Wednesday, 8 July 2015

The Ashton Canal for the third time this year!

Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th July; Droylsden Marina to New Islington marina

We drove up to Droylsden on Tuesday, avoiding most of the rain which held off till we arrived!  Luckily we managed to get the unloading done without getting too wet.   We had no intention of leaving the marina that night – too wet, and anyway with nowhere really to moor along the Ashton there was no point.

We overslept though on Wednesday, then waited for a heavy shower to pass over before we left, so after a difficult turn in the wind we didn’t start down the first lock till after ten.  The weather was pretty grim to start with – a strong gusty wind and drizzly, though not particularly cold.  All the locks were against us, and the wind, coming straight up the canal, had blown nearly all the bottom gates open.  In spite of this we were averaging 4 locks an hour until we were about half-way down.

I didn’t take many photos today – too wet for one thing, but this is the third time we have come this way in three months so we’ve got plenty of ‘views’.  So instead, here is a shot of stuff you wouldn’t want round your prop, which we saw below one of the locks.

2 dont want this round your propr

When we got down to Sport City, lock 7 was so appallingly slow to fill (one top paddle out of action, leaky bottom gates, deep lock) I had time to check out the road signs – the only thing missing from the signs is the Velodrome, which we had already passed.  The fuzziness is the drizzle, honest!

4 sport city signs  6 more sport city

Also at lock 7, surrounded by blocks of flats and busy roads, was the lock cottage;

7 lock cottage lock 7

and a bit further away another attractive old cottage.  It looks rural but that is entirely an illusion.

8 not in the country lock 7

The towpath changes sides here, and as the lock is very deep and the road bridge is very close to the bottom gates, the towpath is very steep and winding.  Rather difficult with a bike, even a little folding one!

5 winding crossover path lock 7

We didn’t stop for lunch, just snacking on some left-over quiche and cake as we went along, so we were getting quite tired as we came down the Ancoats locks and left the Ashton.  Just two locks on the Rochdale and we were pulling into New Islington marina at about 4.

Time for some jobs! Well for Dave anyway, I pleaded tiredness and had some chocolate instead.  We have some nice new fenders which Dave has just fitted.

13 new fenders

Meg was relieved to be able to have a run about in Cotton Field after spending most of the day shut in either because of the rain (her choice), busy roads or glass on the towpath.

12cotton field

There is a brightly painted dovecot in the park though I didn’t see any doves.

11 dovecot in cotton field

It’s a lovely evening now, though a bit cool, with the sun just dipping behind the restored warehouse on the other side of the canal. 

20 locks today (18 narrow, 1 broad), 1 swing bridge, 4 miles, 6 hours.

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