Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Ashton Canal

We spent last night in Portland Basin Marina, having gone there for our 4 yearly Boat Safety check. I can't believe the boat is now 4 years old! Where has the time gone?

We'd had torrential rain and strong winds overnight, so I was very happy that by the time we were ready to set off at 8am it had cleared up and the sun had come out.

Our first obstacle of the day was bridge 21.  Nicholson's guide book states that it's very low, and it was. The short cruising chimney only just made it through.

We'd met a guy at the top of Bosley Locks last week who claimed to be a professional boat mover and who told us how he'd never been on a worse canal than the Ashton.  He claimed it was full of rubbish, that the locks were exceptionally difficult and the area was full of scroats. So based on that I was dreading the trip.  It just goes to show that you shouldn't listen to everything you hear.  There was no litter in the water and neither boat picked up anything round our props.  The locks were well maintained and reasonably easy to work through, certainly no worse than anything we've come across elsewhere.  The only bit of graffitti we saw was this, and we didn't see any scroats either.

We got to the first lock just before 9.30.

A few of the locks (can't remember which) had these hand/foot holes in the lock sides. I haven't come across anything like them anywhere else.

It took us a long time getting down the flight as every lock was empty so had to be filled before Roger could take our boat in. Once he'd gone out I re-filled it for David on Wye Knot 2 and then helped him work down.

This is lock 4. Just round the right hand bend was another low bridge which was even lower than bridge 21. It was a railway bridge that's head reinforcing beams added underneath it and was so low that I had to take the chimney off and the flowers got flattened a bit. It was even lower than Droitwich Tunnel and that's saying something!

This is a block of apartments in New Islington, beside the new marina. They're hideous and are starting to look decidedly shabby as the graphics which have been put all over them are starting to peel off. It's no wonder they're half empty.

7 and a half hours after we left Portland Basing we finally made it to Piccadilly Village where we're spending the night.

It's a good job there's only the two of us travelling today as there's only room here for 2 boats. It was a tight squeeze for us getting into our mooring and I doubt that a 70ft boat would fit.

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