This post continues our narrowboat journey from Summit to Castleton on the Rochdale Canal
Wednesday 13th November
Our cruise today was from Summit to Littleborough. 9 Locks. 1.25 miles.
I managed to ground the boat! I was waiting for Paul to open the lock and was floating against the side of the canal when I got distracted by talking to a lovely lady who was asking about the name of our boat. As I turned from her to see how the lock was progressing, Hang Loose was listing sideways and grounded!! Paul had already spotted what was happening and was walking back towards me. He let a little water down from the lock above and I was soon floating again. Very scary how quickly these things happen and a reminder to not take your eye off what’s happening!
The locks were pretty tough again – some of the gates are so heavy and difficult to open. Also, although they are double locks there were two that we had to go through one at a time due to subsidence. Despite this it was a lovely cruise again – quite cold and a couple of little showers but the sun kept trying to peep through.
We filled with water at moored up opposite Durn services.
Unfortunately no rings here but the pins went in ok. It’s a 2 week mooring spot but we will stay for 3 nights. Today has been a little challenging and Rosemary’s words of wisdom today were that we needed to find a pub and have a beer or two – so off we went. We found a little boozer called The Red Lion. It doesn’t serve food but the beer is £2.20 a pint! We like it here.
Littleborough is a bustling little town with lots of shops. There’s a Co-Op and a Lidl. I also found a very nice butchers. The Coach Heritage Centre, opposite the church, is a grade II listed building.
The tourist information is here and a lovely little cafe called The Cherry Tree Cafe, where we had a lovely meal yesterday.
Thursday 14th November
It is our lovely Lady Rosemary’s Birthday tomorrow (oops sorry if I wasn’t supposed to mention that). Tonight we went for a meal at The Rake to celebrate.
It is a Tapas restaurant and it’s amazing – the best Tapas I’ve ever had. It was a really lovely evening – Happy Birthday Rosemary .
The weather has been awful today. It’s really windy and the canal is very choppy. You would not want to be out cruising today! It’s been bitterly cold and raining most of the day.
Friday 15th November
It is still really windy and cold but the rain has eased off a little. We went back to the Summit Inn for a birthday lunch with Rosemary and Bob and their friends – Pete and Jill.
We have eaten here when we were moored right by it and it was delicious food. Today was just as good again. It’s really worth a visit if you’re cruising by. The food is so good and on Monday to Thursday it’s £10 for 2 meals between 12 and 5. Very dog-friendly too.
Saturday 16th November
We left Littleborough today and cruised to Castleton. Our mooring was just after lock 51. Today’s section of the Rochdale Canal was really not as stunning as it as been, but still pretty. It is just a bit spoiled by the fact there is so much rubbish in the canal.
There was just so much rubbish in the canal, including shopping trolleys, a fridge and just so many empty plastic bottles and cans – so sad! We only did 5 locks today although the first lock we had to do one by one again. There were also two swingbridges! We thought today was going to be a really easy day! We even had a cruise of about 3 miles with no locks – this hasn’t happened for quite some time! However, I don’t really think that any part of the Rochdale Canal could be described as easy! We also got a lot of rubbish stuck around the prop – ours wasn’t quite as bad as Bob and Rosemary’s though – it was mostly plastic around ours but theirs even had clothing round it. It’s such a shame that the canal looks so unloved and uncherished In this area!
Until 1875 Castleton was known as Blue Pits – the name derived from a small local quarry which mined a blue-coloured sand. Around 200 years ago, Blue Pits was just a few small hamlets on the Castleton Moor. In 1875 Blue Pits became an Urban District Council and changed its name to Castleton. The name Castleton came from an old Saxon castle or watch tower that stood on the hills of Castleton Moor which was referred to as the ‘Castle on the Ton’ and hence the name Castleton.
We moored up – and surprisingly, went to the pub! The Blue Pits Inn was our pub of choice tonight and there is an old morgue in the cellars! The landlady kindly took us down to have a look. Very spooky. The story is that they used to bring the body’s in from the canal into the morgue. One day, a guy that used to work there killed a girl and threw her body into the canal. Her body was pulled out of the canal and taken into the morgue and laid on one of the mortuary slabs. That slab remains damp to this day – yet the other slab is bone dry!!!! Apparently there’s one or two other souls hanging around down there too!
We had a good night at this pub – very friendly locals and the beer was cheap too.
Another good pub here was The Old Post Office. They even had Hang Loose on tap – brilliant! Very nice it was too. This was another really good little community pub with very friendly and welcoming locals.
We moored just after Lock 51 and as we were going down a young couple were watching – or to use the proper term, gongoozling. They had never seen two boats going down together. In fact, lots of the locals were saying that it’s quite unusual at this time of year. We were advised as soon as we moored up to move further along where it was quieter but we decided to stay put. We had no trouble at all and stayed 3 nights.
Our journey from Summit to Castleton on the Rochdale Canal has covered 7 miles and 14 locks.