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.