Day 17

I reckoned about 4 hours to Marple Locks so I got organised and set off at 07.00. I paused at Addlington Basin for fuel and water and arrived at about 11.30. One of the reasons I love the old narrow canals so much is the industrial architcture, some of it going back to the early Industrial Revolution but a lot of it 19th century. I passed a splendid example and actually had time to photograph it, Clarence Mill at Bollington (next town north of Macclefield). It seems to have been converted to modern commerce with offices to let and a cafe on the ground floor.

Clarence Mill, Bollington

The 16 Marple Locks are deep, 13′ each according to a CRT volunteer, and the first one, before CRT showed up was extremely heavy to operate. I was beginning to wonder how I’d manage them all. The first volunteer showed up at #15 numbered from from 16 down to 1) then two more. The second two had just walked up the flight after helping three earlier boats, and went for coffee whilst the first and I set about then next few locks. It’s a lot easier with an experienced helper, but climbing down into the empty lock was still a bit worrying. By about lock 12 there were three volunteers and we had a well established system with one going ahead to prepare the next lock whilst two of them closed the gates after me. We did 16 locks in 2½ hours which I make about 12 minutes each which is pretty good going.

And then a simple cruise along to the Duckinfield Junction with the Ashton Canal where there is a public mooring. So here I am. There are 18 locks on the Ashton, down into central Manchester, but they are not all in a single flight, some are quite well spaced so room for a rest if necessary (it will be!)

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