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  • clivenmel

Oct 17th

Normal 0 false false false st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} Today?s blog is going to be short and not very sweet!  There are no photos - we didn't take any!   We left Littleborough around 10.15 this morning ? yes I know that is very late ? as we discovered to our cost later in the day!!  The first part of our day went quite well, the first couple of miles were uneventful and even better there were no locks!  We noticed straight away how different the scenery was now that we had crossed over the Pennines to ?t?other side?!  It was much more open, rather than being enclosed by hills as we had been on the way up to?t summit!    However, this tranquillity was not to last for long??????  The first excitement was a swing bridge, this one was relatively easy to deal with and we were soon on our way.  About a mile and a half later was another swing bridge ? this one was a bit like doing the Crypton Factor!  There was a handle to unlock and then lift and turn, then a box with a handcuff lock on it which had to be opened with the Anti-Vandal key ? when I opened the box there was another lock inside which had to be opened with the AV key as well!  I was beginning to wonder what calibre of vandals they had around here!!  Anyway, I got it sorted eventually and once again we were on our way.    The next excitement was the two Moss Locks in Rochdale, however we noticed as we were cruising towards them that the canal was absolutely horrible, it was full of every kind of rubbish imaginable, really filthy!  We managed to negotiate the two locks which were in a rather grotty, built up, decayed (run out of ?orrible adjectives!) place.  Soon after we had got through them we passed under a road bridge and Clive said we had a mile or so before the next locks so I took the opportunity to go and put the kettle on.  However whilst I was in the galley the boat made a horrible banging noise and we seemed to slow right down.  I shot back up to see what was going on and Clive said ?it just stopped!!?.  Off he went down into the engine compartment but couldn?t find anything amiss so he checked the ?weed hatch? but again couldn?t see anything there either.  He phoned the RCR to ask for some advice etc and they said they would send a local engineer who would phone first.  He duly did and Clive had a chat with him and explained what had happened.  The chap asked Clive lots of questions and came to the conclusion there didn?t seem to be anything wrong with the engine or gearbox ? a blessed relief ? but what the heck was it!  Clive was looking into the water at the back of  the boat and wiggling the rudder when he saw something in the water but couldn?t reach it, so he went back down the weed hatch again and felt around and grabbed something ? he heaved it out and it turned out to be somebody?s black woolly pully!!  Sure enough the engine started like it was brand new!!  We cancelled the mechanic and set off again.    By this time Clive was totally paranoid and kept checking the weed hatch ? he fished out Tescos bags, fishing line, bits of string etc etc then unbelievable whilst he was in the bottom of an emptying lock everything stopped again!  This time on checking the weed hatch he found about 3 metres of climbing rope, in knots with a rather intricate bowline at one point wrapped solidly around the prop shaft!  A trusty sharp knife came to the rescue and finally the rope came out in several bits!  Off we went again!   We were absolutely appalled at the state of this part of the canal, it really is a mess and has nothing to recommend it.  We cannot blame the British Waterways guys for this because they really do a sterling job on very limited funds, it is the people who live along the waterways and still use it as a refuse dump who are to blame!   Clive keeps telling me that we should stop travelling by no later than 4.00pm in the afternoon, however, our deadline for getting through Manchester meant that we had to reach Lock No 63 by the end of today, it was an absolute must in order to get through Manchester on Saturday.   So we had to slog on after the sun had set, we only had three more locks to go but it was getting really dark and believe me it is no fun in the dark!  We finally arrived, at 7.30pm, at some really welcome moorings which just happened to be right outside a lovely pub called (this is hard for someone from Yorkshire to admit!) The Rose of Lancaster!!  However, we have just had a lovely meal, a couple of pints of great Lees bitter (Clive) and a large glass or two of red wine (Mel).   If we thought the Rochdale canal was bad, we ain?t seen nuthin yet!!  We have heard some real horror stories about the next stretch down into Manchester ? it is known as ?Bandit Country?!  Fortunately we will be assisted down the locks by a BW guy ? I wonder if he will be armed!?  I am sure it won?t be as bad as we have been led to believe, but its not woolly pullies and rope we will have to watch out for, more like abandoned shopping trolleys and the like!   Now, this is not to decry the other side of the Pennines and it?s not a new War of the Roses!  I must say however that it is the dirtiest and most unpleasant stretch of canal we have seen on our journey to date, even worse than Stoke on Trent and that was bad enough!   Actually, it is of interest to note that since the ludicrous local government reorganisation of the ?70?s, no part of the Rochdale Canal is in Lancashire! It?s actually in Greater Manchester ? locally known as GM. I was wondering if this really stood for Greater Manchester or could it be Genetically Modified, in reference to the walnut-size brained yobbo?s who can frequent the canalside on occasions?.   However, that?s for tomorrow, so will we survive? If you see another blog, all is well!  

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