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Canal Restoration 


The Rochdale Restoration Pages

1997 Neil cycles from Littleborough to Smithy Bridge

1997 Neil walks from Duice Street to Miles Platting

1999 Neil cycles from Littleborough to Kirkholt

1999 Neil walks from Duice Street to Middleton Junction

2000 February. Neil walks sections between Chadderton and Castleton

1999 / 2000 The complete tour along the un-opened section of the Rochdale Canal.

The above pages detail in captioned images Neil's various traverses of un-navigable sections of the Rochdale Canal. 

The first page has images from when we first "did" the Rochdale Canal in July 1997. The section from the summit down to Littleborough is restored and we navigated it in "Beatty" in July 1997 (see Tour 97 pages ), during that time it was officially closed, but we managed to bribe officialdom with the normal T.N.C. welcome pack of some lager!  

The next page has images taken from the same Tour1997 holiday after the family had taken "Beatty" round to Manchester via the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Neil and Alan Marsden walked (and clambered) their way from Castlefields to Miles Platting.

The next page has images taken from when Neil cycled down from the Summit as far down as the other side of Rochdale Canal, during the aborted part of the second assault on the Rochdale Canal in "Earnest". Unfortunately the bribery offered in 1997 does not work but at the moment, (July1999)
 and Malcolm the Tuel Lane Locky was positively against it saying that we would get stuck (he should try doing the Kyme Eau or B.C.N. Challenge!) Due to this excess of officialdom and "red tape" we did not down this section in July 1999.  A load of rubbish was given as the reason we could not go down. The main one was lack of water!, the summit pound was flowing over the top gates and ALL the pounds of the Littleborough Flight were full up. We had a fairly tight schedule, but as we were starting back over the summit, Neil thought he would have some fun with the "officialdom". After numerous mobile phone calls we shot down the lack of water argument, as we were actually there! It was surmised that the real reason was due to the uncertain political situation at the moment, as it was only a month away from the "B.W. take over". Oldham M.B.C. had got totally pissed of with their section, had an argument over funding the Rochdale Canal Trust and given the keys back to the owners, the Rochdale Canal Company in Manchester. The council boundary is Warland Gate Swing Bridge, one lock down the Yorkshire side, so the summit pound was back in the hands of the Rochdale Canal Company. Having spoken with a Rochdale Canal Trust employee he confirmed this and said that we were lucky to even get over the summit as a paddle on one of the summit locks had blown out. The Rochdale Canal Company had just bodged it up with some plastic sheet! This employee said that they had only just regained control of the summit and he had personally repaired the offending paddle. Next followed the "who owns the padlocks incident". There was only one padlock stopping us using the lock, that was a paddle lock, holding up one of the bottom paddles, making it impossible to fill the lock. Apparently there was also meant to be a chain round the top gates. Neil then got into a discussion with the Rochdale Canal Company in Manchester and the Rochdale Canal Trust in Callis Mill. Both denied having a padlock on the lock, but as there was ONE left on it, one of them must be responsible! Eventually The Rochdale Canal Company owned up to using paddle lock type padlocks. Neil then managed to get the Rochdale Canal Company to agree to send a bloke out to remove their lower gate paddle lock and let us down, we were to keep the key, let ourselves through on the way back and leave the key with the Rochdale Canal Company employee who manages the reservoir and lives in the Lancashire side West Summit Lock No 37 lock cottage. This involved so many phone calls that we were already down two locks the other side. Reluctantly Neil gave up, thanked the Rochdale Canal Company who are obviously not as awkward as we first thought and we carried on back. Neil expects that when good old B.W. are in control it will be impossible to go over the top until the whole canal is finished in December 2001 (They have certainly got to get their finger out!). It is IMPOSSIBLE to overcome their bureaucracy, witness the ridiculous situation of them sulking through not getting the big Lottery handout for restoring the Montgomery Canal and not letting anyone down the Aston Locks. Neil hopes that any one reading this that intends to go "over the top" should give it there best go, the worst lock we found in 1997 was the West Summit Lock No 37. We think that they kept this in a state to deter people!   

The next page contains images from when Neil walked from Castlefields to Middleton Junction. He had thought of going on pushbike, but experience in 1979, 1997 and still confirmed in1999, showed that some sections of tow path and access to locks were officially barred involving clambering over fences. Rather stupidly Neil forgot to take any money with him for a return to Manchester involving the excellent Trans Pennine rail service. He arrived back totally knackered!

The next page is from when we stopped off at a few locations on the way up to the Lake District in February 2000. Neil wished he had a decent Rochdale Canal map, for he has still missed locks No's 61 - 63!

The final page is a compilation of all walks, giving a complete tour of the whole un-opened section of the Rochdale Canal. Believed to be up to date (February 2000). Warning, it is a large page even by our standards!

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