Our journey up the first nine locks on the Rochdale Canal started from Castlefield Basin today at 1 o’ clock after taking on much needed water.
The first lock of the flight has an almost rural feel to it as ‘Chance’ waits patiently for it to empty.
‘Rural’ quickly changes to ‘Industrial’ after the first lock (which took an absolute age to fill). The huge spans of the iron railway bridges over the canal look stunning now they have been given new liveries – a glorious architectural feast of iron, brick and stone.
Although we’ve passed this way many times before, it’s still an awesome feeling to travel through these canyons of tall brick warehouses and to pass right underneath these lovely buildings. The locks, however, are very heavy to operate with winches needed to open a few of the gates.
After an hour we were almost half way up when we heard from friends Mark and Olly that they were on their way to help us. We’d reached the start of Canal Street by this time so we stopped in the lock, had a glass of wine and waited for them!
We were soon on our way again after Mark and Olly’s arrival. Supplied by drinks and nibbles they became willing helpers, although James and Mark opted for the easy ride.
Olly is no stranger to lock operation so he and Doug soon formed an admirable team to tackle the rest of this heavy flight of locks.
Having got the ninth, and final, lock of the day under our belts we could relax for the final 500 yards to the moorings at Piccadilly Village. Olly, Mark and James look pleased with themselves after a two and half hour journey up the flight.
Safely, and snugly ensconced, on the moorings in Piccadilly Village we enjoyed more drinks and nibbles in the sunshine before retiring into ‘Chance’ for cheese and biscuits,cake and coffee.
Thanks so much Mark and Olly for going beyond the call of duty to help us, as we know today was a bit busy for you both.
‘Chance’ looks very comfortable in these very pleasant moorings. This evening we’re popping out to celebrate on our last night in Manchester but, firstly, we must extend our thanks to everyone who’ve sent messages to James, and for our anniversary, today.
Manchester has been another brilliant and vibrant experience for us again this year and, although sad to be leaving, we’re looking forward to moving on and doing a bit of canal cruising.