Instead of the dirty dozen, it was the dirty nine today. We started the infamous western end of the Rochdale Canal this morning, all on our ownsome. From our spam marketing campaign of other boaters in the basin, unfortunately, we did not get anyone who wanted to ascend the Rochdale nine with us. So, plan B went into action. As we cruised past a couple of guys who had come down the 9 yesterday, they wished us good luck with a rather ominous chuckle.
Don’t let this lovely photo fool you into thinking that what is ahead is as picturesque. This is lock 92 – meaning that is how many locks we must do on the Rochdale. There has been a lot of planning and discussion that has gone into doing this canal as we have been told by many that it is a beast. Reasons it is a beast. The western end of it is bandit country, locks very poorly maintained, double locks and often no one to twin up with and there is a shit load of locks in a short distance. Hmm, so why are we doing it?To be explained later.
So, whilst Di was waiting at the bottom, we got a freeloader.
In fact, a very curious free loader. He was obviously someone’s pet as he had a collar on and very friendly. He proceeded to stowaway in the boat until Di went and retrieved him.
Our progress was steady and our technique perfect for the conditions. There were several surprise wind tunnels coming in from the east which created for some interesting maneuvers.
We had walked the Rochdale 9 back in 2016, so we knew the lay of the land. It was more about what kind of condition the locks were in and to our surprise, most of them were manageable with one person.
There wasn’t much to see along the way except this sculpture. We guess it was in honour to the canal horses that use to ply this path.
Then it was into the last two locks where it became very seedy. There had certainly been an effort to clean it since we were last here but unfortunately there were number of extremely unsavoury characters carrying on with lewd acts. It appears that a female standing on the back of a canal boat did not hinder them in their activities.
We did the stretch in three hours which was great with no real issues. Our spot to moor up for the night was in a little alcove that is tucked away and totally secure. We were hoping to get to the private marina a couple of locks up, but we were unsuccessful in contacting anyone to confirm a mooring. Oh well, our spot where we were was safe.