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Archive for November 26th, 2014

Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2014 – Day 37

Posted by indigodream on 26 November, 2014

26th November 2011

Before we rewind the blog to a bit of boating we have some sad dog news. We heard this evening that Richard’s sister’s dog, Polo, another Indigo Dreamer, finally succumbed to a brain tumour. He had been one of the great characters of the dog world, one loved by every hound and human that he met….he will be missed. Run free Polo.

Even Lou liked Polo!

Polo with Lou and Lynx, Run free…..

 

 

Rewind to Tuesday 9th September

Manchester (Bridge 2 Ashton Canal) to Sale

The top of the Rochdale 9 - ready to descend into darkness...

The top of the Rochdale 9 – ready to descend into darkness…

Although we had the Rochdale 9 ahead of us, we weren’t in any rush, so while Richard took the Beanz out, I had a nice lie-in with Ollie. We eventually set off late-morning, just as the special brew drinkers were starting to gather at the top of the flight.

We’ve read about how Manchester has embraced its canal – it even goes under buildings, says the blurb. Yeah, that’s right, the city has buried its canal and I found it to be as dismal a stretch as I’ve ever cruised. I love an urban canal, you’d go a long way to beat Birmingham and Liverpool, but much as I tried to like it, I couldn’t wait to get out of Manchester.

But there were 9 notoriously heavy wide locks in front of us – the first two really being buried under buildings and bridges, with the pound in a shadowy culvert inhabited by wretched homeless men and by signs warning that lewd behaviour would be prosecuted – delightful! There has been some attempt to brighten the place up with aΒ  colourful mural, well out of reach of graffiti taggers. I appreciated the sentiment, though maybe some better lighting would have been more helpful.

This is a dispiriting stretch but the mural does add a bit of welcome colour...

This is a dispiriting stretch but the mural does add a bit of welcome colour…

There followed a long pound with no towpath – now that’s a sign that a city has turned its back on a canal – Richard and the hounds were confined on board. I really disliked this bit, despite the fact that the ever-lively Gay Village was happening on the street above our heads.

We flew down the flight, and I felt a bit more charitable when we got to a stretch where the hounds could come off for a supervised bimble. But overall, the Rochdale 9 failed to charm – what a wasted opportunity for the city. Mind you, I’ve been to Mancester on business many, many times and I’ve never liked it, so maybe it just had too a big prejudice to overcome :-p

We didn’t have any difficulties with the locks, or with water levels, and had a smooth passage until we got to the last lock. We just couldn’t get the water levels equalised and, in the end, it took two of us to manhandle the gate open. It did give us the opportunity for some banter with canalside diners and for one woman, who was celebrating her birthday, to admire the hounds – greyhounds are her favourite!

The view from Pomona Lock - can't wait to cruise the Manchester Ship Canal :-)

The view from Pomona Lock – can’t wait to cruise the Manchester Ship Canal πŸ™‚

When we got to the bottom of the 9, we were gobsmacked by the sheer range of choices at the junction (Castlefield Junction?). There were no fewer than five little branches and we poked our nose into two wrong-uns before we finally worked out which one had the water point! We filled up, had a late lunch and had a discussion about what to do next. We could have moored in the vicinty of the junction and explored Manchester, but we’d had such a good run down the Rochdale 9 that there was plenty of cruising day left. In the end we decided to press on – a local boater on the waterpoint had advised us that Sale was a good place to moor so that became our new target.

The hounds were a bit disconsolate today, maybe because they were tired, or maybe because there were fewer rummaging opportunities. Nonetheless, they enjoyed a little exploration of Pomona Lock and the long fall down to the Manchester Ship Canal – it’s quite a view. They failed to be impressed by Manchester United’s Stadium πŸ™‚

We soon turned onto the Bridgewater canal – more new ground for us, though we have cruised the southern stretch up to Runcorn. It’s famously lock-free and a nice contrast to the big flights that we’ve tackled in the last few days.

All wrapped up - the Kings Retreat in Sale is a nice pub but it was chilly for al fresco dining...

All wrapped up – the Kings Retreat in Sale is a nice pub but it was chilly for al fresco dining…

When we got to Sale, there was one mooring space on the offside rings. We ummed and ahhed for a bit, but we were hailed by widebeam Pukeka, whose friendly welcome persuaded us to moor. We tied up behind them and were soon giving guided tours of each others boats – their boat was sheer luxury (the extra 3′ width makes such a difference)! They were very complimentary about Indigo Dream, which we enjoyed, and they also loved the hounds – can’t go wrong….

One advantage of this mooring is that it is right by the King’s Retreat pub. Dogs are not allowed inside but we just about managed to sit outside, though it was a bit chilly. The food was good pub grub, so that got the seal of approval. It was quiz night – we’d normally join in but it was just too cold (the hounds were curled up in their blankets). I was tempted to stay because there was a little drama being played out at the table next to us. A young man unwisely told his girlfriend that he would marry her if they won the quiz. She took his offer a LOT more seriously than he intended and was checking her connection to Google when we left πŸ™‚

Today’s Trivia

The Beetham Hilton Tower is to the left of this photo....

” The Beetham Hilton Tower is to the left of this photo….

There is a very tall tower that soars above Manchester’s skyline. This prompted me to investigate,, and I found out that is it the Beetham Hilton Tower completed in 2006. At 170-ish metres (one report said 169m and the other 171m), it seems to be Manchester’s tallest building. But according to Wikipedia, plans are afoot (but currently on hold) to build a taller tower, though the profile of the planned Piccadilly Tower looks a bit more sturdy.

From what I can gather, construction started in 2004 and was hailed as a wonderful new place to live, with a BBC article quoting a psychologist who believes that ” ….high-rise homes could offer a sense of calm. If you look out your window don’t see anything above you or nearby, that gives you a sense of privacy and security which you don’t have in a conventional flat surrounded by your neighbours.”

 

Photoblog:

The Picadilly culvert is quite errie, but I had my bodygards on deck :-D

The Picadilly culvert is quite eerie, but I had my bodyguards on deck πŸ˜€

Unusual paddle gear...

Unusual paddle gear…

The light at the end of the tunnel :-)

The light at the end of the tunnel πŸ™‚

Apparently these crude step were fo rhte use of lock crew to bet to/from the street. The new perspect screens now thoroughly separate the cana from the road...

Apparently these crude steps were for the use of lock crew to get to/from the street. The new perspex screens now thoroughly separate the canal from the road…

Bridges...

Bridges…

You can add this to the list of jobs I never want to do!

You can add this to the list of jobs I never want to do!

The hounds enjoyed a bimble along this stretch, though they did startle some passersby when they raced back to the boat...

The hounds enjoyed a bimble along this stretch, though they did startle some passersby when they raced back to the boat…

City view..

City view..

These canalside bars at Deansgate must be buzzing at night..

These canalside bars at Deansgate must be buzzing at night..

There are some elaborate railway bridges in Manchester and, as in many places, the railway is set way above the canal, though I suspect for reasons of spave rather than supremacy here (though I may be wrong!)...

There are some elaborate railway bridges in Manchester and, as in many places, the railway is set way above the canal, though I suspect for reasons of space rather than supremacy here (though I may be wrong!)…

Manchester United - that close to the canal!

Manchester United – that close to the canal!

 

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