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Tour 2004

Index

17 - Manchester to Slattocks. Rochdale Canal.

Tuesday 1st June 2004

Quiet night In Duice Street, but Linda did not sleep that well as she was doing a survey of the Rent Boys that used the car park side moorings as their meeting place. Apparently there was a flurry of activity around 05:00, with queues waiting to use the Lock 84 underground "facilities". 
We shoved off at 08:00, up to the Lock 83 moorings to await the arrival of the BW "Manchester 18" locky crew. This was booked along with the Littleborough Flight over a week ago. BW bod arrived at 08:20 and in five minutes we were in Lock 83. The BW guy was the "ZZ Top" bearded bloke that worked for the Rochdale Canal Company before BW took over the running of the canal. I seem to remember that he was the Rochdale 9 lock keeper that used to live in the house that straddled the canal somewhere on the Rochdale 9. 
We asked the BW guy about Littleborough and he said that it was a different area, he never went beyond Lock 65. At Lock 82 another BW guy appeared, then they went off in their van, saying that they would drain all the locks and take off the extra chain locks round the top paddle gear. So we were on our own. The first problem was a very big rounded "something" in the canal just below Union Street Bridge, causing Earnest to keel over at an alarming angle. This is the deep, properly dredged out section and for all we know it could have been a car! Linda did all the locks, with Neil doing what he could when the water level was nearly up. 
Good steady progress up to just below Newton Heath Lock, where there was an awful lot of waterborne crud, causing TWO trips down the weed hatch in Newton Heath Lock No 69, in front of a large gongoozling mass of shoppers. We were rather surprised to find that the Tannersfield Locks were still full and no sign of BW bods, the chains were off the paddles one side, so we carried on. Just as we were about to leave Tannersfield Top Lock No 66 the BW guys reappeared, apologising for their lack of service as they were called away for an emergency at Lock 88 on the Rochdale 9 (these two guys were the only BW "guys on the ground" staff on duty for the Rochdale up to Lock 65 (inc Rochdale 9) and the Ashton Canal. 
The disaster at Lock 88 was due to a boater tying a rope on the bottom paddle post, to shut the gate, which dislodged the paddle!..........."ZZ Top" BW bod was still in this waders! It was rather tough going through the "failed" wide mooring spot in Failsworth, just beyond the knocked down supermarket site. This new, deep section has silted up in the two years since the canal opened, probably due to any silt in the canal above, settling out in this wide area. We caught a complete padded anorak here, bound on with binder tape for good measure. The BW guys whisked us through Lock 65, said our good-byes and then we really were on our own. 
There were a lot of young (no more than 7 years old) kids on Henshaw Bridge (the old bridge before the M60 diversion) and even after a forced "hello" we still got showered with a LOT of small gravel and dirt. Sped on through deep M60 section and lost mini yobs at tunnel. The next bit of excitement was at Grimshaw Lane vertical lift bridge. When we did the canal in 2002, this was not yet finished and the road closed, so this was a NEW experience / bridge to do. It is a fairly busy road, with a bus route. Linda waited a while for a lull in the traffic, then did the bridge. just a one button up, one button down job. The bridge lifted enough for Earnest to get under, but did not cut out in the "open" position. Linda closed the bridge....but the barriers would not go up. Neil had of course crept on towards Kay Lane Lock No 64. Nothing happening with bridge, so Neil had to reverse back, temp moor Earnest, then go over barriers to assist Linda. Rather good traffic jam, with three busses and a lot of hooting. 
First we tried lifting the bridge as far as it would go again, then lowering it to see if barrier interlock could be persuaded to work. No luck so we tried this again............still the same. So then Neil went and jumped up and down on each corner, the last corner (near the control box) did the trick and the barriers went up! We lost about 35 minutes here, Neil phoned BW Warrington to tell them it was dodgy. 
Neil relieved Linda doing the rest of the days locking - the Slattocks Locks. It started raining here, quite heavy at times, but Neil decided it was too hot work with waterproof jacket on, so just got wet. We arrived at Slattocks Top at 17:50 and after a good chat with the narrowboat owning bloke that lives in the lock cottage, we moored up for the night just beyond the lock. If the lock house bloke is about, he does allow free use of his garden hose as a water point! 
So it was to the rather bland Hopwood Arms for a pint of off Archers (only hand pumped ale on was terribly "appley") and rather large prawn cocktail and steak. Having confirmed Littleborough and over the top booking with BW, we now found out this is not "anytime in the morning", but 08:30 at Littleborough Bottom Lock No 48............we shall have to leave at 05:00 the next morning!....probably the best time to do the last grot bit, round the backside of Rochdale.


Brownsfield Lock No 83. Rochdale Canal.


Waiting below Brownsfield Lock No 83. Duice Street. Manchester. Rochdale Canal.


Coalpit Lower Lock No 80. Miles Platting. Rochdale Canal.


Coalpit Higher lock No 78 and the "Blue" factory. Rochdale Canal.


Looking back at Coalpit Higher lock No 78. Rochdale Canal.


Anthony Lock No 77. Due to subsidence this lock had to be built up and the pound above is in this raised flume. Rochdale Canal.


Slater's Lowest Lock No 75. Rochdale Canal.


Slater's Lowest Lock No 76. Rochdale Canal.


Slater's Highest Lock No 75.  Rochdale Canal.


Tenacres Lowest No 74. Rochdale Canal.


Tenacres Higher Lock No 73. Rochdale Canal.


Shaws Lock No 71. Rochdale Canal.


Shaws Lock No 71. BW seem to have sorted out the by-weir problem that caused this pound to flood. Rochdale Canal.


Newton Heath Bridge. Newton Heath Lock No 69 beyond. Rochdale Canal.


Looking back from Newton Heath Bridge. Rochdale Canal.


Newton Heath Lock No 69. Rochdale Canal.


 Rochdale Canal.


 Rochdale Canal.


Poplar Street Bridge. Rochdale Canal.


The first of the mills was demolished due to subsidence. A new Morrison's supermarket has been built here in a sympathetic style. Tannersfield Middle Lock No 67. Rochdale Canal.


Tannersfield Highest Lock No 66. Rochdale Canal.


Back Lane Bridge. Failsworth. Rochdale Canal.


Failsworth supermarket site. Rochdale Canal.


Failsworth supermarket site. This wide new pound is completely silted up. Rochdale Canal.


The M60 diversion. The roof still bears the mini-yob gravel attack. Rochdale Canal.


Grimshaw Lane Lift Bridge. Rochdale Canal.


Grimshaw Lane Lift Bridge. Rochdale Canal.


Grimshaw Lane Lift Bridge. Rochdale Canal.


Walkmill Lock No 63. Rochdale Canal.


Walkmill Lock No 63. Rochdale Canal.


Scowcroft Lock No 61. Rochdale Canal.


Boarshaw Lock No 60. Rochdale Canal.


6th Laneside Lock No 59. Rochdale Canal.


Slattocks (Laneside) Flight. Rochdale Canal.


5th Laneside Lock No 58. Rochdale Canal.


5th Laneside Lock No 58. Rochdale Canal.


4th Laneside Lock No 57. Rochdale Canal.


2nd Laneside Lock No 55. Rochdale Canal.


Slattocks Top Lock / 1st Laneside Lock No 54. Rochdale Canal.

The Tour Continues...


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