The first part of our eastward journey out of Manchester had us climbing up the Rochdale Nine. These locks have taken on a bit of a reputation in their own right despite the fact that they are only part of what is an arduous canal anyway, one that climbs up the Pennine Hills at three locks per mile! We needed to pass up the first nine locks on the Rochdale to the Ducie Street Junction with the Ashton Canal. We left Castlefield Basin at noon and serviced the boats as best we could. There is a BW Sanitary station without water just opposite the Castlefield Basin entrance and water in the Giants Basin on the other side of the Bridgewater Canal.
Above, Nb Matilda Rose at the San station - aided and abetted by the careful positioning of a working barge...
Above, the entrance to the Rochdale Canal. We arrived at the first lock at one o'clock as planned just in time to see a single boat start up ahead of us - that's life though isn't it? Sodus Lawrus as Cicero would say - well he might say that if he was going up the Rochdale with a boat in front of him...
I loved these new steel gate grips - it was just a pity that most were not positioned at the end of the beam arc for maximum leverage.
Of the nine locks only one was in our favour as we passed a couple of Viking Afloat boats half way up. Every lock had to be turned and as a consequence our mile and a half and nine locks journey took us three and a half hours. Gipsy Rover and Epithany had completed the downward journey on the same stretch in two and a half hours a few days prior to us.
In safely at lock 92, the first of the day.
Our initial view of the Rochdale from the first lock (92).
Dreaming of the next eight Jill?
We are starting to weave our way through and UNDER the City - Deansgate tunnel above.
Smart apartments encroaching on the canal.
A Millennium Bridge - very smart indeed.
We meet a couple boats on the way down. Apart from the cascade over the top of the gates see the side stream from the right.
Above, a glimpse of Canal street, Manchester's Gay Village. There is no towpath here so you have to hike along canal street and climb over a wall back to the canal and the next lock. A number of bodies have been fished out of the cut here and that has prompted the Coroner to insist that barriers are erected along the walls here to stop drunks falling into the canal to their demise. Well done the Coroner but you might end up with a lock wheeler losing out by falling over the wall - steps please..
Above and below, Piccadilly Lock.
The view as you leave Piccadilly - that is a very large building above your heads!
Done at last and starting the turn on to the Ashton.
I am back aboard Caxton as we leave the last of our nine locks - severe lack of towpath hereabouts.
Above, Ducie Street Basin where we are to moor for the night.
There are pontoons here and the place is so secure that some clever boater has removed a few bolts from the railings to allow access.
Verdict - I loved it. I loved the variety of the locks and their locations. However, not one of the locks was fully operational. You could guarantee that a paddle would be out or a chain pulley (for opening and closing some gates) would be broken. The paddles are tired and in some cases VERY heavy but I am only five foot nothing and I did it so not that much of a challenge. For the centre of a major city though I think BW have let themselves and boaters down though. This stretch of locks should be pristine - no excuse.