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Tour 2002

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22 - Chadderton to Castlefield - Rochdale Canal.

Thursday 18th July 2002.

BW's plan was for us to meet them at Failsworth Top Lock 65 at 08:00. The other boat - called "The Boat" was keen to get off and be the first of our group down into Manchester, In fact Martin Clark informs me that "The Boat" was the first boat east to west when the Huddersfield Canal re-opened. We shoved off at 06:55, Earnest led, followed by "The Boat", with Frogmoore trailing. 
The first section involved the realigned bit built when the M60 cut through, consisting of  three box section bridges and narrow sections shoe horned in the cutting with the motorway. This was the first big landmark in the Rochdale restoration on the West side, won after a lot of hassle with the Dept. Of Transport. Although this has a tortuous route, we did not think it will present any problems to large broad beam craft. The locals seemed to have stolen most of the over pavioured towpath. The next bit along to Failsworth Top Top No 65 is back on the original alignment. It is a pleasant wooded section, the last of such before Manchester.
We arrived at Failsworth Top Lock No 65 at 07:20. It was a reasonable mooring depth wise above the lock, although the section before seemed to have only had a bit of spot dredging. The first of the serious BW crews arrived at around 08:00 and due to some confusion Frogmoore and "The Boat" were paired together. We had to wait for half an hour, due to some operational reason, believed to be with BW's concern about letting too much water down in an uncontrolled fashion, due to inadequate by-weirs lower down flooding out the towpath and properties.
Eventually at 08:50 we set off. The BW crew seemed to prefer us to just ride in the boat, but after a while we got bored and rebelled. Soon we had a couple of crew off helping them. This did not seem to hurry them up much and it was a fair dawdle for the rest of the "new" section of the Rochdale. 
Soon after Lock 65 comes the site of the Failsworth Co-Op supermarket built across the line of the canal. All but a small section of this has been demolished enabling the canal to be reconstructed, with a wide mooring area on it's old line. Just after this section we had to negotiate a fleet of cast adrift BW mud hoppers..................and the semi-submersible workman's toilet!
A couple of rebuilt bridges follows, then the Tannersfield Locks signify the long drag down into Manchester. Yet more interminably slow progress as we pause a couple of times as we caught up the crew working Frogmoore and "The Boat" down. Special care was taken dropping the water at Anthony Lock No 77. The drop of this has been extended due to  subsidence in the area. This was crudely done with concrete, as were a good few of the last lock restorations. We presume this was done for speed and money savings. There was still a disaster at Pinfold Lock No 70, the pathetic by-weir allowed the water let down to flow over a piece of waste ground. Soon a local shopkeeper came up to complain to some BW and Wrekin Construction guys.
Most of the 1960's swallowed section has only been partially removed. This "offline" nature reserve is a total farce, the reed bed rolls and marker posts had all been chucked in the cut by the local kids and we caught the after math of this round the prop. Fortunately Martin Clark was already an old hand at this bit of the Rochdale Canal and guided us through. For the most part the deep section was the towpath side.
Although Manchester schools were not yet out, this did not stop the hardened kids who are either truant or excluded. We met the first of them at Coalpit Higher Lock No 78. They seemed very streetwise. Being the start of the Miles Platting estate we had already adopted yob security mode, all front of boat locked up, cratch cover down and cameras to hand. With the passing police mountain bike and armed patrol squads (believed NOT to be for our benefit, but due to the imminent Commonwealth Games!) we had little trouble, just a lot of requests for a ride "Sorry mate, we not insured" and asking how much the boat cost "Sorry mate, dunno, we are just moving it for someone" were their demanding requests.  At one point, being single in the lock we purposely drifted to the other side, away from them, prompting one of the little urchins to jump across to the other side, via the roof of the boat. Soon they got bored and went away to start a small fire by a towpath bench. 
We found out that the local BW lock crews had been employed from the locale. They seemed to get more Roughty Toughty as we got nearer Manchester! One of them had a rather smart camera........a narrowboat spotter perhaps?............we think not, as the street kids seemed VERY camera shy!!!
Eventually we passed out through Brownsfield Lock No 83 at 13:20 and the BW crew waved goodbye. What a difference here, new deep moorings, with many boats all around the top of the "Rochdale Nine" Locks - this area seems to be now termed Piccadilly Basin. We waited a while to find out where Frogmoore was, but could not find them, so presumed they had gone on down the "Rochdale Nine" Locks. So we carried on down to Castlefield.
At Dale Street Lock No 84 there was a very pissed and very camp gay bloke, spouting on to anyone that passed - we were entering the shady Gay side of Manchester. No druggies lurking in the covered over area by Piccadilly Lock No 85. Uneventful trip down to Castlefield, where we moored up in our favourite spot of the Kenworthy Arm. Mike and Su Poole were about on their NB Cutworks, so we had a fair chat. This was their last Summer out before having their 57ft boat made full length. Eventually Frogmoore turned up, they had gone up to the vandalised waterpoint by Ancoats Lock No 1, of the Ashton Canal. They ended up getting at the Kenworthy Arm waterpoint. Seeing as we were splitting up on our passage down to Anderton, we repossessed crew member Peter Arlidge. Roger Hare left around that time, seeing as it was easy to get to station for his trip back to Scotland. That night the remaining crew, Neil, Peter A. Peter W and Martin Clark went out for a meal in Manchester's excellent Chinatown. The refurbished Ying Sang was chosen...............not cheap, but very good.


A 663T White Gate Bridge. Rochdale Canal.


Canal in narrow culvert beside M60 motorway. Rochdale Canal.


M60 Motorway Tunnel. Rochdale Canal.


Looking back at canal beside M60. Rochdale Canal.


M60 Tunnel. Rochdale Canal.


Henshaw Bridge. Rochdale Canal.


Henshaw Bridge. Rochdale Canal.


Looking back at M60. Rochdale Canal.


Last leafy bit before Manchester. Rochdale Canal.


Rochdale Canal.


Wrigley Head Bridge. Rochdale Canal.


Railway bridge just before Failsworth. Rochdale Canal.


Failsworth Top Lock No 65. Here the BW locky teams appear again. Rochdale Canal.


Failsworth Top Lock No 65. Rochdale Canal.


Failsworth Top Lock No 65. The three boats going down to Manchester wait for the BW locky teams. Rochdale Canal.


Failsworth Top Lock No 65. Rochdale Canal.


Looking back at the A62 bridge in Failsworth. Start of new wide section on site of Co-Op supermarket. Rochdale Canal.


New bridge in Failsworth supermarket site. Rochdale Canal.


Failsworth. Cast adrift mud hoppers..............and Porta loo! Rochdale Canal.


Back Lane Bridge. Failsworth. Rochdale Canal.


Back Lane Bridge. Failsworth. Rochdale Canal.


Site of old Haweswater Aqueduct crossing, now placed in a pipe below the canal. Failsworth. Rochdale Canal.


Tannersfield Highest Lock No 66. Rochdale Canal.


Tannersfield Highest Lock No 66. Rochdale Canal.


Tannersfield Highest Lock No 66. Rochdale Canal.


Tannersfield Middle Lock No 67. The New Poplar Street Bridge below. Rochdale Canal.


Poplar Street Bridge. Rochdale Canal.


Looking back at Tannersfield Middle Lock No 67. Unfortunately the Marlborough Mill is being pulled down due to structural problems. Rochdale Canal.


Tannersfield Lowest Lock No 68. Rochdale Canal.


New high level footbridge. Note Heron standing on the swallowed shelves. Newton Heath. Rochdale Canal.


Unfazed Heron. Rochdale Canal.


Newton Heath. Rochdale Canal.


Newton Heath Lock No 69. Newton Heath. Rochdale Canal.


Newton Heath Lock No 69. Newton Heath. Rochdale Canal.


Leaving Newton Heath Lock No 69. Newton Heath. Rochdale Canal.


Looking back at Newton Heath Bridge. Rochdale Canal.


Looking back at the new high level Newton Heath Footbridge. Rochdale Canal.


Pinfold Lock No 70. Newton Heath. Rochdale Canal.


Pinfold Lock No 70. Newton Heath. Rochdale Canal.


Shaws Lock No 71. Here the by weir is unable to take away a lock full of water. Newton Heath. Rochdale Canal.


Looking back at Pinfold Lock No 70. Newton Heath. Rochdale Canal.


Shaws Lock No 71. The locals complain about the flooding. Newton Heath. Rochdale Canal.


Shaws Lock No 71. Newton Heath. Rochdale Canal.

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Looking back at Scotsman's Lock No 72. Newton Heath. Rochdale Canal.

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Looking back at Scotsman's Lock No 72. Newton Heath. Rochdale Canal.

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Looking down to Tenacres Highest Lock No 73. Newton Heath. Rochdale Canal.

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Looking back at Scotsman's Lock No 72. Newton Heath. Rochdale Canal.

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Tenacres Highest Lock No 73. Newton Heath. Rochdale Canal.


Tenacres Highest Lock No 73. Newton Heath. Rochdale Canal.


Tenacres Lock No 74. Newton Heath. Rochdale Canal.


Looking back from Tenacres Lock No 74. Newton Heath. Rochdale Canal.


Looking back at Tenacres Lock No 74. Newton Heath. Rochdale Canal.


Looking down at Slaters Highest Lock No 75. Newton Heath. Rochdale Canal.


Looking up from Slaters Highest Lock No 75. Rochdale Canal.


Slaters Highest Lock No 75. Rochdale Canal.


Slaters Lowest Lock No 76. Rochdale Canal.


Looking back at Slaters Highest Lock No 75. Rochdale Canal.


Looking down to Anthony Lock No 77. Rochdale Canal.


Slaters Lowest Lock No 76. Rochdale Canal.


The section above Anthony Lock No 77 has considerable subsidence and had to be built up. Rochdale Canal.


Anthony Lock No 77. This had its walls extended to compensate for the subsidence. Manchester looms in the distance. Rochdale Canal.


Anthony Lock No 77. Looking back up at the newly embanked section. Rochdale Canal.


Anthony Lock No 77. Rochdale Canal.


Anthony Lock No 77. Rochdale Canal.


Anthony Lock No 77 and Hulme Hall Lane Bridge. Rochdale Canal.


Looking down to Coalpit Higher Lock No 78. Miles Platting. Rochdale Canal.


Coalpit Higher Lock No 78. Miles Platting. Rochdale Canal.


Looking back at Anthony Lock No 77. Rochdale Canal.


Coalpit Higher Lock No 78. Miles Platting. Rochdale Canal.


The mounted branch of the local police. Coalpit Higher Lock No 78. Miles Platting. Rochdale Canal.


The armed response squad join up with the mounted branch............but fail to notice that a bicycle saddle is being stolen!!!???..............Rochdale Canal.


Looking back at Coalpit Higher Lock No 78. Miles Platting. Rochdale Canal.


Peter Wright and Roger Hare discuss the half removed 1960's shallowing. Rochdale Canal.


Coalpit Middle Lock No 79. Miles Platting. Rochdale Canal.


Coalpit Middle Lock No 79. Miles Platting. Rochdale Canal.


Coalpit Lower Lock No 80 and The Navigation pub. Rochdale Canal.


Coalpit Lower Lock No 80. Rochdale Canal.


Butter Lane Lock No 81. Rochdale Canal.


Looking back at Coalpit Lower Lock No 80. Rochdale Canal.


Looking back at Butter Lane Lock No 81 and Butler Lane Bridge. Rochdale Canal.


Butler St. Bridge. Ancoats. Rochdale Canal.


Looking back at Butler Street Bridge. Rochdale Canal.


Union Street Bridge. Ancoats. Rochdale Canal.


Ancoats. Rochdale Canal.


Union Street Bridge. Ancoats. Rochdale Canal.


Kitty Foot Bridge in the distance. Ancoats. Rochdale Canal.


Ancoats. Rochdale Canal.


Ancoats Lane Lock No 82. Rochdale Canal.


Ancoats Lane Lock No 82. Rochdale Canal.


Ancoats Lane Lock No 82. Rochdale Canal.


Ancoats Lane Lock No 82. Rochdale Canal.


Looking down to Brownsfield Lock No 83. Rochdale Canal.


Brownsfield Lock No 83. Rochdale Canal.


Looking back at Brownsfield Lock No 83. Rochdale Canal.


Duice Street Junction, now known as Piccadilly Basin. Rochdale Canal.


Merchants Wharf. Ancoats. Rochdale Canal.


Duice Street Junction. Rochdale Canal.


Dale Street Lock No 84. Now on the old "Rochdale Nine" in Manchester. Rochdale Canal.


Looking down to Piccadilly Lock No 85. Rochdale Canal.


Looking back at Dale Street Lock No 84. Rochdale Canal.


Piccadilly Lock No 85. Rochdale Canal.


Looking back at Dale Street Lock No 84. Rochdale Canal.


Chorlton Street Lock No 86. Rochdale Canal.


Chorlton Street Lock No 86. Rochdale Canal.


Chorlton Street Lock No 86. Rochdale Canal.


Princess Street Lock No 87. Rochdale Canal.


Princess Street Lock No 87. Steps to street. Rochdale Canal.


Princess Street Lock No 87. Rochdale Canal.


Rochdale Canal.


Looking back at Princess Street Lock No 87. Rochdale Canal.


Princess Street Lock No 87. Rochdale Canal.


The controversial low footbridge and barge above Princess Street Lock No 87. Rochdale Canal.


Princess Street Lock No 87. Rochdale Canal.


Looking back at Princess Street Lock No 87. Rochdale Canal.


Oxford Street Lock No 88. Rochdale Canal.


Rochdale Canal.


Oxford Street Lock No 88. The old headless lamp has been here for years. Rochdale Canal.


Oxford Street Lock No 88. Rochdale Canal.


Oxford Street Lock No 88. Rochdale Canal.


Below Oxford Street Lock No 88. Rochdale Canal.


Looking back at Oxford Street and Oxford Street Lock No 88. Rochdale Canal.


Bridgewater Hall and basin. Rochdale Canal.


Tib Lock No 89.  Rochdale Canal.


Tib Lock No 89.  Rochdale Canal.


Albion Mills Lock No 90. Rochdale Canal.


Looking above Albion Mills Lock No 90. Rochdale Canal.


Looking down at  Deansgate Tunnel Lock No 91. Rochdale Canal.


Looking back at Albion Mills Lock No 90. Rochdale Canal.


Deansgate Tunnel Lock No 91. Rochdale Canal.


Deansgate Tunnel Lock No 91. Rochdale Canal.


Deansgate Tunnel and Deansgate Tunnel Lock No 91. Rochdale Canal.


Rochdale Canal.


Looking down at Dukes Lock No 92. Rochdale Canal.


Looking back at Deansgate Tunnel Lock No 91. Rochdale Canal.


Dukes Lock No 92 - the last lock on the western side. Rochdale Canal.


Dukes 92 pub beside Dukes Lock No 92. Rochdale Canal.


Dukes Lock No 92. New bottom gates and opening mechanism. Rochdale Canal.


Looking back at Dukes Lock No 92 and Castle Street Bridge No 101. Bridgewater Canal below. Rochdale Canal.

The Tour Continues...


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