To Castlefield

Friday 10th September 2010
Up easily – usual couple of miles brisk walk at seven – found a paper shop too! Target Plank Lane Swing Bridge when it opens at 8.30am

and off to meet BUPA to collect Justin’s temperature controlled intravenous feeds later on before making for Manchester.

All on time and got to Worsely within a few minutes of the BUPA guy and he handed over the strictly temperature controlled feeds – now I understand why we had an extra fridge fitted to Elysium for Justin – its full of nutrition – well bags with yellow liquid and white liquid! He tells me it’s nutritious! Justin monitors himself all the time and this feed is always varying based on the results – quite amazing.

Anyway its off to Castlefield to meet everyone – no problems – all on time – no one about on the canal which I have to say was clean, towpaths tidy and with plenty of water! I even rang Justin to tell him I would be there before him and where to meet etc etc. Then I turned the last bend before the Barton Swing Bridge Aqueduct and a sharp switch into reverse was required. It was closed! I thought – no problem just a ship down on the Manchester Ship Canal – but no, apparently some hours before it had opened to let a ship through and stuck halfway – valve problem on the engine and the back up didn’t work. How long to put right says I, don’t know says they – could be a few days!!!!! As my middle son says “I gotta be honest” I panicked a bit – all the planning – all the people relying on me – blind panic! Anyway, they did get it sorted – it delayed me by five hours but got into Castlefield in the end.

Now I’ve have to say a special thank you to Kate from the Open Lock project who had brought along to Castlefield Basin our first loaned community boat from Sale where it is based. The whole idea was that she would do this, hand it over, and get back for meetings. Well in the end she met with Justin and the party, helped load the boat and was generally brilliant while I plodded on behind schedule. Many many thanks Kate (and yes this is Kate Fletcher married to John, previous Chair of the IWA).

Anyway, got there and then we had problems getting moored near each other as loads of gear to be put on board. I thought, oh well let’s try and get someone to move as we needed to be on the right side for the send off in the morning. First people I bumped into were Barry and Judy, who I first met on a long and wet journey back from a Skipton Festival a couple of years ago! Within minutes not only had they swapped around for us, but sorted out an Elsan stop for the following day at their boat club at Sale (Peel Holdings one at Castlefield is one of the worst examples anywhere and was quite nastily blocked) So it’s BW 3 Peel 0 at this stage!!!

Well despite that really horrible fine drizzle special only to Manchester the party of kayakers flying in from all over the world ( well Australia anyway), family and supporters slowly came together and by 7pm all was ready – just remained for all of us to load up with pizzas and beer at Lava Bar in the corner of the Basin . Very recommended and very reasonable 2 x 12”pizzas and a bottle of wine for 15 quid!

(16.71 miles, 0 locks)