to open the paddles- the likes of which we'd never seen before. BW unlock the padlocks on the locks at 8.15am and we had to through 13 locks including several staircases by 4.00pm. BW helped us through the staircases due to the area we were passing through. Being a Sunday and sunny it was very busy with lots of people watching at the locks. Eric had to be careful going up the locks due to fountains of water coming through the top gates threatening to wash the plants on the front deck. He had to put the plants on the roof out of the way and try and stay as far back in the lock as he could. We managed to pass the handspike we were given to a new set of owners as the Calder and Hebble is the only canal that needs it.
A few swing bridges later we moored at Rodley just past the full visitor moorings and looked forward to a quiet night. Ben is delighted he's been able to walk along the towpaths as we're back on the canals again. This evening Ben and I walked back to a big recreation ground we passed earlier and play ball- so now he's fast asleep. We still haven't found anyone selling diesel but locals tell us they sell it at the next boatyard we come to- keep your fingers crossed until tomorrow.

Lemonroyd Lock To Clarence Dock- Leeds

Leeds Lock

NB Bendigedig in Clarence Dock

Moored outside the Royal Armouries Museum

I woke up early this morning so I decided to get up and take Ben for a walk before we set off on the boat to Leeds. Ben and I walked along part of the Trans Pennine Trail which was a footpath and supposedly for walkers rather than the cycles allowed track on the other side of the navigation. We only met one cyclist who rang his bell and gave me time to grab Ben so he didn't get to chase him. We had a lovely time walking in the sunshine only passing fishermen on the way UNTIL Ben found a yucky ditch and waded in. He came out covered in an oily mess- to make him almost black all over. It took a lot of warm water and shampoo to shift it but he's clean again UNTIL the next time- he loves dirty ditches!

Back on the boat we worked through the mechanised locks including Leeds Lock all the way to Clarence Dock in Leeds. Our BW Boater's Guide( down loaded 24.05.09) says it's closed but it's open with visitor moorings for three narrowboats. We are moored next to 'The Armouries' which proved too much for Ben when an outside performance involving pistols firing just at the time I was trying to get him to walk on the pontoon next to the boat. Needless to say he hid in the bedroom until it was all over. An hour later when it had gone quiet I got off the boat and walked along the pontoon onto the dock with his lead in my hand and with much encouragement he decided he'd risk the pontoon to get to me! We found some grass walking along the towpath as Ben's not a city animal, he likes a bit of greenery to smell and have a wee!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Boating On The Aire And Calder

Different sizes on the River Aire

NB Shush Leaving Castleford Junction

We left Stanley Ferry after filling up with water and emptying the cassettes. The wind was up so it made mooring up difficult as the boat just didn't want to go where Eric wanted it to go. Ben and I set off to walk on the first lock of the day- Birkwood Lock and it was mechanised so nice and easy- you just had to put in the BW key and press the buttons. The next two locks were also mechanised- I do like these locks. We enjoyed the deep water of the River Calder and the forecast rain kept away. It was a nice change from travelling very slowly on the canals.

At Castleford we turned left onto the River Aire, the lock keeper waved his arms about but we don't know why. Ten minutes later though a huge commercial barge came towards us passing on the right- perhaps he was warning us! I took a photo of NB Shush to show how huge the barge was. I made us cheese on toast as lunch on the go and even though we were travelling upstream it didn't take long to get to Lemonroyd Lock. This lock was huge but another of the push button type making my job easier but Eric had to hang onto the rope to try and keep the boat next to the side. Coming out of the lock I helped him moor up at the visitor moorings as the boat was trying to get away in the wind. We haven't been able to get any diesel since Hebden Bridge (Bronte Boats) and no diesel is sold in the BWML marina next to the moorings so I rang ahead to find a boatyard (Fallwood Marina) on the Leeds and Liverpool that was willing to let us self declare the propulsion/domestic percentages. We'll need diesel once we leave Leeds as if it gets below a certain level the Mikuni won't work to heat the water for showers in the morning.
Click on the link to the Pennine Waterways site for some photos of Castleford to Leeds.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

All Aboard To Stanley Ferry

On Saturday we walked up to the village of Calder Grove and got a few essentials and spotted a bus stop. In the afternoon Eiddwen and I went for some retail therapy in Wakefield. At the bus stop a very friendly local gave us his life story- he was a nice enough chap but the touchy feely type and I was moving closer to Eiddwen to avoid the contact! Coming into Wakefield we saw B & Q and lots of other stores - Eric and Alan would have been off the bus like a shot but we stayed on as M &S was calling. In Wakefield we headed for M & S and the other big stores in the Ridings Shopping Centre. We were very good and at the end of the afternoon Eiddwen and I had a new T Shirt each and Eric had a new pair of slippers to replace his dead ones. We also did some food shopping as fresh food was sadly lacking in Calder Grove- no doubt they all shop in Wakefield. The bus driver gave us a shout (as requested) as we reached Calder Grove and we bought some haddock and chips for tea from the fish and chip shop for tea and it was delicious!

Sunday morning came and the weather was great - sun, sun and more sun. I took Ben for a walk while Eric watched the Grand Prix. Lots of boats on the move today, the most we've seen since we left Manchester. We got moaned at by a big wide beam that our boat was overhanging the lock moorings and the other half on board took a photo- evidence for sure! We moved up a metre once he'd gone to avoid any more hassle. The visitor moorings filled up and the gongoozlers looked in but the sun was shining so it was a lovely day.

We decided to move on Bank Holiday Monday as we'd been moored up long enough. The sun was still shining so I took Ben for a walk before we set off. We set off as planned past all the residential boats and pulled in next to lock to fill up with water, we had to breast up to NB Shush as there was no room. Filling up both water tanks took a while but we then ready to go down the lock onto the next river section. We passed through Thomes Flood Lock which was open and then Thornes Lock and finally through Wakefield Flood Lock to find the sign for a sanitary station but no facilities, just a modern block of apartments. All it said was 'Welcome to Wakefield Waterfront' but no information at all in the very empty noticeboard. (Update- I have since found out there are facilities at Fall Ing Lock Residential Moorings.) We moored up at the visitor moorings and Eiddwen and I walked to Sainsbury's to get some fresh food while Alan and Eric stayed with the boats.

We got back to the boats and headed for Fall Ing Lock and here the fun began as the lock took an age to fill. The boat leaving the lock had left a paddle half up and it wouldn't shut with all the water in the lock. We had to half empty the lock to release the presssure on the paddle so we could wind it completely down. The whole process was watched by a gang of teenage lads and they actually helped us open and close the lock gates.The notice at the lock said 'Welcome to the Aire and Calder Navigation' and we were on a river section which was very pleasant with the sun shining and no wind at all which made going through Broadreach Flood Lock easier. It has traffic lights which confused us as they were amber but both flood lock gates were wide open. We moored up at Stanley Ferry a lovely spot with plenty of space for us to stop. There are some lovely walks here in the 'Southern Washlands Nature Corridor' so the sign says. Ben the dog and I are looking forward to staying here and going walking.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Shepley Bridge To Broad Cut


Broad Cut Visitor Moorings

Thursday morning came and the rain came down in a very heavy shower. We waited until it stopped before filling up with water. We checked the river to see if we were in the green so we could go and worked through the two locks onto the river. The sign in the photo (click to enlarge) was at the second lock, we've no idea where we should be with RIGHT LEFT on the sign so we stayed to the right side of the left side of the navigation. We had fun and games with the second lock as there was so much debris in the lock chamber we couldn't open the gates far enough to get the boats out. We ended up refilling the lock and pulling out huge clumps of weed, a car wheel, several small trees, planks of wood and a bit of a ladder.

Leaving the river section was a bit tricky as one flood gate was partly closed and you can't see it until you get there but we went through the one gate with a few scrapes. We arrived at Thornhill Double Locks to find a private boat coming up- a rare sight on this navigation. The only other boats we've seen this week are Shire Cruisers from Sowerby Bridge. We helped them work through the two locks and then went down ourselves one at a time diagonally in the lock. We moored below the locks for the night on the visitor moorings and managed to get a good satellite signal. Lots of foot traffic and bikes went by the mooring but we were OK.

Friday morning came and it wasn't raining so I walked Ben the dog to the first lock called Mill Bank Lock- lots of graffitti and broken bottles around the lock sides so someones had a party! The paddle gear was really stiff so male muscle was called in to lift the gate paddles. I walked on with Ben alongside NB Bendigedig to the next locks called 'Figure of Three Locks' but only two remain. We needed a good spot to moor for the weekend as the lads wanted to watch the Grand Prix so we ended up going through Broad Cut Top Lock. Eric got a good satellite signal and Alan put his dish on our boat with a long cable so he could get a good signal too. We're all set for a lazy weekend with the boat not going anywhere. Needless to say we'll be walking Ben the dog so we'll not be that lazy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cromwell Bottom To Shepley Bridge

Moored At Shepley Bridge

We left Cromwell Bottom after a very dark night, no other lights around so we see the stars. Ben had a bark in the night but nobody was around- he must of heard animals noises. The next part of journey was only three locks but took longer because we had to work each lock twice. We've got used to the hand spike now but we'll pass it on to a boater without one coming onto the Calder and Hebble from the Aire and Calder. A boater gave it to us on the Rochdale Canal as we were approaching the Calder and Hebble with the request to pass it on when we'd finished this navigation. At Brighouse we stopped next to Sainsbury's to do a food shop and then moved through the next lock to spend the night on the visitor moorings above the second Brighouse Lock. Not much room for two boats on the mooring so we doubled up with us near the bank so Ben the dog could get off easily.

In the morning we went though the lock onto a river section- the river level was green so we were OK. It was strange to be on a flowing river again and a totally new experience for Alan and Eiddwen on NB Shush. After Brighouse the navigation chops and changes from river to man made cuts and back again and the weirs were protected by orange floating boons so we couldn't miss them. We just had to find the entrance to the open flood locks. I didn't get to walk Ben the dog much today as sections of towpath are non existent. In the afternoon we moored up and I took Ben for a short walk, as long as he has a walk he doesn't seem to mind how far we go. We moored up at Shepley Bridge visitor moorings and in the morning we'll be going through Shepley Bridge Lock and through Greenwood Flood Lock onto another river section after using the BW facilities. at Shepley Bridge. Let's hope the sun is shining like it is today because boating in the sunshine is so much nicer! P.S It's raining again now!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Land Of The Hand Spike (Calder and Hebble)

Below Salterhebble Top Lock

Sowerby Bridge Basin

We woke up Monday morning and it's raining again - on with the wet weather gear! We'd planned to use the Sanitary Station but Shire Cruisers had other ideas! They'd moved a private boat across opposite the water point to double up with another already moored there to make room for two hire boats coming back in and then blocked access to the sanitary station completely. They finally left room to get in parallel to their boats but no room to turn in the space with two boats moored double as our boat won't bend. It had been bad enough turning around when we arrived with one boat moored there so we had no chance with two. Moan over- we decided to use the Sanitary Station at Salterhebble Locks because it would be less hassle.

We arrived at Salterhebble Top Lock with the hand spike ready and went in the lock with some difficulty as it's a right angle bend. Alan was OK as he could use his bow thrusters. We got in the lock and had our first taste of using the hand spike- the lockie told us it was OK just to let the paddles moved by hand spikes to drop to close. He failed to mention the lock was 57' 6" and with our buttons on we'd need to go across the lock one at a time to be able to open the bottom gates to get out. So we lowered the water but couldn't open the gates, so we had to refill it and Alan reversed out and waited for NB Bendigedig to go through diagonally. Our boat is 57' but the buttons add another 1' at least. We had a quick sandwich lunch while the boats filled up with water and then moved into the middle lock one at a time. The two boats fitted in the bottom lock as it's a guillotine and the bottom gate is straight.

Ben and I walked between the locks and he waited patiently while we worked through four more locks but each time we had to go in one at a time diagonally across the lock so it obviously took longer. We had to be very careful due to the cill and the overhanging walkways. Eric was soon an expert with the hand spike- he said he felt like Barnie Rubble (Flintstones) with his club. It was still raining and I slipped on the wet stone as I opened one lock gate and ended up on my butt- no doubt I'll have a few bruises but I'll survive. We moored up out in the country (still raining) near Cromwell Bottom for the night- lots of trees so no satellite TV. We'll just have to watch a DVD.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sowerby Bridge- The Calder and Hebble

Lisa and Gwenllian

Eric returned on Friday afternoon from his visit to Newport in south Wales. He travelled by train changing at Manchester. He stayed with our daughter Sally and her fiancee Bob and they kept him fed and watered as well as ferrying him around- thanks to you both. While he was in Newport he was measured for his suit for their wedding at the beginning of July. He managed to fit in visits to Paula, my dad and our daughters Clare, Lisa and grand daughter Gwenllian and collected three months prescriptions from our doctors to keep us going while we're up north.

Saturday morning we were up and ready to move on to Sowerby Bridge where the Calder and Hebble Navigation begins. The sun shining but interspersed with showers but at least it wasn't windy. I walked with Ben the dog for a few hours including working the boats through four locks and then we got back on to make a cup of coffee. Coming into Sowerby Bridge we had to go through three locks, the first being very deep and worked by the lock keeper. You leave this lock and go through a short tunnel with a bend in it to connect to the next two locks. The deep lock and tunnel replaces two locks which were filled in and where the road was built over the original canal course.

We are now moored up in the basin at Sowerby Bridge (on the Calder and Hebble) on the visitor moorings (72 hours) and there was only room for our two boats. We've survived the Rochdale Canal travelling from Manchester to Sowerby Bridge with it's 92 locks and thirty three miles and I can honesty say I walked nearly all of it! I haven't decided whether I want to do it again but the scenery at the northern end was spectacular.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Exploring Hebden Bridge

A view from the top - the Calder Valley

We travelled down through a few more locks and moored up in a quiet spot as we planned to get to Hebden Bridge by Tuesday as on Wednesday Eric was going to Newport in South Wales by train via Manchester. The next day we did the last few locks and stopped at the sanitary station to empty the cassettes and fill up with water. We also got some diesel and coal from Bronte Boats- their fuel pump is in the enclosure next to the elsan/pump out point. The water took an age to fill both boat's water tanks and then we were about to move over to moor up when a BW work boat came by and a hire boater was having trouble with the wind, so it was chaotic. We eventually moored up. It's a lovely spot with a park with a big space which Ben the dog is enjoying playing ball in. Lots of people walking in this area and lots of photos being taken- one lady asked if she could take Ben's picture as he was looking out of the front of the boat with a ball in his mouth- what's new?

This morning Ben and I walked Eric to the railway station and then played ball in the park. I needed to put on the engine so I could use the cleaner to get rid of the hairy boat -Ben sheds a lot of hair. After lunch Ben and I went walking up to the old hilltop village of Heptonstall along a waymarked route from Hebden Bridge. It climbs about 500 feet with a steep cobbled path called the Buttress and lots of steps but with a few stops along the way to get my breath back I was fine. The little cafe in the village provided a cold drink for me and a bowl of water for Ben the dog. Some locals pointed me in the right direction for the footpath down which went past rocky crags and the views of the Calder Valley were good and Ben had a chance to run off his lead. An hour and a half later we were back on the boat. I needed a coffee but Ben just wanted to play ball but after a few throws along the boat he went to sleep. He must have enjoyed his walk.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Todmorden Towards Hebden Bridge

Ben posing by the lock.

Eiddwen, Ben and I walking between the locks.

NB Shush leading the way.

We spent a few days at Todmorden below the guillotine lock. The water levels varied quite dramatically in the pound during the day and Eric let a few lockfuls of water down in the afternoon as we were sitting at an angle on the mud. I found a hairdresser willing to cut my hair without me having to make an appointment and I was pleased with the result. Eric and I sampled the excellent fish and chips in a nearby Morrison's before we did a bit of shopping as we needed fruit and vegetables and some bread and milk.

Friday night was reasonably quiet but Saturday night was noisy with some lads from the pub by the wharf deciding to smash a few glasses near the boats in the early hours of the morning. Ben had a good bark to let them know he was listening and looking after us. Needless to say we were gone in the morning moving on to a quieter spot a few locks down where we could get satellite TV just in time to watch the Grand Prix.

I had a really good sleep on Sunday night and woke up to a sunny morning. The wind is up and to say it makes boating interesting is an understatement. We worked through three locks and then found a quiet spot where the water was deep enough to get close to the bank and moored up at lunchtime. The views from the boat are lovely and I am going off for a walk on Edge End Moor with Ben the dog.

Friday, May 08, 2009

An Early Start Then Twenty Locks

Look At Those Hills!

Eric's In Yorkshire

Operating The Guillotine Lock

We were up and ready when it was time to go through the Summit Locks- it was blowy but otherwise blue skies and fluffy clouds. I walked with Ben the dog along the towpath to the first of the locks going down from the Summit pound and the lock keeper had a ride on NB Shush to see us through the second lock. Soon we were in West Yorkshire and the weather changed with rain clouds which decided to empty over us. On went the wet gear and I continued my walk working the locks along the way.

We stopped at Walsden for water and moored up two abreast to have quick lunch while the boats filled up with water and two boats actually came up the lock- what a surprise. The wind increased and boating became more difficult and the Gauxholme Locks were overflowing water over the top gates while we were trying to empty them with raised paddles to go down. The towpaths got a soaking too there was so much water coming down. Some gates and gear were in a very poor state and only one set of paddles worked- hopefully BW will spend some money before they collapse completely.

We had a helper who turned up at Gauxholme Locks to help with his windlass- Eiddwen and I were glad of help as some of the gates were hard going. Finally after walking nearly four miles we got to the Guillotine Lock at Todmorden which had manual paddles with an electrically operated guillotine. We moored up for night below the lock in Todmorden - after twenty locks we were cream crackered.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Littleborough To Summit Locks

Leaving Littleborough- waiting for the lock.

Working The Locks Together

Boats Going North- Ben waiting for me!

We left Littleborough behind and worked through Locks 48 and 47 and there was the Sanitary Station. Good to see as there hasn't been any Elsan facilities since we left Manchester. If you come this way make sure you have a couple of spare cassettes as we've worked through 56 locks to get to this far. After filling the water tank and getting rid of the rubbish we set off to climb the nine locks to moor below West Summit Lock for our booked passage through on Friday. Another early start of 8.30am - I'll have to set the alarm!

Several of the locks had subsidence problems reducing the lock width so the boats had to go through one at a time. We were the only boats moving so the top pound had gone down a bit. The lock keeper told us they have trouble with water here and it was in fact fuller than usual with all the rain we'd had this week. An unusual sight on the way up was the River Roch carried over the railway in an iron trough near the western portal of Summit Tunnel.

The views of Chelburn Moor were lovely and the canal so much cleaner and when we finally moored up at Chelburn Wharf it was a delightful mooring. I set off with Ben the dog to walk on the moor and I found the Pennine Bridle Way sign posts and followed them for a while. It overlooked Upper Chelburn Reservoir. I could see the village of Summit and the air shafts of Summit Tunnel so I couldn't get lost. We walked down to the reservoir and then back the way we came- Ben going ahead leading the way!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Five Locks And Two Swing Bridges- Littleborough

We had quite a noisy night as the wind was howling and the traffic was close by but ear plugs shut it all out. In the morning Eric went down the weed hatch before we set off and removed a load of plastic. I walked on ahead to prepare the lock for us with Ben the dog. The two boats came and Eiddwen and I worked them through and then walked on to do the next two lock in the flight at Castleton.

We then got back on the boats as it was quite a way to Rochdale. The debris in the water increased as we approached Rochdale and the propellers picked up a load again. The first lock at Moss Locks was unmovable with shortened beams and nothing to help you. Luckily two passing blokes helped us open and shut the gates. They said we were the first boat they'd seen for months. We managed the second lock and then moved on to find Morrison's to do a bit of shopping.

It was hard to find a place we could get into the side so we moored under the road bridge. Eiddwen and I left the men looking after the boats and went shopping. It took ages as the shop was huge and we had to find the items on our lists. Finally back at the boat with steak and kidney pies and eccles cakes- we had to have eccles cakes in Lancashire.

Eric said a boat had actually passed them going south while we were shopping. Boats are definitely a rarity on this canal. Two swing bridges later and a couple of miles further north we moored up for the night near Littleborough, the lack of mooring rings and hard towpath didn't make it easy but we're OK. Eric's down the weed hatch again removing plastic bags.

Tomorrow we'll be below the Summit Lock (600 ft above sea level) waiting for our booked passage over the top on Friday. According to Pearsons "The hills of the north rejoice around your shoulders". The weather forecast is promising tomorrow we are sick of rain. Then we're going down down down towards Sowerby Bridge and looking forward to seeing hills!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Ten Locks Further- Slattocks

Boating in the rain again. After we got up this morning the first job was down the weed hatch. Well it took Eric and Alan quite a while to get the prop clear- plastic bags and nylon rope tightly wound around were the main culprits. While they cleared it I walked up the first lock of the day to lift the paddles so it would be ready for us. I walked back to the boat to find they had cleared it. We had a chat with the single handed boater on NB Bleasdale who was moored in front of us and we swapped books so now I have a few new books to read.

We worked through the locks, the gates were heavy and at times difficult to open. As we left each lock we left a paddle up to empty the lock for the single handed boater following us through. We had trouble with one lock it was emptying quicker than it filled and needed three of us to get it to open. The single handed boater got stuck here and two hefty chaps from BW got the boat out. The leaky gates will be sorted one day. We got to the top of the flight at Slattocks Top Lock and Eric and Alan went back down the flight to work the last five locks for the single handed boater following us. The three boats moored up together above the lock- it's near the road so it'll be noisy but the bloke in the lock cottage said we'd be safe. It's nice to look out of the window of the boat to see greenery again and the view is not spoilt by the rubbish floating in the canal. We can see the Pennines in the mist - I hope it stops raining tomorrow.

Escorted Along The Rochdale Canal

BW knocked at 8 am as they were ready to go, it seems we had been told the wrong starting time. We were up and ready- just as well! Looked out the window and then put on the wet gear.The BW guy had emptied the lock and opened the gates by the time we untied the boat and put on the tiller. Most of the locks had handcuff locks and once we found the key hole we were OK. The BW guy was great he prepared all the locks for us and all we had to do was negotiate the debris along the way and put the boat in the locks, shut the gates and fill it up and open the gates to get out. After closing the gates we upped a paddle so the boat following had an empty lock- it was lady on her own! The other BW guy helped her through- now that's what I call service.
We had been told they were escorting us and just taking off the chains but these guys had other ideas. Alan ended up clearing his propeller three times- plastic galore, a suitcase and a pair of trousers all got wrapped around the propeller and stopped him going anywhere. We haven't looked yet- Eric will delve in there this morning.
It was obvious that few boats pass this way as we were watched and people waved at us from the towpaths. It didn't seem like a Bank Holiday as it was very very quiet. At one lock I fished out five tennis balls and Ben was delighted. We had another new experience with an electric hydraulic vertical lift bridge which was fully automatic and lifted the section of road vertically. Oh the power of stopping the traffic! I don't suppose we were very popular but the single handed boater had great fun- where do you tie the boat. A few beers followed when we moored up for the night- we deserved it.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Rochdale Nine Through Manchester

First Lock Of The Rochdale Nine
It was quiet enough near the YMCA and we had a good nights sleep. Ben was a bit freaked out by the rumble of the trains but he was OK on the boat. In the morning Ben and I walked to the first lock of the Rochdale and the boats were there before as I ended up exploring the Castlefield Arm. ( In other words took the wrong turn!). The first lock had a collection of chains on a geared mechanism too open and shut the gates and to say they were hard is an understatement but we managed to get through. Ben and I walked from lock to lock as we worked through until we came to Canal Street where there is no towpath and Ben had to go back on the boat. We found the locks difficult to use as often one of the gates wouldn't open properly and the lack of grease on the chain pulley system was evident in some cases. Every lock needed a handcuff key to open the paddle gear and this had to be locked after use.

Under The Buildings!

The canal goes beneath huge multi storey buildings and the experience was a smelly one with so much rubbish in and around the canal. Plenty of bins but nobody uses them. There was even a body (plastic blown up doll) floating in the canal! We made it through in three and half hours and that's not bad since all the locks were against us.
I took Ben for a walk to have a look at the Ashton Canal which joins the Rochdale near where we're moored. There are notices about a stoppage on Locks 1-18 so no boats were moving. I expect the fishermen were pleased to have the water all to themselves. I was lucky the rain came down just as Ben and I got back to the boat.
Tomorrow we are being met at 8.30am by Lock 83 by BW to shadow us through the next 18 security padlocked locks- I wonder what tomorrow brings- I hope it stays dry! I'll have to set the alarm as we don't do early mornings.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

A Night In Manchester

Bendy and Shush In Manchester

We had a quiet night near the boarded up pub at Bridgewater Marina. Some youths were sitting on the steps drinking cans - they didn't bother us and disappeared when it got dark. Before it got dark I went for a short walk with Ben the dog and found a large open space behind the marina and played with a ball Ben found in a stream. He also met a few dogs to play with so he was delighted. We returned to the boat and Eric had lit the fire so the boat was nice and cosy.

In the morning I walked the dog for an hour and we retraced our steps back to the junction. At Waters Meeting the boat turned left to travel into Manchester which NB Shush following behind. The passage into Manchester was spoilt by graffiti everywhere but we found our way to the visitor moorings near the YMCA and they were full. We filled up with water and the other boaters told us they were moving on after they'd been to the pub. Eric and Alan stayed on the boats so they could move the boats while Eiddwen and I went for a little retail therapy in Manchester. Coffee and cakes were soon followed by a look around M&S- I found a lovely T-shirt but not in my size-there seemed to be 10's 12's 14's then 18's 20's and up! In the Arndale Centre I found a Swatch shop to get a new strap for my watch and the very kind young man fitted it for me and gave it to me for free- I couldn't believe my luck.

We had a good look around then ended up going food shopping in M& S to carry back to the boat and then going to back to Sainsbury's with the shopping trolley to get the heavier stuff. Eric made the sphagetti bolonese sauce while I was out shopping so all I had to do was cook the sphagetti. Tea was followed by cream cakes so now I am stuffed and going to watch TV -there's good satellite reception even in the middle of Manchester! Tomorrow we're going up the Rochdale 9 so I need by beauty sleep- let's hope it's not too noisy here!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Altered Plans

We moored in the countryside near Altrincham and decided to stay for two nights after we looked at the weather forecast- rain, rain and more rain. Thursday morning the sun was shining so I took Ben the dog for a long walk .We started across a permitted route which took us across the TransPennine Cycle Way and then back along a footpath to the road which took us back to the canal and the boats. Later in the day I decided to walk towards Atrincham along the cycleway as I didn't want to retrace my steps I walked into Altrincham to find the canal to walk back to the boat. Ben thoroughly enjoyed his walk and was a very good boy. He sat down when told and waited for any bikes/runners to go past and he greeted all the dogs he met with a sniff and a very happy waggy tail.
On Friday our plan was to head into Manchester by turning right at Waters Meeting but in the end we turned left to go to Bridgewater Marina to get some diesel as all the diesel outlets on our book didn't exist anymore.( I need a newer Pearson- mine's 2002).We planned to use the services and then moor up by the pub so we could have a little tipple tonight. But the best laid plans are changed and the pub is all boarded up- went bankrupt after Christmas according to the lady in the marina office. So that drink will have to wait til tomorrow when we reach Manchester.