Sunday, April 7, 2013

Back into the Blogasphere - oh, and the Ashton !

Elaine here ...

Well, no we didn't come a cropper on the Ashton flight - we ran out of internet data so we havn't been able to blog for a few days !!  Bit of catching up to do !

On Tuesday we had a day off so we left Portland Basin to go for a bit of a walkabout - Paul had been wanting to go to the Railway bar at Stalybridge for a long time, so we set off in its general direction!

It is so, so sad to see so much rubbish around the streets and around the canals ... this area was particularly bad, as you can see ... it got even worse just around the corner :(

Unbelievable ...

We carried on our way ... spotting this old bus along the way!  

Eventually we got it to the Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar - really lovely place and amazingly doggy friendly, so we stoppef for lunch!

The dogs got a bowl of water brought out to them too, so they were happy ...

... and so was the ol' boy!

It sits ritght on the platform of Stalybridge station ... dates right back to 1885 apparently!

We decided to get the train back to Ashton and while there, trying to find our way back to the boat, we literally bumped into our travelling companions, Dot, Gordon, Ray and Diane, who were just heading back to 'camp' from their shopping trip!  So we headed back together and set up beside the boats for afternoon tea ... not the most picturesque of spots - but very civilised nonetheless!
Ray being 'klssed' by Sammy !
As you can see by our attire, it was pretty chilly but no colder than sitting in the outdoor huts at Aston Marina !

Eventually - on Wednesday - the day had arrived for our descent down the might Ashton !  Dot and Gordon set off first to get water at the top lock - and the rest of us followed on !  We were all surprised to find that the locks were all single ... for some reason we had all thought they were double locks - even the boat that came in behind us all had thought they were double too !  There must be some misinformation somewhere !

As Dot and Gordon were on the water point, Ray and Diane went down first (NB Ferndale), followed by Meagan and Peter (NB Moonshadow), the Dot and Gordon (NB Ewn Ha Cul) - then us in lucky last posi - as we had to hang back to get water also !

There are 18 locks in all and most of them are the hydraulic type locks, which was a relief after doing the very very hard Marple flight!  All the lock gates have anti-vandal mechanisms on them too, so it would be a slow process if you were on your own, unlocking and locking them all again !  Luckily we had a boat coming down behind us and boats in front of us, so we didn't have to bother!  Towards the mid to the end of the flight there were about six boats on the way up also!

It was a very pleasant day's locking all in all - the only kids we encountered were delightful and helped us with the gates at one lock !

As we approached the second to last lock, Ray appeared - he had already moored up and walked up to help us down the final two - great !  Ray and I were preparing the last lock for Paul to drive straight into when 'poof' ... the engine stalled mid pound ... there was stuff in the prop!  It took Paul about 45 mins to detach this tent ...
Zip an' all !
Eventually we set off again ... into the last lock of the day !  Amazing buildings around this area ...

Ray and Diane had managed to secure us a brilliant mooring in the Thomas Telford Basin at Picadilly ... we snuggled up next to NB Ewn Ha Cul ...It was a tight squeeze, about 1 ft front and back.  

Lovely and sunny too !

A local resident ... angry dog

We went walkabout to have a look at our up-coming junction ...

Loving the duck houses scattered about ...
Rubber, twisted gear eh ?!

We sat on a bench at Piccadily to do some people-watching.  We thought maybe if we put our hat down people might drop a few coins in there !
Then we bumped into Ray and Diane (getting to be a habit!) and went back to the boat for a Nanna-Nap !

We met up with the other guys at 7 pm to headout for our 'final supper' before going our separate ways !
We found a great pub in Piccadily - where we all played up a bit ...  
Gordon's favourite t-shirt
Dot and Diane
The Gang
Paul, Dot and Diane making sure they are all 'friends' on FB before we all go our separate ways !

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