Thursday, 18 October 2012

Rochdale Nine

Today we carried on into the centre of Manchester, down the famous Rochdale Nine locks. Some boaters find them extremely hard work but while I wouldn't recommend them for absolute novices, we didn't have any problems.

This was the first lock which was to take us underneath these buildings in Piccadilly.

One of the problems with the Rochdale Nine is the sheer volume of water that passes down the flight. It pours over the top gates so you need to keep the boat well forward or risk it getting wet.  It's also a bit of a nuisance when you're trying to open the top gates on some of the locks as the pound level is higher than the top of the gates which means you really need 2 people to push the gate open.

The lock area underneath Piccadilly used to be frequented by rent boys and drug dealers but nowadays it's been cleaned up and there's CCTV everywhere.

There's some nice graffiti art down there too. This was just one of the pics.

There's no towpath between the locks at either end of Canal Street but there is a floating pontoon so you can get on or off the boat quite easily, although we had to breast up the 2 boats as the pontoon is quite short.

A few of the locks have windlass operated winches which use chains to open or close the lock gates as there isn't enough room for full length lock beams.

Lock 88 took us underneath Oxford Street.

Just as you exit the lock there's a very powerful jet of water coming into the canal. It's so powerful it pushed Wye Knot 2 sideways into the bridge.

Most of the canal is overshadowed by high dingy looking buildings but there are a few green areas. Someone here was obviously a bird fan, along with the duck house there was a small dovecote. We saw a kingfisher and there were bat boxes under one of the railway bridges.

This is the bar and club area in the railway arches alongside Deansgate Locks.

We finally made it into the bottom lock no. 92 two and a half hours after we set off.

I was a bit apprehensive after hearing all the horror stories, but we had a good run and I'd certainly do it again.  We'll be coming back up the Nine in a few weeks to get back up to the Macc. before the stoppages on the Marple Flight.

We're now moored in Castlefield and will carry on again in the morning.

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