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Eternal422

Cheshire Ring

20 posts in this topic

We are thinking of combining the Four Counties with the Cheshire Ring for 2 weeks in June this year. Having been on the Four Counties last year I'm quite happy I know about where to overnight, etc. However, the Cheshire Ring is totally new to me so I'm looking for some advice on that.

 

The initial thought is to travel from Aston Marina where we are based, clockwise around the Four Counties and then join up with the Cheshire Ring at Middlewich, returning to the Four Counties ring at Hardings Wood Junction to return to Aston Marina. So this would mean doing the Cheshire Ring clockwise from Middlewich.

 

Having read a bit on here about the Cheshire Ring I was a bit concerned that some sections as well as overnight mooring places, particularly around Manchester, are a bit suspect. However, the thread I was reading was dated 2008, so I'm hoping that things have perhaps improved a bit? I didn't like the thought of one section, through Ashton I think(?), was described as being a good place to collect masonry! Does anyone have any recent experience on this ring along with suggestions for overnight moorings? We are planning on roughly 9 hours of cruising per day so I would expect to get around the ring in a week at most.

 

Many thanks for any and all advice!

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Have a look at the canalplan website for useful information and timings.

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It's nowhere near as bad as it was. The bit from Marple down to Manchester is fairly unpleasant in that it's a bit of a wasteland, and you may find a lot of vandalised locks - I did it a few years back and had to call CRT out to clear one which the lads had dropped a load of masonry into. No yobbo trouble though and there are safe moorings in Manchester. Manchester itself is a joy to boat through now.

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It's nowhere near as bad as it was. The bit from Marple down to Manchester is fairly unpleasant in that it's a bit of a wasteland, and you may find a lot of vandalised locks - I did it a few years back and had to call CRT out to clear one which the lads had dropped a load of masonry into. No yobbo trouble though and there are safe moorings in Manchester. Manchester itself is a joy to boat through now.

Well I wouldn't describe the Rochdale 9 as a joy, exactly...... But the Ashton is certainly far better than it used to be. And I certainly wouldn't describe the Lower Peak Forest as a 'wasteland'. Romiley is a good place to stop.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I have done it a few times, most recent descent of Ashton flight was 2014 I think. I have never had any problems at all with locals, I have met a few people on the Rochdale 9 who seem perfectly friendly even if they are not quite the sort I may choose as my friends! I always find treating others with respect and not pre judging them on appearance produces a friendly response.

 

You could do Castlefield to Dukinfield in one day if you are doing 9 hour days, alternatively you could stop at the top of the Rochdale 9 in Picadilly Village and do it in two days. I like Telford Basin

 

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@53.4790417,-2.2259359,100m/data=!3m1!1e3

 

as it is secure and gated and you can normally get the gate code off a resident but there is a length limit, I have been in in a 52ft boat but I think you can get about 60ft in there. You may need to go in backwards as the right turn into it is quite tight and there is more room if you go past and reverse in.

 

I hope you have an amazing trip.....

Edited by NickF
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Well I wouldn't describe the Rochdale 9 as a joy, exactly...... But the Ashton is certainly far better than it used to be. And I certainly wouldn't describe the Lower Peak Forest as a 'wasteland'. Romiley is a good place to stop.

 

Rochdale nine , sounds like something in strangeways.

 

Actually that's probably a good place for it

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I have never had any problems at all with locals, I have met a few people on the Rochdale 9 who seem perfectly friendly even if they are not quite the sort I may choose as my friends!

Greenie for tact and diplomacy!

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Thanks everyone for your advice.  I'll have a go with canal plan and work out roughly where to stop.  Looking forward to the locks! Nice to hear that things are a better than they were, some of it sounds like the BCN with which we're familiar, so I think it will be a good trip!

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When we did it in 2012 we were advised to get through the Rochdale 9 and the 18 locks on the Ashton before the schools turned out at 3.30pm. So after overnighting in Castlefields (fine) we set off at 7am and with me and a crew of 3 we reached the basin at Dukinfield after about 8 hours.

The Rochdales were fine and there are usually CRT staff there in the high season. Along the Ashton flight there were a few locals in various states of inebriation but they were all friendly as were some kids who were playing truant.

The Rochdale 9 are hard work especially if there is water flowing over the gates. The Ashtons being single width are easier but when we were there the was some depth issues in a couple of the pounds.

You say you've explored the BCN quite a bit and this isn't really any different. You just need the usual common sense of where to stop, and engaging with the locals and you should be fine.

Castlefields isn't a patch on Birmingham City centre but it's nevertheless a great place to moor especially if you wish to explore the city a little.

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My advice would be to consider doing the ring anti clockwise thus taking the water with you when traversing the Ashton Canal, its not unknown for some of the pounds to be low.

There should be no problems on the Lower Peak Forest with the best overnight mooring being just beyond the swing bridge at Dukinfield. This gives a full day to do the Ashton, mooring at Piccadilly Basin before the Rochdale 9 unless of course you do good time then straight on to Castlefield.

If you need water there is a point adjacent to lock 18 on the Ashton, next point being YMCA arm at Castlefield followed by Agden on the Bridgewater.

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As a local who has done the Rochdale and Ashton many times over the last forty years I would say ts is generally much better than it used to be, we went downhill last year in aday from Dukinfield to Castlefield with two adults and two children, and only got stuck once on something on the bottom of lock 13 and had to flush ourselves out.

If going up the Rochdale nine and the Ashton, we have usually set off first thing and got round the Junction at Dukinfield for late afternoon. Have a chat with others at Castlefield and make arrangements to share the wide locks, it is also useful if you go up the Ashton with another boat as one boat unlocks the paddles and the other locks them up after they leave each lock making things a bit quicker. Ashton to Marple is easily done in a day and is surprisingly pretty considering your location in relation to a large city. Try and spare the time for a trip up to Bugsworth if you can it is well worth it.

We reckon about 13 Hrs for the Macclesfield stopping for the evenings at Bolllington for the Vale Inn home of Bollington Brewery and the Queens at Congleton station for their range of beers

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Hi there, we were all planned to do the Cheshire Ring last year, heavily researched and then we were notified of a slippage at Bollington literally 2 days before we set off so we couldn't get round.  We do the 4 counties in May so I'm hoping last year's bad luck won't follow us!!!  I'd recommend Pearson & Son Canal Companion Cheshire Ring book for great up to date info.

We were advised to get through the Ashton before 2pm partly because of nuisances (school holidays) but mainly because of lack of water, apparently this gets worse as the day goes on.

We were going to go clockwise from Acton Bridge and our planned stops (often due to a decent pub in the vicinity) were:

Grappenhall (Rams Head)
Castlefields to get a good start at the Ashton flight
Romiley (a big day but warned not to moor up before Dukinfield)
Adlington Basin
Congleton
Wheelock (Barchetta Italian Canalside)
Acton Bridge

Some big days in there but we only had a week but it might give you some ideas.

 

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I had a couple of bad experiances coming up the Rochdale 9 two years ago...we arrived mid to late afternoon during the Easter holidays. Weather was glorious.

In whole, espeicially the bottom section, the flight is OK - even pleasant. Lots of people milling around, and quite chatty. Lots of canal side bars.

The unpleasantness started when we came alongside Canal Street - that was just unpleasant rather than dangerous - Got off the boat under bridge 97 to operate the lock, an area clearly used by homless people as a toilet, and there was an enormous amount of human faeces on the floor (dogs don't use loo roll right).

Moving up to lock 85, there were a few unpleasant people hanging about under the building, which was OK until a duvet got wrapped around our prop - at this point, as I was distracted, one of the people hanging around tried to board the boat - I can only assume to do a quick run through to nick stuff. He really was determined, and it took a fair bit of "persuasion" from me (and maybe the fact that I had a windlass in my hand) to stop him. We didn't hang around, and actually ended up towing the boat by hand through that lock and lock 84 to get clear of the area. At this point I locked my 10 YO daughter in the cabin for fear of her safety.

We briefly moored at Piccadilly Basin to clear the duvet from the prop, and thought we'd cleared the worst, but then under Ducie street bridge, my daughter asked me what the two guys on the tow path were doing - well, try explaining shooting up drugs to a 10 year old. There was detritous of drug use about too (used syringes etc..).

After that, we moored in Telford Basin, and it was like a different world! Safe, clean and quiet. (we had Domino's pizza from a takeaway a few hundred yards away - but the kids loved it!)

I would go through Manchester again, but I might adjust my timings somewhat - maybe early morning might be better. My advice would be to keep the cabin locked whilst going up the Rochdale 9.

Hopefully, other people's experiances are far better than mine. Manchester is a lovely city.

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@Robster - thanks for the comments : sounds like some of the route is typical inner-city, we've seen similar things around Birmingham, although perhaps not quite as bad as your experiences.  

After all of the comments we are now considering the Four Counties with the Llangollen added on instead of the Cheshire Ring, at least for this year.  Thanks everyone for all your comments and advice, very helpful.

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Four counties is lovely - I've just added a time lapse of it in the cruising diaries section. I really like the Middlewich branch.

Hope I didn't put you off the Cheshire ring - it's a lovely route.

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We went up the Ashton from Telford Basin and didn't see anyone until the penultimate lock last summer. It's reputation should be consigned to history. In short there is nothing to fear on the Cheshire Ring other than me throwing bricks at you from bridge 33 on the Bridgewater. When did you say you would be passing through?

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On 3/15/2017 at 12:23, Eternal422 said:

@Robster - thanks for the comments : sounds like some of the route is typical inner-city, we've seen similar things around Birmingham, although perhaps not quite as bad as your experiences.  

After all of the comments we are now considering the Four Counties with the Llangollen added on instead of the Cheshire Ring, at least for this year.  Thanks everyone for all your comments and advice, very helpful.

What a shame that you have been put off, its a lovely ring, yes I would lock the front doors going through Manchester, especially the Rochdale 9 as the gate paddles are fairly fast so you wouldn't want to risk flooding your boat. It only takes a day to get through Manchester and IMO it's all part of the fun and the contrast.

I must admit as a pharmacist I always explained to my children about the horror stories of drugs I come across with some of the addicts i see at work, if like Robster my daughter had seen people shooting up at 10 years old I would have told her exactly what was going on .... it will help her to make the right decision when she comes across drugs in later life as surely every teenager does at some stage. I never ever told my children not to use drugs i just made sure they knew the facts and let them make there own decisions. I do accept that that is my parenting style and my opinion, I have no right to tell others how to bring up their children but I am just putting an alternative opinion to Robster's.

Sorry I have gone slightly off subject ... have a great trip Eternal422 wherever you go and I hope it's the Cheshire Ring!

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I would echo the point that it's a shame if you've been put off the Cheshire Ring. For me, the Manchester urban section adds interest when mixed with the lovely rural ones. It's a great ring and unpleasant incidents can happen anywhere on the system. 

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On 25/03/2017 at 06:23, NickF said:

I must admit as a pharmacist I always explained to my children about the horror stories of drugs I come across with some of the addicts i see at work, if like Robster my daughter had seen people shooting up at 10 years old I would have told her exactly what was going on .... it will help her to make the right decision when she comes across drugs in later life as surely every teenager does at some stage. I never ever told my children not to use drugs i just made sure they knew the facts and let them make there own decisions. I do accept that that is my parenting style and my opinion, I have no right to tell others how to bring up their children but I am just putting an alternative opinion to Robster's.

No - you have the same opinion as me - and I told her - it's just that the whole experiance of the Rochdale 9, espeicially at lock 85, was a little unpleasant. I'm nowhere near as qualified as you, Nick, but as a firefigher (we also do Ambulance Co-Responding on our station) we do see a fair amount of unpleasant things, and I do try to educate my children accordingly - they are also pretty switched on as a result. Anyway - going off topic.

I loved the Cheshire Ring by the way - and would recommend it to anyone, I guess I just had a bit of a bad experiance.

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8 hours ago, Robster said:

No - you have the same opinion as me - and I told her - it's just that the whole experiance of the Rochdale 9, espeicially at lock 85, was a little unpleasant. I'm nowhere near as qualified as you, Nick, but as a firefigher (we also do Ambulance Co-Responding on our station) we do see a fair amount of unpleasant things, and I do try to educate my children accordingly - they are also pretty switched on as a result. Anyway - going off topic.

I loved the Cheshire Ring by the way - and would recommend it to anyone, I guess I just had a bit of a bad experiance.

Thanks for the reply Robster and I absolutely see your point, Some of the Rochdale 9 is not pleasant territory and whilst I have never felt uncomfortable or threatened myself if I had my daughter there when she was 10 years old I may be more concerned and protective. Somehow my daughter is now 27 ... I am not quite sure where the years went!

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