I went for a walk on a section of canal on Saturday the 29th. I started on the Rochdale canal at oxford road. It is a section called the Rochdale nine, after the nine locks that run through and underneath Manchester. I started at eight, just as it was beginning to get light. I wanted to avoid the various oddballs and naer-do-wells that I thought might inhabit some of the areas I would pass though. As it turns out, I, in hiking gear and a camera wandering around canals on a Saturday morning was the only oddball.
Walking along this canal takes you below street level. Canals were once arteries that brought goods in and out of the industrial centres of Manchester. Now, they are still largely intact and preserved for leisure. I am interested in the way they sit as industrial relics, scarred and dismissed. Nature has reclaimed some parts whilst property developers have claimed others. I wanted to have an ‘out of city’ experience; I thought this would be a way of having the solitary and sedate experience that you might have walking in the countryside except this would be going through the centre of a busy and noisy city.
The route takes you down to Deansgate locks, past Beetham tower and through Castlefield. All of these areas are former industrial sites that have seen extensive re-development in the past 10-15 years. I saw a few people here, as it is quite a built up residential area. Leaving Castlefield takes you onto the Bridgewater canal and around the back of Salford and past Pomona docks. At this point, there were no people and the noise changed; cars and busses fell silent and were replaced by the loud rattle of a scrap yard and the clank of containers. I walked behind Old Trafford, the Manchester United football stadium then through Trafford park -a large industrial estate and finished in Stretford. I am planning more trips along the canals in Manchester in the near future.