We had pre-booked our passage onto the Rochdale Canal with BW for Saturday and had to be ready at 8.30am at lock 83 as only four boats a day would be allowed onto the canal. This meant that we had to tackle the dreaded Rochdale Nine today, out of the city centre heading north east towards the Piccadilly area of Manchester.
Lock Keepers house at the first of the Rochdale Nine Locks
Lynne, glutton for punishment, was going to join us again and we hoped to be away by midday. At 11.30am we moved out of the safety of Castle Quays into the unknown. Well, you do have to decide for yourself, but as in last blog, do not be put of; the locks were no harder than most others, some do have a chain and winch mechanism for opening and closing the gates and this does take a bit of head scratching to work out which way to wind. The water was clean with next to no floating rubbish and yes, the canal is hemmed in by tall building and passes underneath several, but nobody appeared to be loitering with anything except questions as to ‘Have you really come from Oxford’ and ‘Where are you heading to’ I guess the time of day you pass through is important, but as long as you are above Dale Street Lock no. 84, before BW padlock it at 4.30pm, there is no problem, but allow three hours. We took an hour out for lunch just above lock 87 and still arrived at Ducie Basin at 3.30pm.
We walked Lynne back to her car past the ‘Gay’ village, elevated above the canal and wished her on her way with much thanks for her help with the locks. On the way back to SKYY we stopped of in this vibrant area and enjoyed a drink and a spot people watching, very colourful.