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Sunday, 16 June 2013

Ashton 18.

After nipping across the road to get the Sunday paper we were off on the arduous journey down the 18 locks to Manchester. Pearson's guide says it should take about 4 hours.

Top Lock, No.18, Fairfield Locks.

It was overcast but not raining and we were keen and eager to get going after a week alongside. We soon realised that our progress was going to be slower than we had hoped as we only have one handcuff key. The paddles in areas prone to vandalism are locked so that they can not be opened and all the pounds drained. This means that each one has to be undone and then closed when you leave. Even though I drive the boat in/out the lock I also assist with the gates and paddles and if it is a bit of a walk from one to the next I can get there first and prepare the lock, but not on this flight without a handcuff key!

Looking back at the top lock. The two Fairfield Locks were duplicated in the past but only one is now usable. The bridge is called the 'Camel's Hump'.

The Etihad Stadium seen from Lock 9.

In the middle of the flight are the stadiums that were erected for the 2002 Commonwealth Games that were awarded to Manchester. These include the National Velopark, the National Squash Centre, the Manchester Stadium. With the Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City they make up and area of the place called Sports City. There is a huge area under development that is to be the Manchester City Football Academy. There are to be 16.5 football pitches, facilities for 400 academy players and accommodation for 40, plus other buildings for the the first team. There is also to be benefit to the local community.

Footbridge to the Manchester Velopark.

British cyclists seem to dominate world cycling at the moment all seem to point to the fact that this velopark that was built for the Commonwealth Games was the start of the rise as all national cycle training was concentrated here and so everything could be more 'professional'.

No.2 Lock Ancoats Locks.

The closer you get to Manchester Centre the more development has taken place. The new apartment buildings seem to be not as well made as the old mills that they have replaced. The Chips Building overlooks the canal and is juxtapositioned  with the old lock buildings

No.1 Bottom lock.

Helen not looking quite so fresh after 18 locks. Everyone was set against us and everyone had the handcuff keys on. We started at 0930 and finished, tied up opposite Paradise Basin at 1445. A total 5.25 hours. I reckon we could have cut the best part of an hour off that with two handcuff keys. Once moored up. I went off in the search of a sweeping brush at the nearby Aldi store. No luck there so picked up some chocolate to revive us. I then went in to Piccadilly Gardens to the Home Bargains there. I came back with my trophy. Meanwhile Helen was making butterfly buns, rhubarb crumble and a loaf of bread. Tomorrow the Rochdale Nine.


  1. Helen you look knackered but happy. You'll soon have big guns and a 6 pack!!!!
    I recognise the stadium, was it the Etihad we visited 2 years ago to see a certain band?
    Love Manchester but think we need to some of the sights you're seeing.
    I've got a lovely recipe which would be easy for you to bake on board, its sour cream and blueberries with a crumble topping. I baked them in muffin tins as easier to serve but the original recipe is in a loaf tin. I'll pop it on another blog. Think it would work with rhubarb too.

    Lots of love Heather

  2. Hi Heather, Helen seems to be coping okay with the physical effort and with me too. It was Old Trafford you went to see take that at. That is Manchester United and the Etihad is Manchester City. Helen would gratefully receive all recipes and I would also!! I brought some rhubarb from home last week and we are enjoying it in crumble at the moment. Sat Hi to Ann for us.

  3. Helen you have a short memory....Old Trafford was 2009, Etihad was 2011 when it took us an hour to get out of the car park. We drove home as Jon and the boys were in Cornwall so had to get back for Milly.
    Recipe for Blueberry and sour cream loaf:
    50ml veg oil, 2 eggs, 200ml soured cream or nat yog, 2 tsp vanilla (opt), 200g s r flour, 175g caster sugar and 125g blueberries or there about. Mix eggs, cream, oil and vanilla pour into a bowl with the flour and sugar and mix well (don't worry about any lumps). fold in blueberries and pour into either a loaf tin or 12 muffin tins lined with paper. To make the crumble: Rub 15g butter into 40g plain flour and 50g brown sugar or whatever you have. Sprinkle liberally in top of mixture and add a couple of fresh blueberries to each muffin. Bake at 180 for approx 20 - 25 mins. Serve warm. Enjoy.

    Lots of love Heather

  4. Hi Heather, yes I understand that I was given false information and told Helen to text you immediately I realised to rectify the point. Thanks for the recipe. We have bought some raspberries to try it with. We are now in Wigan.