Wet and windy, that’s a description of the weather, not our attitude to tackling the eighteen locks of the Aston Canal. There was no sign of anybody, naughty or not, as we set off at eight o’clock, but the foul weather saw to that as well as the gentrified accommodation which has incorporated the original cranes and basins that have replaced all the old foundries and factories at Ancoats. Our progress was slowed at lock two where the water in the pound was reduced to protect a dam that separated the canal from a new marina that was in its final stages of construction next to the high rise apartments at Islington Wharf.
The Beswick section of locks is beside the impressive Sport City Stadium, which was built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games and is now home to Manchester City Football Club as well as a host of other sporting centres. The weather was truly appalling, but Jacquie preferred to work the locks rather than trying to control the boat is the high winds. The sighting of an Aldi store near lock 13 was all it needed for Jacquie to insist that we pause for some essential supplies and a spot of lunch and I took the opportunity to light the stove to help us warm up and dry out for when we finally reached our destination.
The wind dropped and for the last few locks and a couple of swing bridges Jacquie took the helm and I applied the muscle, by the time we reached Portland Basin at the Dukinfield Junction with the Hudderfield Narrow and the Peak Forest Canals, the rain had stopped and we also felt the need to stop.
We entered The Portland Basin Marina only to find that it didn’t open out as we expected, but got tighter and tighter, but we were given a warm welcome and invited to tie up for the night alongside the service area.