We were really grateful to discover what seemed a fairly secure, overnight mooring eleven locks out of Manchester. We knew the journey to Hebden Bridge entailed over 80 locks, and was likely to be quite an interesting one.
The New Islington Canal Basin wasn’t even marked on our 2009 Nicholson’s Waterways Guide, so we’re grateful to Michelle and Jim for telling us about it.
We’d read about the imposing Cotton Mill buildings, and the workers cottages that lay behind their facade. So we decided to take a stroll and check them out. Our near neighbour attempted to put us off, telling us the area was rather ‘dodgy’, but we’ve encountered far worse places in our time.
We got to know said neighbour quite well the following day, when we shared a large number of locks and rather too many unpleasant experiences. He openly admitted to being a ‘miserable git’ bless him. Don’t worry Patrick, we know you’ve really got a wicked sense of humour now!
The basin itself looks like it could’ve and should’ve been an amazing area. Sadly the photographs of the vision are far from the current reality.
“Setting out to become Manchester’s ‘favourite neighbourhood, but better’, seven years on and much of the development still remains a half-demolished, half-developed former council estate with withered metal fencing loosely guarding empty and desolate plains.”
You can see the remnants of the dream, but the reality is one of abandonment and you can’t help but sympathise with those boaters and land dwellers who moved in here with the promise and expectation of the picture above.
Barry’s managed to work his photographic magic to capture a glimpse of attractiveness in the area, despite the apparent abandonment – see what you think …
As all the media surrounding this ambitious project suggest, it’ll be a long while before the anticipated results materialise – if ever. Such a shame, it feels like a dream that went sour and has turned into a nightmare.
But thank you for being a place we could moor overnight – we never felt in the least threatened or unsafe, despite the scaremongering stories.
And boy were we thankful the following day for a good night’s sleep!