April 11

Steppin’ out; a few plans and thoughts before the maiden voyage.


Yes I’ve just about recovered from my days outing and I am getting quite excited and nervous as the day of reckoning approaches. The survey is Monday and I really hope it goes through with out any real issues then my crew member and me will go up the following Sunday to bring her back home after parting with a sizable amount of money.

I do realise that it won’t all be simple unadorned nautical travelling with wind assistance but we are both fairly laid back and will take it has it comes. Steve has slightly less experience of boats and canals than I have, we will need blessings from above in abundance, and due to the stoppage near Dutton we shall have to go into Manchester to pick up the Macclesfield and then back to the Trent and Mersey below the stoppage.

The first bit on the map, the Bridgewater canal has no locks, so we should make good time and reach the end by Sunday night. This is the plan anyway, however the next little bit, 16 miles down to the Macclesfield canal seems to have approximately 852,624 locks, so day two may see us gain a little experience on the locking front. Is it possible to do all of them in one day, I think there is 44, or will we need to moor up for the night while going through Manchester.

Does anyone have any suggestions of good places for mooring on this part of the journey? I’m guessing some parts are not always friendly. Information on this would be very useful. Also any hints tips on doing so many locks in such a short space, we will be swapping over frequently and seeing what comes.

I’m beginning to feel like a teenager again and I know when I pick the boat up I’m going to have an enormouse stupid grin but I don’t care. I haven’t felt this excited and enthusiastic about something for many years. My advice to anyone who finds something which makes them feel alive again whether it’s boats or knitting then go for it because I guess we’ve all spent far too long bored and fed up with our lives and the society we have to live. Lets take on the world like we wanted to do when we stupid teenagers, this is the Weston’s organic still cider talking now, two pints counts as one of your five a day. If you have children start behaving in ways that make them nervous and worry, they did it to you.

I will definitely update Monday with the results of the survey so I hope you all have a good weekend and we see a bit of the sun too.

God bless you


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  1. I can feel your excitement! I can’t wait to hear how you get on with your maiden voyage.

    With regard to doing the locks in one day, forget it. The rule of thumb is that one lock will take you about the same amount of time as one mile’s travel. At a maximum of four miles an hour, a mile takes at least fifteen minutes. A lock will take you about the same amount of time so 44 locks could take you eleven hours.

    You’ll have to break your journey but try to stop away from the less pleasant parts of any built up areas. You’ll be fine, but it you get a bad area about an area you’re passing, keep travelling. Speak to other boaters coming in the opposite direction as you travel. Ask them where they moored the previous night and where they’ve seen as they cruised that looks like a good place to moor.

  2. Good on you, Nige. I was so excited when I moved onboard and even more so the day before I started cruising.  It was rather a strange feeling not having the car sitting outside to jump into if I needed anything.

    Can’t help with moorings but fingers crossed for Monday.

  3. Nige

    There are plenty of moorings on the Bridgewater but after Sale your next stop will be at the start of the Rochdale 9. Don’t miss the sanitary station just before the locks. It is a bit of a trek to the next. If you don’t want to go up the locks straightaway then go left and moor in the basin. Plenty of room and you can turn at the end.

    The Rochdale 9 can be a bit of a pain. The locks have no overflow weirs so you may be working the locks with your feet in the water. Also be aware that the towpath is not continuous. You’ll see where you need to ride on by the pontoons. Easy mooring anywhere at the top but tight right hand bend onto the Ashton just above the top lock. No mooring on the Ashton that is considered safe for overnight but very useful Asda half way up. You may find water levels variable so be prepared to run water down. Also, you will need a ‘Water Conservation Key’ for the anti-vandal locks. There are two, maybe three, swing bridges Top lock is your next sanitary station but no rubbish! There is Droylsden marina at the top of the locks which is useful for an overnight (used to be £6) otherwise you will need to push in to the junction with the Peak Forest.

    After that it is just a question of finding somewhere you feel good about although our preference would be just before you get to the aqueduct.





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