This is the one where we reach the end of the Rochdale Canal! Our journey over the Pennines has been fabulous, if a little challenging at times! We have been very lucky and had no trouble from any locals. The most challenging part has been the big heavy lock gates, broken paddles and the water levels being rather unpredictable at times. There is also a distinct lack of facilities unfortunately.
There are 92 locks on the Rochdale Canal and luckily we did have help down the Manchester 18 from a brilliant volunteer lock keeper called Ian. He was so helpful and knows this canal like the back of his hand. This is the one section where you can call CRT and ask them to get you help and I would definitely recommend that you do as it’s so helpful to have an expert to guide you along. Thank you Ian.
Castleton to Chadderton – 19th November 2019
Today our cruise takes us from Castleton to the Rose of Lancaster pub at Chadderton. A total of 3 miles and 11 locks.
We did pop into the Rose of Lancaster but we really weren’t impressed. The beer was really expensive for a start! It was an unheated room at the back that we sat in where dogs were allowed, and the staff were not at all friendly. Needless to say, we had a couple of pints and went back to our boats!
Chadderton to New Islington Marina – 20th November 2019
We left at 8am the next day as this leg of our journey takes us from Chadderton to New Islington Marina. This is a total of 6.5 miles, 18 locks and one hydraulic (vertically lifting) bridge (CRT key needed). The lift bridge was the first on the list, and I really don’t think the car drivers were very happy that it was being opened at 8.30am.
Bob had rang CRT and requested help from a volunteer to get through these 18 locks and as I have already mentioned, it was definitely worth it.
It was a very long and tiring day and sadly there is a lot of rubbish in the canal – we lost count of how many shopping trolleys have been dumped in there, especially at Failsworth, where there is a big Tesco!
New Islington Marina is where we moored for 3 nights and we really enjoyed it. We are now in Manchester city centre so it was a little bit noisy especially as we were moored right outside a bar. We had already decided that a takeaway would be a good idea after today’s cruise, so we went for a wander and had a well-deserved pint at Edinburgh Castle – well, we had two actually!
Paul and Bob then went to fetch a chinese takeaway, which we had with Bob and Rosemary on their boat. It was delicious!
There are obviously loads of shops, but just across the road from the mooring is an Aldi, M&S Outlet and Go Outdoors that were very handy. There was also a gym – we did not go there!
All the Christmas markets were on so one night we had a wander around those, which was lovely.
The gluhwein was particularly good. We didn’t really buy much but everything looked so pretty. Rosemary and I both bought a new pair of fingerless gloves as it’s getting very cold doing all these locks!! We also found a Barbour shop – guess who got a new coat – and no it wasn’t me!
We also spotted a lovely boat call the Naughty Lass, but sadly we didn’t get to meet her owner. If you haven’t already watched it, Robbie Cummings has made a series for BBC4 called Canal Boat Diaries. You can watch it on IPlayer if you missed it. It’s really good and he seems like a really lovely guy. His programme covers the exact same journey as we have done this year so it was particularly interesting for us. Well worth a watch!
New Islington Marina to Castlefield – 23rd November 2019
Our final set of locks on The Rochdale Canal today! 11 locks, which include the famous, or infamous, Rochdale Nine!
There are sections where there is no towpath, and alongside Canal Street there is a high wall and safety fence to prevent access to the lock.
This turned out to be quite a challenge as the pound below Lock 86 was virtually empty. We let some water down to fill it up (yes we did ring CRT – to no avail!) but unfortunately when we managed to get to the next lock there was still not enough water and NB Sefton was grounded. Although I rang CRT, it was hopeless. The lady on the phone couldn’t get through to anyone in the area and said she would send an e-mail to them, which they would hopefully pick up at some point that day!! Not really helpful when the boat is already grounded and listing over. This pound also has no towpath, so Paul had to walk back up Canal Street, climb over the wall and safety fence to get down to the lock to let some more water down and then climb back over – what a palaver! We were really not impressed with CRT today!
However, despite the challenges and the warnings about this section, I enjoyed it. It’s the most urban section of canal I have ever been through and probably the hardest work. I loved the section that goes past all the bars.
It’s also lovely to go and have a walk along there in the evening. I did see a couple of local youths hanging around in the underground section, but they were really friendly. The other downside was the amount of rubbish getting wrapped round our props again, we had a coat and jumper and Bob had a lady’s jacket, bag and a belt!
We arrived at Castlefield Basin and although we managed to both get a mooring, we had to move. We had moored in someone’s spot and they returned not long after we had moored up. They were lovely and suggested a mooring spot alongside another boat. We did managed to move the next day when another mooring became available. There really aren’t many available mooring spots as a lot of them are now private moorings (some without signs yet!).
So, we reach the end of the Rochdale Canal! We stayed at Castlefield for 3 nights and loved it. It’s very busy, but well lit and an easy walk into Manchester city centre.
We went for a meal on our first night to a fabulous Indian Street Food restaurant called the Indian Tiffin Room – the food was so good. We all loved it and highly recommend it.
Chan and Ross visited on the Sunday evening as they were going to see the Lumineers at Manchester Arena. We went for a lovely meal at Wagamamas before their concert and it was so good to see them, we miss them all the time.
I think Tilly is worn out!
She loves her new toy though!
So, that’s the end of the Rochdale Canal – what an experience. We have met some lovely people along the way and have thoroughly enjoyed our journey with Captain Bob and Lady Rosemary. You two are the best! And this is another absolutely scrumptious meal cooked for us by our lovely Lady Rosemary.
And it’s not over yet – we will continue our travels together along the Bridgewater Canal and onto the Trent and Mersey.