Monday, 14 March 2016

Dukes Lock

More cruising today.  We stopped at Stretford Marine Services for water and a chat with the friendly marina staff.  The closure of Barton Swing Aqueduct was confirmed.  Apparently it’s an annual maintenance closer.  However the reopening date is the 19th rather than the 21st.  We were also informed we could only stay on the Bridgewater Canal for a week with a CRT license and the local enforcement officer was very enthusiastic.  It’s a long way back to Preston Brook so we decided to continue into Manchester and go up the Rochdale flight of nine locks which will get us back onto CRT waters.

We turned right at Waters Meeting and headed NE towards Manchester.  We were last this way in 2003 on a hire boat.  I remember much of the scenery being derelict and there has obviously been some major urban regeneration since then.  When we reached Castlefield Junction in 2003 the “Battle of the Bands” festival was on and it was too noisy for us.  We eventually decided to wind and moor in a quieter area.  Eventually we moored for the night opposite this famous stadium.

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Old Trafford

Jan has a good memory telling me she remembered an attractive ornate cast iron bridge.  And it was still there!

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At one point the Bridgewater Canal runs adjacent to the Shipping Canal.  Although the height of the bridges over the shipping canal suggest the days of large ships using the canal are over.

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Halfway along this section we passed Pomona Lock which connects the two canal via a 12ft drop.

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Apart from the stop lock before Preston Brook we haven’t gone through a lock.  The Anderton Boat Lift raised us 50ft above the River Weaver to reach the Trent & Mersey.  The difference in water levels is now 12ft which means the Manchester Ship Canal must have a number of locks.

The urban generation is even more noticeable closer to Castleford Junction, however there are still signs of former canal side commerce with short arms branching off.

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There were a number of boats moored around Castleford Junction but we pressed on going up Dukes Lock.  To my surprise eight boats were moored directly above the lock.  This made sense.  Immediately above the lock is CRT water and boats can stay here 14 days.  Rather than go up the remaining 8 locks before returning in five days we decided to do the same and squeezed Waiouru into a mooring between a springer and yoghurt pot. 

There is one concern.  Apparently Peel Holdings have changed the lock on the local elsan point.  Only boaters with a six month Bridgewater Canal license get a key.  We have been informed some “long term” visiting boaters are emptying their toilet cassettes into the canal.  I guess we will (nose) if that happens. Smile

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