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The Tuesday Night Club on Tour
16 - Adlington to Duice Street, via Whaley Bridge and Stalybridge. Macclesfield Canal, Upper Peak Forest Canal, Lower Peak Forest Canal, Ashton Canal.
Saturday 29th May 2004
Neil and Linda left home at 07:30 with daughter Wendy in tow, to be dropped off at Hendon Met Police Academy thingy for a day square bashing and such like (Wendy is one of these new Police cadets.)
We decided to get on M1 and stay on it, seeing as it was a train strike day and
the motor show was on in Brum. We took the scenic A52 / A515 route over the Peak District, which was a misty / rainy washout. After being delayed by the
aftermath of car carnage in Stalybridge, we picked up Martin Clark, then headed straight for Lyme View Marina.
Amazingly we shoved off at 13:15, after just missing the end of the rain. Martin disappeared in Linda's Polo, to return for crew swap after Linda's week. There was not much traffic on the Macclesfield Canal, got to Marple Junction at 15:00 and straight up the Upper Peak Forest Canal. At Furness Vale Marina we clocked Steve Haywood's slightly listing NB Just-Ice, laid up awaiting Steve's imminent return.
At Bugsworth Basin Junction Neil jumped ship and legged it up to the by-pass bridge. Not much hope here, the stop planks were still in with a 4 inch drop to the basin side. Linda had carried on and Neil managed to get back on during the wind in the packed basin. Neil then booked table for 2 in The Navigation pub in Bugsworth Basin. At 18:00 we were back at the arm and had reversed back up the basin approach canal, to moor up opposite the offside liveaboards.
The meal at Navigation was booked for 19:00. Good food, but pudding not what Linda ordered and we were undercharged by a round of drinks. Timmy Taylor's Landlord on form, but not the Pedigree. We got back to the boat early at 20:50 and at Linda's insistence we carried on, back down the Upper Peak Forest, coming to rest after Furness Vale Marina on the popular and deep piled moorings.
Sunday 30th May 2004
Nice quiet night in Furness Vale, no A6 noise that plagues the canal on the Whaley Bridge Arm. Some thing I forgot to mention yesterday was the amusing event that
occurred as we were trying to leave for the pub. Neil was onboard and Linda was doing an evening dog walk, when this loony staggered along the towpath. In fact he was not a loony, just absolutely smashed out of his mind on something or other. He first started pulling up weeds then placing them on Earnest's roof..........Neil just hid. Then he turned his attentions to
Linda who was trying to come back from the dog walk, but thought it better to pretend that she was not with the boat. After some
totally ridiculous talk and enquiring if Linda had any "herbal cigarettes" (well that was what she thought he wanted), he did then actually depart down the towpath towards Bugsworth Basins.
Linda enquired about the Looney with one of the liveaboard blokes, he said he was well known and came from Chinley. In case he returned we quickly departed the boat, hoping to just leg it if cornered by said bloke again. But no, there he was swimming amongst all the stagnant crap, by the by-pass bridge, his clothes just strewn on the towpath. He had nothing else with him, but Linda was relived to find that he was still wearing his black boxer shorts. After a quick inane conversation about how refreshing the canal was we legged it to the Navigation. On the way back all that was left was a pair of black boxer shorts floating in the cut.
I also forgot to mention about the Bugsworth Basin situation. The stop planks in the by-pass bridge had about 4 inches drop, then the stop planks each end of the stop narrows before the basins gave around another 10 inches drop. Water was still pouring in so leaks / settling down of puddling still a way to go. Any way I digress - this morning we set off in brilliant sunshine at 07:50. Uninterrupted run to Marple Junction, arriving at 09:25. Then followed a 30 minute wait to get into the top lock as a solo boater (mate had not yet turned up) then "Top Lock Training" boat followed with a bunch of guys having their first boating experience. After 6 locks the Boat handling boat could see they were rather holding the assumed slow couple on Earnest, so let us pass.
We soon caught up with solo boat, but his mate had just arrived, so we were not really held up any more. At the bottom at 12:15, then followed survey of the "terrible" Lower Peak Forest canal......other than it was not that terrible anymore, what with Bob Holmes thrashing up there and Steve Haywood flattening the trolleys with NB Justice, then we did not have a bad time. Average speed at 1400 rpm was 2.7 to 3.1 MPH. The only problems was a "something" fairly substantial in the canal about 100ft before Bridge 14, then general crap in bridge holes 13, 7, 6, 4, lift bridge 1. Possibly the most banging and heaving was when we passed Adamson Wharf on tickover.
Dukinfield Junction at 14:55, then up the Huddersfield Narrow to Stalybridge for the night. No problems on the way up, rather interesting wind in the funny shaped winding point above Lock 7W, then back down to Tesco Visitor Moorings (17:05), in company with Ed's trip boat Astra and a "left" looking boat. Stalybridge Wetherspoon's that night, with Martin Clark, Ed, and Odette Ed's old Uni friend.
Monday 31st May 2004
We left Stalybridge at 06:55. Rather noisy night due to fair being set up for the Bank Holiday Stalybridge Canalfest, featuring duck racing between locks 7W and 6W. Lovely sunny day, just right for yob problems and swimming in the Ashton Locks......... 08:40 at Dukinfield Junction, straight on down the Ashton. Just nothing about, few fishermen and walkers.
Just after Guide Bridge we soon bore down upon a hapless Peak Forest hire boat that was indulging in some novice steering lessons. They were soon overtaken in the wide after the Motorway Bridge. After being overtaken the Peak Forest boat perked up a bit and shadowed us to Fairfield Junction (09:20) Here we established that they were going all the way down the Ashton, so we left the locks off the paddle gear.
NO swimmers or any yobs on the Ashton, just a lot of people enjoying their canal. The only black spot was open injecting of substances above Ancoats Locks on the Ashton. One bloke wandered off down the towpath with his syringe still in his hand. A couple of boats coming up the Ashton, but no else caught up with. Neil took some pictures of the burnt out mill remains above Ancoats Locks.
13:00 saw us at Duice Street Junction, we managed to fit on the wibbly wobbly plastic "lock in" moorings to the left hand side of Dale Street Lock No 84 (determined kids could get through the demolished mill site adjacent to these moorings), in company with BW tug and NB Anonymous, the boat that started off solo down Marple yesterday. Linda went for a wander up the Rochdale. At Lock 83 there were three blokes sitting on the benches. one had "Rent Boy for hire" chalked on the flagstone in front of him. Linda said there were at least six paving stones with old adverts for Rent Boys, with phone numbers. All this amongst a lot of ordinary people, a lot with kids, just trying to enjoy the canal. The Ying Sang Chinese restaurant in Chinatown again for tonight's meal!
Earnest finds an arm to explore above Lock1W of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.
The burnt out mill above Ancoats Locks at the end of the Ashton Canal.
The burnt out mill above Ancoats Locks at the end of the Ashton Canal.
The Tour Continues...
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