Well last night it rained, this morning it rained, this afternoon it rained and its still raining now.
We new we had a good day ahead of us so we set off at 0900 hrs a short way behind the hire boat that was moored directly in front of us. As we rounded Dunkinfield Junction there moored ahead of us was the historic wooden butty "Hazel" Hazel is being run as a well-being break for people with mental or physical problems.
By China Bridge we passed an old boat yard, in the yard was an equally old crane looking in fine fettle. There was also a great deal of railway memorabilia including a railway signal but maybe its not that old.
A little further on under the M6 motorway bridge, which is more like a tunnel, there is even notices saying which end is nearest in case of emergency, we came across this butty moored up to the off side, it looked as if it had a CRT enforcement notice attached to the tiller.
A little further down beside one of the locks for some reason the IWA (Inland Waterways Association) have planted a small vegetable garden, I don't know the reasoning behind it but some one has taken a fancy to at least two of the plants in there.
Almost next door is a building that leans, it really comes home to you when you look at the side door which is not rectangular but leaning as well like the cladding panels. This is the far building in the photo and it leans back to the left.
We needed to find a mooring in Manchester before we tackle the Rochdale 9 locks tomorrow, we passed some moorings on the left because we saw this sign, we were unable to read the small print, I wonder how many visiting boats moor there overnight. However on the towpath side about 50 yard on there is room for three boats our size, luckily there were only two there with a nice Harnser sized gap between them.
I was very surprised the state of the Ashton locks, it all looked very clean and trim, CRT have fitted several new gates and most of the lock paddles are hydraulic so easy to draw. All the lock winding gear is fitted with anti vandal locks and they all work. Some of the locks still have the old steps let into the brick work for just a toe and finger hold, I think I prefer the steel ladders and one of the looks had leaky walls so you had to watch you didn't get a puddle through the slide as you came out. There was also a couple of the 18 locks which only had one operational paddle but it was far better than when we came down about 20 years ago when you had to have a British Waterways escort because of the vandalism.