Starting at 6:45 yesterday we managed getting up the eighteen locks of the Ashton Canal out of Manchester in a very good time, mainly as they were virtually all empty when we got to each one.
There are some startling building designs dominating this recently redeveloped area of Manchester.
Half way up the flight there’s a lovely canal side cottage which, last time we passed this way, was in poor repair but has since been given a new lease of life. In the background is Manchester City Football Club’s stadium.
Another reason why we achieved a good time up the lock flight – Doug got his bike out.
This is Doug holding up traffic to the Sunday morning football practice in the field next to the canal.
After turning onto the Peak Forest Canal at Portland Basin we found the canal very shallow and in desperate need of dredging (but it probably won’t get it). The journey was very slow due to the depth of water and we were scraping the bottom regularly. However, we were soon into really great scenery. The north portal of the Hyde Bank Tunnel is very attractive.
Straight after the tunnel is the equally dramatic Marple Aqueduct with the train viaduct next to it. Very reminiscent of Chirk on the Llangollen.
The start of the Marple flight of 16 locks is beautiful to say the least………
…….. and a lot of the locks are fur lined for comfort!
Getting to the top of this pretty flight, which took us 2 1/2 hours, we rose a total of some 370 feet during the journey and in the whole trip we only passed one boat on the move. The weather was very autumnal and a bit of a shock after the wonderful sunshine we had in Manchester over the last couple of weeks.
We moored up at Marple, tired but satisfied, but looking forward to meeting up with Olly and his narrow boat ‘Queen Maeve’. He arrived even before we’d finished tying the ropes and, after some refreshment aboard ‘Chance’ we went to the Ring O’Bells in the town for a meal together.
It was a good night out, even though we were all quite tired. Olly’s only on his knees due to height of the cash machine honest!
Back on board ‘Chance’ for a nightcap – one or two Olly?
It was a great journey we’d had, with two big lock flights behind us, and it was good to see Olly again after a whole day!