Day 18½

Dodgy internet connection last night so posting this on the morning of day 19, but we’ll come to that. Day 18 was spent doing the Ashton canal which consists almost entirely of locks, so:

Lock 18 (Fairfield top lock) Made use of the Elsan point then set off through the lock. There were a couple of CRT staff working on a new path along the top of the lock and one stopped to help with the paddles and gates.

17. Lock set against me so slow but no problems. Most Ashton locks have hydraulically operated paddles which generally work OK. They all have a locking mechanism on requiring a ‘handcuff’ key. Gets annoying doing 4 paddles per lock, unlocking and locking each.

Swing bridge. As usual the moorings on the opposite side to the mechanism. bridge VERY heavy. Just strated to move it a little using a rope when a dog walker showed up and helped. Ridiculously heavy. Before next lock picked up a plastic bag on the prop.

16. Set wrong again, going to be like this a lot.

15. Broken hydraulic paddle on the lock tail.

14. Log behind top gate, fun shifting it to open gate.

13. Hydraulic paddles fall as soon as you let go, have to jam the lock mechanism on fast as possible. Trying to move from mooring into lock got stuck on an underwater obstruction. Coming out, neither gate open fully so we got stuck. Backed off, lifted fenders, forced through with lots of revs. Bounced over another obstruction just below the gate. Saw boat coming up so we left the gates open for each other.

12. Easier due to gates open.

11. Hydraulic paddle has airlock (I think) after a few turns it stops working, but if you turn it back a few turns then forward again it goes up a bit further. Theoretically as a booat has just come up the lock should be full, but it leaks badly so isn’t.

10. Leaks even worse, completely empty when I arrived and won’t fill properly so the top gate is VERY difficult to open.

9. Another boat coming up, didn’t see me in time to leave the gate open but at least lock full when I got there.

8. As before despite boat coming up, was ½ empty.

7,6,5&4 Stopped noting details, but basically as above.

Gave up just above lock 3. There’s a big gap between 4 and 3 and I was hoping to find a nice mooring. It”s all pretty grim post-industrial waste though until around lock 3 where there are new build flats and a converted old mill. Spent the night on lock landing stage, very naughty but haven’t seen another boat for hours.

Day 19, lock 3, The trendy ‘Urban Splash’ regeneration is fine but obviously didn’t consider boaters might actually use the ‘water feature’ for travelling on. There are no mooring bollards below the lock and the steps you need to get back up to close the gates after you’ve left have been fenced off.

2. No mooring bollards above this one, see above!

  1. Finally. The lock works OK but having conscientiously moored and closed the bottom gates, they swung themselves open again as I let go.

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