Proper Pennine Precipitation. 5th October

Tesco’s Stalybridge to Roaches Winding Hole

Not much of a view here!

It’s not often we push off in the rain, but with a tunnel booked we want to keep moving, anyway the forecast had been for rain in the afternoon not morning!

7W with all the railings around it

Up 7W already a little bit damp at the seams. This is surrounded by apartment’s that were built after the reopening of the canal in 2001, good views over the canal. Photos of the lock being built. The new stretch through town could really do with someone adopting it and giving it a good weed, maybe the council used to do this but it’s been cut back on financially.


The canal now follows the River Tame. Power lines head off in all directions from a substation. When the canal was being restored one pylon had been built over the cut. Instead of going round it the canal narrows to the width of a narrow lock and goes right underneath it.

Pylon selfie, yes that’s my hood

Up 8W and we pulled in at the service block. Here there is water, toilets, elsan, shower and bins with what must be a C&RT yard behind it. Not the most romantic of locations with the razor wire along the top of the walls!

Service block

We topped up on water, put a load of washing on, Tilly got a fresh pooh box, the yellow water was disposed off and we got damper.

Canal, Bywash, River

Constant rain turned into proper Pennine Autumn Half Term rain, the sort where your Mum says ‘It’s character building’! No it’s just WET. All we wished was that Tilly was busy inside relighting the stove that had gone out during the night, the heat ripple from the chimney would have given us something to look forward to. Oh well!


Not willing to jump to the bank from the stern, it was better to access the towpath from the bow as the canal wasn’t really built for stopping, so the sides can be rather shallow. Locks 9W and 10W are close together. In the past leaking gates and not enough water in the pound between have caused problems with boats getting stuck on the cill with water lowering in the lock. Today filling 9W certainly stopped the bywash and dropped the level in the pound, I dropped the water from 10W, that along with a flow of water from elsewhere kept Oleanna off the cill and safe.

The bridge at Lock 10W

I’m sure there used to be a levels board at one of the locks here that warned you if the levels were too low, but today it wasn’t to be found. The problems must have been solved.

Next Scout Tunnel, or Dave’s Tunnel to us. Remedial work was needed here, much of it similar to that done in Standedge. Parts of the tunnel are lined in brick others are bare rock where rock bolts were used to stabilize it. There is a towpath that runs through the 188m tunnel, if you walk you need to take care not to bump your head.

A Mandarin Spring Roll Duck

Ducks were hanging out enjoying the rain. We’d already spotted a drenched Mandarin Spring Roll Duck, but the one here looked all preened and ready to impress. They are such tarts of ducks!

At Lock 13 we could see up the hillsides a spire poking up into the sky. Not sure which church this is as I can’t find one on the map with a suitable spire.

Woodend Lock 14W sits round a slight bend, alongside Woodend Mill. The mill was built around 1830-40 and was an integrated cotton mill, meaning that weaving and spinning processes both took place here. Now it looks like the mill is used by different people for different things, workshops, upholstery, a dog stood gazing out across the valley. Up on the top floor someone has installed what looks like white French windows with railings across them.

Woodend Mill

Not far now. Below Roaches Lock is where we moored six years ago. We had a feeling it was hard to get into the side then and fairly soon we were reminded of it. There was one boat already moored up, the gap ahead of them had something big below the water. Then a stretch of stone bank has fallen in, but in the end we got close enough to the side to be happy. With plenty of friendly cover before the river Tilly was allowed shore leave, although she spent a lot of time coming and going making the most of ‘Thank you for coming home’ Dreamies!

Another soggy boat

The stove was lit and we dried out during the afternoon as wind and rain came down outside. A couple of hours after we’d settled another boat arrived, it was the same boat that had turned up yesterday afternoon in Stalybridge. Mick had chatted with them yesterday, they are also booked for the tunnel on Friday but had been hoping to get through tomorrow! We suspect they are not totally aware of Standedge Tunnel and how much it differs from Harecastle or Blisworth and that C&RT are quite unlikely to be able to add you to the list of boats who’d already booked. Their rush however towards the summit has slowed as they stayed put for the night.

8 locks, 83ft 9″ climbed, 3.28 miles, 1 moving boat behind us, 1 full water tank, 1 empty wee tank, 0 rubbish, 1 parsley plant sent to heaven, 1 thoroughly wet day, 1 frustrated designer, 0 pubs visited, 1 stove lit , 7 pancakes, 4 savoury, 3 sweet.

4 thoughts on “Proper Pennine Precipitation. 5th October

  1. Dave (Scouts)

    I think the church is St John The Baptist at Quickwood

    If you use bing maps and switch to OS view you can see the church with spire symbol

    Interesting about Scout Tunnel, there is also a nearby Scout Farm and a Scout Cottage/House neither of which are now related to Scouts

    Looks like that whole area is named Scout for some reason but google throws up nothing

    1. Pip Post author

      Thanks Dave. If I’d persiveared I’d have got there with the church, but there are too many other things to do in life.

      1. Dave (Scouts)

        Yeah agreed, but when you are in a meeting reviewing 100+ alarms you tend to get distracted 🙂

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