The plan was to travel straight through Manchester from Ashton under Lyme but it never happened. We had a horrible run coming into Manchester -some of the dirtiest locks I’ve seen. Howie said they were heavy to use as well. Full of rubbish and great big lumps of wood that get caught in the propeller. And derelict industrial estates. Towards the end of the run of locks we passed through some high rise apartments and got hit by a gust of wind. Not unusual – apartments & streets tend to cause wind tunnels. Naturally I got blown side ways towards some trees, but with crap under the propeller from the lock the boat was slower than normal to respond and turn, I ended up in the trees at a fair speed. Unfortunately the tiller arm got caught in a branch stopping the boat moving forward, but the engine was still trying to propel it. Result very bent tiller arm – its bent but still usable. I just need to be a bit more nimble to make things happen. Once I disentangled myself and the boat from the trees I noticed the damage. Backed out all the way back into the lock and started again. Too be fair the fact that I’d let go off the tiller and was crouched down in the door, trying not to get decapitated or have my arm broken probably didn’t help matters.
We moored up in a relatively safe spot just near Manchester Piccadilly Station – ready to do the Rochdale 9 flight of locks in the morning. And the horror continued. The locks were all over full, so water had to be let out a bit and then refilled so the gates could be opened. They are big double locks as well. No one else was moving so we had to do them by ourselves. The water was so high in one lock when I went in the front button on the boat (the rope thing at the front) was higher than the gate and I wasn’t aware of it. As the water was being let out the button caught on the top of the gate. So we had the boat hanging off the gate at the front and the back of the boat going lower in the water. Suddenly there was a huge bang and the boat was bouncing around in the water – fortunately one of the chains that hold the button to the front of the boat broke and we dropped from the gate. Castlefield Basin at the bottom of the locks – we moored up there and that is where we stayed for the next 3 days. Didn’t do very much as we will be coming through Manchester again at some point. It had taken 4 hours to travel just over a mile.
We left the Castlefield Basin on Saturday and headed down the Bridgewater Canal to the Trafford Centre. Las Vegas does a shopping centre. The only thing missing was the gambling. We stayed were we moored overnight, it was quite and not a bad place to stop.
The Bridgewater Canal is huge. Very wide, very deep. Boats don’t slow down for any reason. We had a quick stop and walk around this morning in Worsley – very nice. We are in the country at the moment – on the outskirts of Leigh. We hope to find a marina here in the morning to straighten the tiller arm.
And just to add icing on the cake – I cant convince the photos to download off the card. So no photos today.