Tuesday 20 August 2019

New Islington

Today's Canals - Bridgewater, Rochdale

We had moored overnight at Stretford Marina, having arrived after hey had closed for the day. We also knew that they would not officially open until 10 but there was the promise of perhaps an earlier start.

So we were able to have a slow start and took the opportunity to re-fill the water tank again. The woman who runs the marina arrived about 9.30 and we were able to begin our servicing. Whilst Mike emptied the elsan, Andrew disposed of the rubbish and showed where the diesel fuel cap was. All was going well until the lockable fuel cap was accidentally knocked off the boat and into the water. Despite extensive efforts with magnet and fishing nets, no-one was able to locate it so we had to depart with a temporary fix and left details to be contacted when they have located a proper replacement.

Even with all this kerfuffle we were away at 10, rather earlier than we had expected. The remainder of the Bridgewater into Castlefield was familiar as we came this way a month ago. However, this time we particularly noted the growing fashion for very large electronic displays for advertising on the elevations of several large buildings.

Just three quarters of an hour later we had reached the bottom lock in the infamous Rochdale Nine. As we waited for the lock to empty, we could see some of the numerous new buildings that are going up all around the place. At least these are not quite plain rectangular block shapes.

As we filled the first lock, two CaRT staff arrived to do some greasing on the mechanisms, one of them was the person who sorted out the water problems when we came through in July.

One pound had numerous footbridges crossing from the road into the high rise buildings opposite.

If you look carefully at the very tall building straight down fro this lock you will see yet another large display panel - this one extending over ten storeys!

As with last time, we made good progress up the first five locks although this time we were the only boat going up - several passed us on the way down. One of those boats had a little difficulty at the lock which gave all the trouble last time. The bottom gates and cill leak very considerably and making a level at the top is not easy. However,. when it came for us to exit, with Andrew and Christine on the balance beam - and a little nudge from the boat - we managed to open without any meaningful delay.

We finally arrived at Ducie Street, just above the top of the flight and moored for lunch at 1 o'clock. Last time,  coincidentally starting at the bottom at almost the same time, we reached the top just a few minutes before 4 o'clock!

After a good lunch break we opted to make use of information from one of the boats going down that the visitor moorings at New Islington were now available after a few months closed whilst work was underway. This meant going up a further couple of locks.

Juts to illustrate the pace of development, our photo two years back of Brownsfield Lock 83, showed that the space now occupied by the large brick building was just empty ground.

Just before the entrance to New Islington Marina we passed several boats moored to the towpath. We suspect that the first, a large box shaped house boat, is one that has had to leave the marina recently after its permit to moor there was revoked.

We turned into the marina and saw that the closure notices promised that the moorings would re-open 'Summer 2019'. Despite the recent frequent rain, we decided that, unless anyone objected, we would deem it was now summer and tied up almost where we did on 2017. The work on the there adjoining buildings (which sort of woke us up early) is now complete and, despite a steady stream of passing pedestrians, is now pleasant and quiet.

Andrew went for a walk across to the Arndale Shopping Centre but failed to find a suitable mat - which we still seek, although we have seen a suitable on on Amazon which might have to be the solution. He did pick up a paper which Morrisons failed to supply at Ducie Street.

Fortified with a brief nap, Christine decided to walk back down to Go Outdoors and M & S. At one she bought a new gilet and at the other a light cardigan to go with another purchase a few weeks ago.

One of the areas in the marina that are being worked on is where we noted problems with water coming up from the canal as the result of a design flaw. Perhaps they are now rectifying that but the marina caretaker we chatted to in 2017 is no longer in place. Perhaps he will be returned when the visitor moorings are officially re-opened!

5.0 Miles - 11 Locks

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