I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Sunday 30 June 2013

River Irk Moorings (Rochdale Canal) - Friday 28th June

I’ve been trying to think of a way of starting this entry but can’t come up with anything – I think you will understand as you read on!

We woke up to rain – we knew it would be but we were booked to go up the 17 locks out of Manchester.  Also we had a friend, Steve, joining us for the day to help us – so we had to go.

Old Mill near New Islington Marina
We had been told to be at Lock 81 at 9.30am so that the C&RT man could unlock the gates to let us through but when we arrived there was no sign of anyone.  I got Richard into the lock and there he waited for 45 minutes!  I rang the C&RT office and the girl told me she would ring me back.  While we waited I walked up and set a few locks and realised that something was amiss as there was one top gate open on all the locks.  The phone went and I was told that we had been booked in to come down the locks and not up!  The chap was waiting at the top for us!  GREAT!  Shaun, the C&RT man, eventually arrived at 10.15am and told us that there was another boat on its way up the flight and he was single handed.  To go up the locks you need to be at the bottom lock at 8.30am and not 9.30am!  As everyone thought we were coming down the flight, Ian, the singlehander, had been told to leave a top gate open.  Steve was coming down the towpath on his bike so I phoned him and, as he passed Ian, he told him what had happened and that if he wanted to wait then we could do the locks together. 

Strange chain operated lock gates
We battled on up the flight in the rain with all the locks against us until we started to find a couple empty (thank you Ian for going back and lifting a paddle!)  Finally we came across a lock with the gate open and Cwm moored up inside waiting for us.  After that we seemed to get on better and the rain eased a bit. 

The start of a black hole?
Just before Lock 65 there is a Tesco with its own mooring.  I grabbed my rather long list and went it.  I was able to take the trolley right back to the boat and unloaded it in the pouring rain.

Steve left us at this point.  I felt so sorry for him, it was his first time on a narrowboat (well he didn’t really go on Mary H at all) and he just got soaked and exhausted.  Thank you Steve for helping us out :-)

Next we had to negotiate the Grimshaw Lane lift bridge – I have renamed it the Grimshaw Lane lift ROAD as, in fact, the road lifts up on four corners – I’ve never seen a bridge like it before.

Grimshaw Lane Lift Bridge
Our destination was the Rose of Lancaster pub at the River Irk moorings.  We tried to moor before the aqueduct but in fact had to go over it and moor on the other side.  Richard and I walked up to the pub for dinner but were told that they were fully booked.  I explained that we were wet, tired and hungry and they let us eat in the Tap Room which was fine, I even got to watch the Andy Murray game on the wide screen TV!  The food was excellent and plenty of it – we couldn’t manage a desert, unheard of for us!

To sum up our ascent out of Manchester.  The canal is full of rubbish – Richard had to go down the weed hatch 3 times to free the propeller and it is a very poor area with a lot of derelict buildings.  The locks weren’t that hard to operate – just annoying as each one seemed to have a different mechanism and locking system.  We didn’t see another boat all day which I guess isn’t surprising given the weather but I really don’t think many people go down into Manchester that way.
Dukes Lock - first lock on the Rochdale Canal
The photos today are either, again, courtesy of Margaret from Huffler or some more of Manchester.  It was toooooo wet to even think about taking photos today.

New Islington Marina (Rochdale Canal) to River Irk Moorings (Rochdale Canal)
6.77 miles
18 locks
1 swing bridge

1 comment:

  1. You had a good trip if only 3 times down weed hatch ! Last time we went UP the flight it was weed hatch at EVERY lock. Cart are a real pain with bookings. They do not listen, or maybe do not understand the difference between UP and DOWN. We thought it odd you were going at 8.30.