NCN Route 66 – The Rochdale Canal
Posted by Alan on November 9, 2012
Due to my procrastination (well work etc probably is more important…) this is a post that has been sat in drafts for such a long time. The Rochdale Canal gave me one of my first ever cycling memories, cycling the 12 or so miles downhill from Rochdale to Castlefield. This summer I finally made it back to see how what it’s like following the restoration.
The biggest transformation has been at Failworth. Sadly I didn’t take a camera on that adolescent trip so you will have to build the picture in your head: the scene above was once a Co-Operative supermarket. Just behind the viewpoint of the camera is an over bridge, where the canal ended and the culvert started. Somewhere beneath the supermarket shelves the canal turned a right angle in a pipe.
Around the corner, the canal carried on in a pipe with the cut concreted in, where there had been a lock, there was a series of concrete steps in its place – the cut here traversing through several housing estates I guess it has been done for ‘child safety’. I definitely remember cycling down the centreline of the cut, though being the safe and serious sort I probably returned to the towpath for the ‘locks’!
Those housing estates are still there, unsurprisingly I didn’t stop to take photos! Once in Ancoats, the canal is lined by former mills – now trendy apartments.
Much of the route is now properly paved, which makes a great difference when cycling – it’s an easy and direct route to take.
I wonder whether in time it will see the problems of the Regents Canal in London where the cyclists and pedestrians vie for the limited space on offer.