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The Odyssey 2015 – Day 7

Posted by indigodream on 19 June, 2015

Sunday 24th May

Castleton to Littleborough

Out overnight mooring - the stup on the left is the route of the original canal - it had to be diverted because of the M62, which is very close by...

Our overnight mooring – the stub on the left is the route of the original canal – it had to be diverted because of the M62, which is very close by…

Water was on our mind today – we hadn’t filled up yesterday and although our brilliant new water gauge told us we had just under a quarter of a tank, we weren’t sure whether we’d find a tap today. We decided not to shower and save the water for the loo (most important!). We had just enough drinking water for coffee, but it was obvious that I wouldn’t be able to avoid shopping this morning.

I headed off to find Dunelm Mills, our new favourite shop, for a cover for the sofa cushions – cream cushions,Β  black towpath mud and sixteen large houndie paws don’t really mix! I also topped up on non-slip rugs, poor Ollie is getting rather frail and isn’t as steady on the laminate floor as he used to be. I resisted the urge to buy some more sheepskins, Dunelm Mills had a very nice selection, dyed in beautiful colours. I then popped into Tesco for food and water – including hot chickens.

Our mooring couldn’t have been more convenient – the big shops were all within three miles of the boat and when I got back I was able to park lockside. Being either lazy or intelligent (or both), we soon got the boat into the lock, where she was perfectly positioned for loading the shopping direct from the car via the side-hatch!

Ready for the day - this is about as active as they got - Herbie was soon back on his sofa :-)

Ready for the day – this is about as active as they got – Herbie was soon back on his sofa πŸ™‚

While I was off shopping, Richard became acquainted with some local dog-walkers, including a dainty lurcher who enjoyed a run with our hounds. When I got back, I found that Ollie was suspiciously damp – he’d managed to fall into the canal – it was his first dunking, but it had been in the offing for a while – he is becoming a bit vague and has a worrying tendency to walk right on the edge of the towpath. There was no harm done, but I’ll have to be extra-careful walking him around locks with their deep deep waters.

Richard had also met a boater from nb N-gauge who was walking back for the car he’d left in Slattocks. He was moored several locks above us but would wait for us to catch up so that we could lock the rest of the way together. It makes sense – it saves water and effort, especially as the skipper of N-gauge was single-handing.

Once we got going, we soon realised that we’d moored in a good spot last night – the canal does run parallel to the high street but there doesn’t seem to be any access to the town. The canalside is being developed with modern high-density housing – it’s not the most attractive, but if it helps to lift local deprivation then I can’t complain.

Interesting bridge - wide beams can pass by arrangement - the towpath under the bridge can be unhitched and parked off to one side...

Interesting bridge – wide beams can pass by arrangement – the towpath under the bridge can be unhitched and parked off to one side…

The nearer we got to Rochdale, the more deprivation we encountered – however, using the “prop-clothing” scale, it wasn’t as bad as some places we’ve encountered – we only had to clear one scarf from the prop today!

We did three locks in quick succession then there was a mile and a half lock-free pound – we luxuriated. There aren’t many long pounds in the Pennines – every one a coffee-worthy interlude πŸ™‚

When we got into Rochadale itself, we saw a group of young lads, maybe 10 years old, “a boat” they shouted excitedly and ran towards the lock. Our hearts sank, who knew what mischief they had in mind? Then we were ashamed – they were genuinely interested in how the lock worked and helped Richard with opening the gates and turning the paddles (under strict supervision). Another couple with two young boys and a huge muzzled mastiff stopped for a bit of gongoozling – it was heartening to see local interest in the canal and the boat.

We were quite cheered by our passage through Lock 50, but the canal became very dispiriting after that. “Trolley Alley” in Wolverhampton has got nothing on this stretch. I’m not sure whether this canal has the record for “locks per mile”, but the “trolleys per mile” award surely belongs to Rochdale! The trolleys seemed to be from a range of supermarkets and we were a bit mystified as there were no stores nearby. The canal wasn’t shy of sofas and other grime either – the water was shallow and Indigo Dream’s bottom was well-scrubbed on nameless detritus under the surface.

Aye, we're oop t'north now :-)

Aye, we’re oop t’north now πŸ™‚

Although CRT had advised Richard that you could moor safely just about anywhere once you got out of Manchester, Rochdale didn’t appeal – though it was a friendly enough place in daylight.

We caught up with nb N-gauge just below Littleborough and went through a couple of locks before stopping for water above Durn Lock. There was a volunteer lockie on duty here – he alerted us to the fact that several of the Pennine locks had been narrowed by subsidence and we’d need to ascend one boat at a time. They are marked, but not always clearly – keep your eyes open for the signs!

Littleborough was obviously a “safe haven” – there were several boats moored there – more than we’d seen since leaving the Bridgewater canal! Although it seemed like a convivial spot, we decided not to moor there – we were well stocked with food and we fancied somewhere a little quieter. The railway line is very close to the canal here, though it peels away a little below Pike House Lock.

The landscape calls out to us - THIS pays for the gloom of Manchester...

The landscape calls out to us – THIS pays for the gloom of Manchester…

Our locking companion stuck with us – the plan was for us to cross the summit together tomorrow. I had a lot of time to muse on locking partners as we crossed the Pennines – I’ll say more on that next time. However, we were lucky today in that we got on well with nb N-gauge’s skipper, though he had his momentsΒ  e.g. “I had a choice of two boats to share with, but the other one was just too shiny and I though he wouldn’t like being bumped around in the locks”……

I had to hope that his interesting life story (and it was interesting) would compensate for this lack of tact, as we’d be spending a lot of time together tomorrow…..

Although there was plenty of water in the canal, it was difficult to moor up – there is fair amount of rock and silt towpath side. It took a lot of jiggling around but we eventually got the stern close enough to be safe for Ollie to get on and off. It was a lovely spot – we could still hear the trains, but it wasn’t too intrusive, and Richard found a superb field adjacent to the lock where the younger hounds could enjoy some zoomies. Once upon a time, we’d have worried about letting Herbie off-lead, but he’s become such a boat dog that now when we let him off, he just runs back to the boat at top speed and leaps onto his sofa!

With supplies on board, we were soon fed and watered, having enjoyed a very satisfying day’s cruising. We went to be bed full of anticipation for the summit tomorrow….

Photoblog:

More information boards - a welcome addition to the canalscape..

More information boards – a welcome addition to the canalscape..

Mill country....

Mill country….

Anonymous red brick canalside development - boring but very necessary...

Anonymous red brick canalside development – boring but very necessary…

Ooh, interesting (I don't get to see these things from the helm) - I must get writing!

Ooh, interesting (I don’t get to see these things from the helm) – I must get writing!

The siren call of the Pennnes...

The siren call of the Pennines…

Big debate on board as to whether this was asympathetic new build or the conversion of an old mill - impressive either way :-)

Big debate on board as to whether this was a sympathetic new build or the conversion of an old mill – impressive either way πŸ™‚

I could fancy being lady of that manor :-)

I could fancy being lady of that manor πŸ™‚

Views leaving Littleborough...

Views leaving Littleborough…

The servies at Littleborough are above the lock on the offside - easy to miss as they look like a residential mooring spot...

The services at Littleborough are above the lock on the offside – easy to miss as they look like a residential mooring spot…

The trees become fewer as the canal climbs and their growth is shaped by the harshness of their surroundings..

The trees become fewer as the canal climbs and their growth is shaped by the harshness of their surroundings..

Dinnertime! This mooring was quiet enough for us to feed the hounds outside :-)

Dinnertime! This mooring was quiet enough for us to feed the hounds outside πŸ™‚

View back from our overnight mooring - can't ask for more :-)

View back from our overnight mooring – can’t ask for more πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

3 Responses to “The Odyssey 2015 – Day 7”

  1. Greygal said

    Now I understand why the hounds are so tired on their return….

  2. Kristel said

    Lovely to read about your journey and good to hear that Indigo Dream is moving again after all the renovation. Have you passed through Todmorden yet? We are on our boat this weekend and would love to meet you with Dottie and Freya if you are still in the area.

  3. indigodream said

    Oh no, we’ve missed you – what a shame – we passed through Todmorden a few weeks ago (and loved it!) – we’re in Wakefield until 4th July then we’re off towards and along the Leeds and Livepool Canal. If you’re around though, we usually have a car so maybe we could meet up in a convenient pub? If we don’t make it this year, then we’re back up north next year πŸ™‚

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