Thursday, 17 March 2011

Towards the Pennines

The moorings opposite Tesco proved to be very quiet and safe, maybe that was because of the abundance of CCTV cameras. This morning we had a quick walk round the town before setting off on our travels again.  Back in 2000, when the new locks and new section of canal through the town were opened, Stalybridge was quite a nice place. Known locally as Staly Vegas, there used to be some nice bars and  shops but since Tesco arrived the town centre is practically deserted and what shops are still open are very run down.

The canal leaves Stalybridge and passes through some very urban areas. We didn't see any other boats all day and have been told several times that we are the first boat up here this year.  There is lots of rubbish in the water and at one lock I couldn't get one of the gates open as there was a log wedged behind it. The only way to shift it was to let some water into the lock with the other bottom gate still open and flush it through. It took a while but I managed it. Quite a few of the locks have hand-cuff locks which won't open or paddles which are extremely stiff but on the good side hardly any of the locks leak so water loss is minimal.

Hand-cuff lock closed

Hand-cuff lock opened

We passed a VERY smelly sewage works which ran alongside 2 locks and cruised through an electricity pylon which straddles the canal at a power station before the scenery improved.

They must really suffer with vandalism on the Huddersfield Canal because along with all the hand-cuff locks the sanitary station is fortified with razor wire. We stopped to dump rubbish and fill up with water again so that I could do some laundry and while the tank was filling I had a look around. The toilet and shower rooms are immaculate but I'm not sure if that's because they are cleaned regularly or because they are never used!

Altogether, we went up 8 locks today and passed through 1 tunnel. Scout Tunnel is narrow and very different to any we've been through before. It is hewn from rock and the first half of the tunnel has very rough rocky sides and roof, with the second half being lined with brick.

We're now moored at Mossley with the Pennines rising before us. The views are becoming more spectacular but we won't be going up and over the Pennines. We only have about another 10 locks to do before we have to turn round and I reckon we'll do them tomorrow.

No comments: