Friday 20 September 2013

The Rochdale 9 are something else

Our overnight location was definitely gentrified.

Coming out of the basin and down the rest of Piccadilly village hardly prepares you for what's to come.

Under the office block…

round the corner…

and you're faced by a wide lock with yet another arrangement of gates, paddles, locking and winding mechanisms, and ways of getting (or not getting) from one side to the other.

The first lock takes you down, down underground between the concrete pillars supporting the tower block above…

where someone has provided pictures in case you're bored.

Actually, no chance of that in this eerie place.

The lock gates were overflowing, to the point where we wondered whether we could ever empty the lock enough to be able to open the bottom gates. It was also our first experience of windlass-operated gates, where you crank a creaking chain which hauls a gate open or shut.

Eventually you emerge into some of the less picturesque parts of the city…

with occasional glimpses of something grander along an alleyway.

You pass more evidence of what the noble citizens of Manchester have decided to contribute to the canals…

and finally are greeted with signs of more legitimate activity and habitation,

… including a number of these duck-houses!

And so, at last, it was round the corner to moor up in one of the mini-branches at the renovated Castlefields complex.

It's been quite a day – just as challenging as the Ashton locks yesterday, but in a different way. Have we enjoyed it? It's good to face and overcome a challenge, but the enjoyment is completely different to that of finding our way to Bugsworth Basin. At the moment, after a nice meal in the Castlefields Hotel, we're not sure how anxious we'll be to repeat the experience. Still, here we are in the middle of Manchester, where we plan to stay for a day to see some of the sights.


  1. Having done the 9 just over a week ago (you're following us around!) I thought it was much better than when we did them in 2009, when so many things didn't work that the whole flight seemed just one more failure away from becoming impassable. However, you've now got many lock free miles ahead of you -- and I'd rather be doing locks any day!

  2. I hate those top two locks - the nearest things to Hell on Earth I have ever encountered. As depressing and soul destroying a place as exists, in my opinion.

  3. Ah! Two of my experienced experts not quite in agreement! I really look forward to meeting you both one day! Adam, I think we need to add a verse to Ecclesiastes 3 – a time to be doing locks and a time to refrain from doing locks!