We just travelled down to Droylsden Marina for the overnight stay as the weather was dire and I wasn’t sure quite where on the Peak Forest was suitable to moor up close to somewhere we could eat.
Droylsden Marina can be booked by calling Portland Basin Marina to check if there are spare moorings. They will then pass a message to Jane who will tell you where to moor when you arrive. This costs £6 per night payable to Jane on pontoon #6 when you arrive.
The marina is secure (via a combination lock), there is a reasonable Tesco across the road (100 yards max) or supplies.
We ate at Giovanni’s Italian restaurant http://www.giovannis.org.uk/ which is less than 5 minutes away from the marina. This was an excellent family run restaurant which we definitely recommend, however I suggest that you make a booking (via the website or phone) as it was quite busy.
Travelled down the Ashton with no troubles apart from the locked swing bridge that we mentioned earlier. This was the moment my eldest excelled himself by dropping one of the handcuff keys in a lock which slowed us down somewhat. In retrospect I think putting lanyards around the keys so they can be hung around your neck or tied to a belt loop would prevent this happening.
The Etihad Stadium is a only a step away from the canal and is worth a visit if you (or more likely your sons) are that way inclined. There are good moorings at this point (although goose poo seems to be an all present hazard).
There were no people problems in the Ashton at all.
We moored up in the New Islington Marina which we pre-arranged with Ben although he didn’t think this was necessary to do so.
The marina has excellent boaters facilities including a decent shower.
We didn’t eat out this evening although we did have a wander about and had an excellent coffee at The Vivid Lounge http://www.vividlounge.co.uk/ , the food there looked good as well. This is right on the Ashton Canal and you pass it on the way down.
Talking to neighbouring boaters there is also excellent Chinese restaurant on the other side of the canal to the marina. I can’t remember the name but from their description I think it’s the http://www.glamorous-restaurant.co.uk/index.html , it looks a bit of a walk though.
We set off to do the Rochdale with a couple in a neighbouring boat that we met in the marina, this made it a lot easier. It might be a good idea to ask if you stay at the marina if anyone is going that way. It made a big difference.
The passage out of Manchester was hard work, water levels were low and the litter in the canal was dispiriting. You are going to get acquainted with the weed hatch no matter how slow you go.
We moored up past the Rose of Lancaster just over the Irk Aqueduct. We couldn’t see the water point here so I don’t recommend you rely on it.
No problems on this leg, big Tesco by the canal in Rochdale. We moored up for the night at Littleborough above Lock 47.
Littlebrorough seems a decent place, we shopped at the small Sainsburys there but they seem to have a lot of interesting shops.
We ate at the Mediterranean Tapas http://www.raketapas.co.uk/ 100 yards up the road. This provided the best meal out of the holiday, hugely recommended. It would make a great night out for a group of friends, you will definitely need to book though, it was very busy even on a Tuesday evening).
One point to note, although the railway is very close here (as it is on most of the journey) it isn’t noisy and didn’t disturb us during the night.
Water point at Littleborough is good – very high flow.
No problems going over the summit.
Lots more water on the East side of the summit, in one case actually preventing us from opening the top gates for a while.
The canal got busier as well here, prior to this point we had only met 7 boats in total from leaving Ashton.
Moored for the night in Walsden, below Lock 30.
Ate in Grandma Pollards which was good, best of all though were the pies we bought for the following day.
Briefly stopped in Todmorden for water but didn’t explore as it didn’t look too exciting, went on down to Hebden Bridge and moored outside the Stubbing Wharf.
The Stubbing Wharf has good food and beer. A crew member went on a wander and reckoned that The Old Gate in the town centre had the best pint he’d had in years.
Spent the morning wandering Hebden Bridge which was time well spent, it’s a really nice place so boaters should make a space in their itinerary for a visit.
No problems on the way down the canal although the water point in Hebden Bridge has to be the slowest trickle on the canal. We gave up after 15 minutes and carried on with half full tanks.
We ate in the Weavers Arms, this is a pub that has been modernised but is fine for all that. Food was good as was the beer. Again, recommended. We got free olives & bread as we had to wait for food due to a large party that ordered just before us.
Some noise from the road but this quietened down at night.
Through Tuel Lane locks at 8.30 and in base by 9.30.