Thursday, 2 July 2009

It’s in the small print.

18 Locks, 6 Miles, 2 Swing bridges. Now moored at Piccadilly Village.

It was an early start today to get through the 18 locks between Dukinfield Junction (Portland basin) and Manchester. This area has got a reputation of being a trouble spot. These locks all have anti vandal locks fitted so it takes longer at each lock. Arriving at the Fairfield lock 18 we pulled onto the water point to fill up before heading off down the locks.

Ashton Canal 026

New marina at the top of the Fairfield Locks, Ashton Canal. A hotel complex is due to be built here.

What we actually found was that it was only lock 18 that had the anti vandal lock applied, at the rest of the locks we found that the anti vandal locks had not been applied leaving the whole system susceptible to vandalism. What’s the point of BW fitting these devices to help boaters if they are not going to use them. Who’s is going to be the first person to complain to BW when they find an empty pound?  We started to do up the Anti Vandal locks as we left each lock but after the first 4 locks we found that a convoy of 3 other boats were following us so we just left the rest.

Ashton Canal 035

Alongside the Ashton Canal is the City of Manchester Stadium site of the Commonwealth Games now home to Manchester City football club.

After completing the 18 locks it was time to look for a mooring. There are lots of little arms running off the side of the canal but how safe they are is debatable. As we approached the Store Street aqueduct we passed the Piccadilly Village which has its own little basin but this was full. Alongside this complex there are mooring rings on the non tow path side and a BW sign stating “Private Moorings” with a lot of small writing underneath which from mid channel is unreadable. We pulled in to read the “Small Print” and low and behold “Visiting craft welcome for a maximum stay of 24 hours on designated mooring rings only”. OK, there are 6 moorings rings here but there is nothing to say which one’s are “Designated” and which one’s are not so we moored up on the last three leaving room behind us for another boat.  We are secure here in a gated area which you need a code to get in and out of.  One of the locals said that they have had trouble on the towpath side with boats being let go.  All in all this is a great mooring overnight before setting off for the Rochadale Nine in the morning.

Ashton Canal 055 You can't read this from mid channel.

We have now been joined by two share boats Nb Rufford and Nb Halcyon alongside us. The latter is going to join us tomorrow to do the Rochdale 9 locks which are double locks and are easier with 2 boats as we head for the preferred moorings in Manchester at Castlefield.

Ashton Canal 040 We saw 3 police patrols on bicycles in about 4 hours.

Now there is another story to these other two boats as last night they both moored on the Peak Forest Canal roughly opposite the Portland Marina and at about 11pm last night they had their ropes cut and set free. After getting themselves moored up again the crew on Nb Rufford were disturbed at about 3am and caught the rat bags in the act of cutting their ropes again. I’m not sure what happened if they actually laid hands on these characters or just saw them off. For what good it will do the police have been notified.

1705 locks, 3548 miles, 66 Tunnels, 52 swing bridges and 52 lift bridges since Nov 2006

No comments: