Thursday 19 September 2013

Down the Ashton

18 locks in one go, and don't stop on the way – that was the general advice for coming down the Ashton canal into Manchester, though some had been very reassuring that this canal is (for the better) not what it was. So off we set, and here we are tonight, in Piccadilly village.

But straightforward it was not. Coming down behind a hirer, meeting only one boat on the way up, so having to fill all the locks before we could come down them – that's par for the course. But this was not par…

which came out of here…

which, for those who don't recognise it, is where the propellor lives.

It happened about half way down the flight, as I was gently manoeuvring to be ready to get into a lock once my best beloved had opened the top gate. Suddenly, there were horrible noises from down below. I put the gear into neutral, and then tried again. But whether forward or reverse, trying to engage the gear threatened to stall the engine. So we poled and pulled Erin Mae into the bank, turned off the engine, and went exploring down the weed hatch.

Still not sure what it was, even though we now have it all bagged up – it completely fills a New Forest District Council re-cycling bag. We thought at first it was a tent – strong black woven plastic outer, and a white, zipped inner. But "tent" didn't quite match the black outer. Be that as it may, it took about half an hour to cut it off the propellor – I'm just thankful I could do it all from the top, and didn't have to get into the canal.

There were other items of interest on our adventure today:

A dead rat on a lock gate.

An Asda trolley that didn't make it into the canal.

A buddleia that did – and was removed with our boathook.

 The Manchester Velopark: "home of British cycling".

The Etihad stadium – home of Manchester City.

We also met two boys who should probably have been in school, and may have been from the traveller community. We enjoyed chatting with them, and they were fascinated by Erin Mae.

And we encountered our first "handcuff" anti-vandal devices, that you have to unlock before you can work the paddles. The paddles were mostly hydraulic, which meant they were easy enough to turn, but they took 20 turns or more to get the paddle up or down.

One more day's adventure  – glad to be sitting quietly in the warm at the end of it.

1 comment:

  1. That brings back memories. We went the other direction. our tally 1) balaclava 1) jacket 1 inner tube (car sized) 1 neoprene wet suit (too small) 1) track suit bottom, 2) plastic coal sacks 1) disposable nappy and a partridge in a pear tree.

    Such wonderful memories, it was nice to be able to leave it all in our wake.