Monday, 21 August 2017

Trafford Park

Today's Canals - Rochdale, Bridgewater

Although generally overcast, the day was pleasant enough, especially for the schedule that lay ahead of us for this morning. First, however, we took the boat across to the service point and set ourselves up in case we do not find any suitable points - the Bridgewater can sometime be a bit short. We also paid our dues for the extra, extra day that we stayed at the marina.

Then, around 9:30, we set off to complete the two locks to the Piccadilly Basin, the junction with the Ashton Canal, and then the (in)famous Rochdale Nine.

The first lock is at the road intersection where we have passed many times over the last five days on our way into and out of the city centre.

At the next lock we began to encounter the well-known problem with this section: water flowing over the top gates. Many of the locks do not have by-washes (or at least ones that work) and so the water from one lockful has to go through the next lock and so on. This means that even if the lock looks full it is still often necessary to open both top paddles to enable the gates to be opened.

We then arrived at Piccadilly Basin - whilst Mike waited for Christine to come down and into the first of the Rochdale Nine, he went to take a photo of the old entrance gate - which now leads to a demolition site currently used temporarily as a car park.

The next couple of pounds are underneath modern buildings and had become quite a disreputable area which disturbed many boaters. There were also several unfortunate accidents with people having had too much to drink and getting into difficulties. As a result, gates have been installed at either end which are locked between 10pm and 7am. Certainly, we found the whole flight trouble-free which was not the case before.

Another couple of locks have no towpath access and signs remind boats to make sure that all of their crew are on board before setting off from the previous lock! At this one a floating pontoon is in place - but arrival is not helped by a large work boat moored just above the lock.

Canal Street is a famous night-time area with pubs, bars and clubs from one end to another. Again, for the protection of those too fond of imbibing, class screens have been installed (which do fit in quite well)

The lock dives immediately under the adjacent building with no gap at all.

One pound opened up with more room alongside before the taller buildings started. The Beetham Tower made its first appearance although it will be even closer by the time we have reached Castlefield.

Oh, look - an MP must live here (old joke, we know, but it still lives one. . . )

The locks down this flight all have these rather unusual metal sections - replacing the usual raised bricks - to give greater purchase when opening or closing the gates. The idea is worth copying elsewhere.

We had several families help us this morning. Amazing how pleased the parents are to see their children helping hold a rope, push a gate or even winding a paddle. Well worth doing, just to see the pleasure that folk get from it. Even the grown ups join in - see the lady in the background  holding a rope: she took over from her small child who transferred allegiance to gate pushing and she took the role very seriously.

And finally the last of the 92 locks on this canal!

The lock keeper's house is impressive but there is also a rather unusual bollard on one side of the lock.

Immediately after completing the Rochdale we found a place to tie up for our lunch. Whilst we were there the new WAXI came by. We saw kit several times during the afternoon and only on one occasion was it carrying actual passengers. Hope that business improves.

No more locks for some distance! Well, Pomona Lock did pass us gto lone side but not for us. It gives access to and from the Ship Canal. Complex arrangements have to be made to go that way!

We passed underneath the elevated Metrolink tram line that we used to get to and from Salford Quays with Jess a few days ago.

Just to show we know what it is, we passed the Manchester United ground - a photo is obligatory. In any case, it says on the side what it is!

At Waters Meeting junction we turned right on the line towards Wigan. Shortly after we passed the Kelloggs factory where it makes its world famous medicinal product. At least that was how it was first marketed by a sanitarium doctor on a moral crusade. See here for just one of many places that recount the original story - strangely about the only web site that does not mention it is Kelloggs own.

At one time the factory had its own canal arm.

A little later we moored up at the entrance to the huge Trafford Park retail centre. Christine went to visit first and was unsuccessful in her search for replacement shower gel as Boots were out of stock. Mike went later and took some photos. He also called at a Samsung shop - it invited users to come in for technical support and he wanted to solve a small technical issue. It took a little while but the very pleasant young man took a lot of trouble, most helpfully, to resolve it.

The entrance looks like a temple and the decor inside continues that theme - at least a Greek or Roman temple complete with hundreds of statues - at least 90% of them of naked females, Sadly all were not real!

The Great Hall is constructed to resemble the deck of a liner - perhaps even the Titanic. In fact it is a large eating area.

Mike also spotted a shop that sold pre-owned as well as new watches. Just in case you cannot read it, even the pre-owned Rolex is £6500!

Through the windows of the bridge between the original and the new parts of the shopping centre we could see construction works. A new Metrolink line is being built from the existing Pomona station to Trafford Park. It is expected to take four years to complete.

5.9 Miles - 11 Locks

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