Tuesday, 23 September 2014

A smell, a theft, aground

Time to leave Manchester, but first the building opposite the mooring is rather interesting.  I can’t decide whether it’s a converted old building or something new built as a replica.  The confusing part is the twin arches at the base.  They look like they led to boat loading areas inside a warehouse.  However they have a concrete arch?  Today they are a cafe.
The second lock on the Ashton Canal has an old canalside property which is currently being renovated.  It appears to be either a new home or small office complex.
On the opposite side is a large former warehouse or factory complex which has also been renovated and converted into residential apartments.
Above Lock 2 and adjacent to the entrance to New Islington Marina is a modern building which appears to be leaning over the canal.
The next major building of interest is one which frequently appears on blogs of boaters who have passed this way.
We both saw the irony in going up the 18 Locks of the Ashton Canal having come down the 19 locks of the Rochdale the previous Friday.  What wasn’t appreciated was the condition of a number of the lock gates.  Too many of the lower lock gates wouldn’t stay shut.  Jan developed a technique of slightly raising one of the top paddles and then going back to shut the gates.  This worked on all but one of the locks.  Halfway up the flight Jan heard the alarm of the CO detector in the bedroom.  When she went to investigate she discovered a horrible “rotten egg” (sulphur) smell in the bedroom and cratch.  We frantically searched for the source before deciding it was probably external and had “leaked” into the cratch when Waiouru was in one of the lock chambers.  We Rolled up the cratch cover sides and opened the top half of the cabin front doors to vent the boat.  It appears to have worked.
Jan was making some lunch with the side hatch doors open.  She had left one of her recently baked blackberry muffins on the galley top and turned around to observe a thieving Canadian Goose stick its head through the open side hatch and steal her muffin. 
By now we had gained some height and could look back down towards Manchester.
We came this way in 2007 but the only part of the canal I remember is the water point immediately above Lock 18.  Unfortunately getting to it involved quite a delay.  I couldn’t get Waiouru into the lock.  The boat would only go 2/3 the way into the lock and then ground.  Applying more power just made the problem worse.  If I knocked the engine out of gear then the boat drifted out of the lock.  Eventually I drifted into the lock and just managed to clear the lower gates.  The next problem was the gates wouldn’t stay shut behind the boat.   Jan tried her trick of slightly raising a top paddle but that flushed Waiouru back out of the lock.  Eventually we managed to get the boat back into the lock and used the centreline to hold her in place whilst Jan ran in some water to hold the lower gates shut.   
The water pressure from the tap at Fairfield Junction was good but it still took some time to fill the tank.  A passing walker asked if we were from NZ?  We confirmed he was correct and that’s when he told us he had just returned from working with the NZ Army contingent in the Sinai.  I knew he meant the MFO organisation of which NZ was an original contributor.  The MFO was created by the USA to monitor the border between Egypt and Israel after the UN refused to be involved.  The MFO has been in existence for over 30 years.  One of the many peace-keeping missions that never seems to end.
The stretch of canal from Fairfield Junction to Dunkinfield Junction has no locks and there was plenty of water.  I didn’t manage the turn onto the Peak Forest Canal in one movement.  But then I’ll claim it is a tight turn.  Dunkinfield Junction is where Peter & Margaret (nb Kelly-Louise) took us not long after we had arrived in the UK.  There is an interesting museum opposite the turn.
We made a very tight left turn into Portland Basin Marina at this point.  Actually the blue boat with the yellow tunnel band in the above photo was a contributing factor.  The arm to Portland Basin Marina doesn’t have a winding hole at the end which meant I had to reverse out and then do a reverse turn at the junction.  Oh, we went to the marina for diesel (90p/ltr domestic).  There should now be sufficient fuel in the tank to keep us going for another couple of weeks.


Halfie said...

CO2 detector? I think you probably mean CO, i.e. carbon monoxide, not CO2 (carbon dioxide).

Tom and Jan said...

Halfie, You are correct (Again!). I'm going to claim it was the end of a stressful day! :-)