|Attractive chimney - but now in isolation.|
|We are always looking out for old working boats.|
|Hydraulic paddle gear, locking bar & key to open.|
|Towards end of Ashton flight|
2) Several of the top paddles were non operational, and where matched with badly leaking bottom gates, it was hard to get enough flow into the locks when filling to "make a level", and get top gates open. In the worst case it took three of us to exert enough force.
3) Much of the hydraulic gear when wound up, doesn't stay up, and paddles slowly slip down again.
4) Nearly all the paddle gear has a design of anti-vandal lock added, that means you have to unscrew a locking bar with a special key, and then replace it, and screw it back afterwards. The locking bars are very heavy, and can fall down and crack you on the knee very severely. In fairness they can occasionally be used to hold open a paddle with the fault described above,
|Poorly stacked boxes ?|
6) Where the pound below a lock was very low, and a water inflow was pinning the boat in a lock exit, we had to flush it out by reopening top gate paddles.
7) There is no official way to cross the gates at the top end. Strictly you need to walk the whole way along the lock, cross at the bottom end, then back down the other side. In practice one could cross the top, without handrails, in most cases, but it was a bit hairy!
|Modern housing in stretch between the two flights.|
|First lock in Rochdale 9.|
Eventually, having completed the 18 narrow Ashton locks, you turn right onto the Rochdale canal, and almost immediately start the descent of the "Rochdale 9" lock flight. These were our first broad locks for many days, but are quite unlike any broad locks we use regularly.
Features of the Rochdale 9 include......
|Passing between locks - under a tower block.|
2) Top paddles are very close to the ground, and don't have conventional pawls or ratchets. You simply have a bit of metal on a chain to wedge in the mechanism to keep them open.
3) Bottom paddles are of two designs, the more ludicrous type having two reduction gearboxes, one after the other, with somethhing like a 15:1 step down ratio. They need an inordinate number of turns.
5) The lock gates can only be crossed at the top end, (the reverse of Ashton), but here there is absolutely no way of crossing the bottom, (and never a bridge there). So lots of walking around, and even the top gates often lack adequate steps to climb up on to them.
6) Quite a few bottom gates can't be opened by pushing on a conventional balance beam. Instead shorter beams have a chain mechanism you have to wind with a windlass.
|Lock beside Canal Street - not accessible by foot.|
|David operates windlass worked gate mechanism.|
|Probably the hardest thing to contend with here.|
Cath and I went for a walk around the area, and visited a few shops. Pleasant enough, but this area is not really that close to the true city centre - it is not like stepping off a boat on the popular moorings in central Birmingham, for example.
|Entering the basin at Castlefield.|
Dukinfield Junction to Manchester (Castlefield)
Miles: 7.9, Locks: 27
Total Miles: 271.7, Locks: 147 (Worked)