Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Ashton 18

We survived - but first a catch up from yesterday afternoon when we arrived at New Islington Marina.

We stopped for water there and did a pumpout, while we were doing that another boat arrived, Shangri La, and took the last space, a guy called Ben (the site manager I think??) came and took payment for the pumpout, only £8, he said we could take the space in front of the boaters hut, not ideal but better than nothing but in the evening there was security guard around.

We were just getting ready to leave this morning when the lady from Shangri La was looking for Ben, it turned out they had a bottle thrown at the boat at about 3am and smashed their window, they had reported it to the police but wanted to report it to the site as well.

I really feel for the people who pay to stay at New Islington, its like a public park where youngster turn up causing chaos and even go swimming - yuk!

When we set off Shrangri La did too so we shared the first two double locks back to the Ashton Canal, then they were narrow so they went up first.

Leaving Lock 1

The New Islington tram station

Most of the old mills and warehouses have been converted to flats, not this one yet

We saw plenty of these

Another awaiting conversion

Bye Manchester, the Hilton Hotel in the distance (on the left)

A lovely old lock cottage survived, it was surround by flats
The first few locks went well, but the further up the flight we got the sorrier the state. We had passed three boats coming down by the time we reached lock 10, the cause of over three weeks of closure. Brand new gates had been fitted but we couldn't believe how much they leaked, from inside the lock James said there were black bags all down the side, were these bunged in there to try and stop the leaking? Who knows, but surely not a good way of doing it.

Lock 10 with it's leaking gates

Inside lock 10, the deepest narrow lock on the system
As we continued up the flight there was less and less water, the bottom gates had horrendous leaks, James said that in one gate he would have been able to fit his hand through one hole it was so big, quite a few paddles didn't work so it was slow going only being able to fill locks with one paddle and the gates at the bottom leaking so much.

LJ got grounded in one pound, I was going to let some water through from above but that pound was low too and there was a boat in the lock, so if I emptied and refilled that lock it would only make matters worse as the boat wouldn't have been able to get out of the lock and across the pound, there really wasn't enough water for two lock fills. Once the boat was in the lock and it emptied James could just about get LJ free and into it, next problem for us was getting out of the lock but this time I was able to let water down from the one above.

We met a few helpful people on the flight, holdings gates closed for me while I opened paddles at the other end to fill them because the gates wouldn't stay shut on their own.

A few locks still had evidence of twin locks
So no sign of the warned about kids and nothing was thrown at us but a horrible flight due to lack of water and sadly lack of maintenance, even though the flight has been closed for nearly four weeks, I would have thought this would have been the ideal time for maintenance. It won't surprise me when there are further emergency stoppages on this flight.

We eventually reached Portland Basin and turned right onto the Peak Forest Canal and moored up shortly after.

Moored up just onto the Peak Forest Canal
I'm knackered, today was hot tiring work but would have been enjoyable if the canal was maintained, its very frustrating.

6.75 miles and 20 locks - taking 8 hours!!!!
TOTAL 314.75 miles and 194 locks


  1. You'd have been better off spending the night a Piccadilly Village - nice little basin a short way up the Ashton, which is in a gated development. Locals very friendly, and they're ok about telling you the code to get in and out.

    New lock gates always leak. It takes them a while to swell up to their final size.

    1. Hi Adam, when we passed Piccadilly Village we both said we would have stopped there instead if we'd have known about it. Well at least we will know next time.

      The new lock gates only leaked one side and it wasn't just a trickle, water was gushing out. Didn't like the look of all the black bags stuffed into the gaps, surely they are going to and up around someone's prop.

  2. Ben is the 'Park keeper' he is about as much use as a wet plastic tarp round the prop.

    1. Hi Anonymous, doesn't sound like he's very helpful then! If fact the opposite. We only saw him briefly when he came to take payment for the pump out machine.