Hector and Sally popped in for a quick coffee then we set off for our long day heading for the Peak Forest Canal. It was generally quiet on the canal today – most people back at work but we did enlist the help of Charlie (7) and Jess (4) for a couple of locks. They were fishing with their mum and dad but decided helping us open the paddles and gates was more fun!
Sixteen locks later we stopped at Stalybridge to run into Tesco and restock the fridge then we carried on, the locks on this stretch are quite hard work but not as bad as some that we have encountered before. All was going well until we got three locks from Ashton-Under-Lyne when we realised we had something stuck around the prop so we got into the lock then lifted the weed hatch – 20 minutes later when Steve had pulled several plastic bags and cut a long piece of blue nylon rope from the prop we were free to carry on with our journey.
As we went into the next lock there was, what I thought, a clump of weeds but it turned out to be a chunk of wood covered in moss which wedged itself between the side of the boat and the lock wall – we couldn’t reverse off it so Steve had to get the axe out and break it down which he managed to do eventually. I stayed on the boat and he did the lock this time – this is where he met a chap who told him he was on surveillance and kept talking to his watch, sleeve and shoulder – he then apologised for being in his pyjamas (which he was) and ran off down the towpath.
Finally 21 locks later we made it out of lock number 1 (the last for us on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal), then through the Asda Tunnel (only 166 yards), through Portland Basin where we took a sharp left and joined the Peak Forest Canal.
After helping a long narrowboat trying to make the turn into a marina we went through the lift bridge – and suddenly the surroundings are all much more pleasant. We chose a mooring spot in the middle of the Haughton Dale Nature Reserve. Lovely and quiet except for the fact that we are directly under the flight path into Manchester Airport, which, thankfully, is not as busy as Heathrow!
|Goodbye Hector and Sally - it was nice meeting you.|
|This is Saddleworth Moor where Moira Hindley and Ian Brady buried some of their victims.|
|Strange choice of garden ornament!|
|Over Royal George Aqueduct.|
|Bye Charlie and Jess - thanks for your help.|
|Through Scout Tunnel (205 yards)|
|Looks like this was dug through Granite too.|
|Looks like their yard could do with being restored and promoted!|
|It's very handy when there is a supermarket right on the canal!|
|Not sure whether this photo was taken of the duck or me!|
|It's a wonder that we actually managed to empty this lock with the back gates leaking this badly.|
|Over the River Tame on Tame Aqueduct.|
|It's lucky we only had plastic bags and rope stuck round our prop - it wouldn't have been much fun running over this shopping trolley!|
|The canal's answer to a car wash!|
|What a great idea - we've had no TV signal for three days now!|
|but you can see the effort this chap has had to go to!|
|Under Asda Tunnel.|
|Through Portland Basin.|
|And a sharp left into the Peak Forest Canal.|
|Go on Steve go and give these people a hand getting that boat into the marina.|
|Getting quieter - I think we will moor up soon.|
|Moored under the flight path!|
|They keep on coming!|
|But at least the surrounding nature reserve is quiet and peaceful.|