Heading for Manchester

On April Fools’ Day we toiled our way down the Marple locks with Peter and Meagan on nb Moonlight Shadow. No photos I’m afraid on account of the fact that it was bloody hard work and there just wasn’t time. Paul and Elaine from nb Caxton generously walked up from Romiley and helped us out which sped up the process no end! Paul also pointed us at a great source of wood by the towpath and we’ve managed to re-stock our roof log store.

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Gordon (bedecked in his April Fools’ hat) restocks the wood supply assisted by Paul

We took a break after the locks and the wood gathering and all packed aboard Ewn Ha Cul for some homemade soup.

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We stopped for the day at Ashton under Lyne where we joined up with Ray & Diane and took the opportunity to wander round the market with a side visit to Ikea.

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These three little pigs in Ashton Market definitely didn’t get the better of the big bad wolf!

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Ray & Diane make friends with one of the locals

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We suffered a great deal of piss taking over our purchase of so many of these fine dish washing brushes in Ikea but it’s the only place we’ve found that stocks the ones that stick to the side of the sink with a sucker.

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Is this the first towpath picnic of the season?

The next day we set off up the Ashton Canal. There are many stories about how dodgy this canal is with kids lobbing bricks at boats and nicking anything that isn’t nailed down so we were all a bit nervous. Our experience was very different. People were by and large chatty and friendly and the bunch of kids we met at a lock only wanted to help.

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Arriving into Manchester on the Ashton Canal past the ‘Chips’ building which is supposed to look like a stack of chunky chips.

Manchester marks the parting of the ways for us with the Aussie boats. They’re heading west to Liverpool and we’re heading up over Pennines on the Rochdale Canal – a chance for the final goodbye dinner.

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It was quite emotional the next day to see everyone off as they headed down the Rochdale Canal under Canal Street.

Leaving Manchester on the Rochdale

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We’ve had a great few weeks cruising with them after a wonderful winter in Aston Marina. It’s the nature of the boating life style that you make such good intense friendships part ways and head off in different directions. Thanks for the journey everyone – we’ve enjoyed every minute of it!

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