Homeward Bound

Maria was horseboated along the Rochdale and Ashton Canals on her return journey, after taking part in the Rochdale Canal Festival.

David Heyes MP steers Maria on her homeward journey. Photo: Alan Pollitt

See Gallery section for more photographs.

Maria travelled along the whole length of the Rochdale Canal, including the “Rochdale Nine” down to Castlefield, On Sunday 9th August she returned via the “Rochdale Nine” and the Ashton Canal to her base at Guide Bridge.

BBC North West Tonight filmed the arrival of Bilbo and Maria through the final lock of the Rochdale Canal outside Dukes 92 pub. They then filmed an interview with Sue Day and returned in the evening to broadcast the weather forecast from Maria. All this was shown that evening, Friday 7th August.

Maria was moored in Castlefield Basin alongside the only grass area for Bilbo. This small grass haven has only survived due to the Castlefield Residents putting up opposition to planned development on it. Power to the People! Save our Boathorse Grass! Castlefield was the first urban heritage park set up in the UK.

Saturday was spent talking to passers-by and visitors, and the Museum of Science and Industry, (in Castlefield) sent people across to Maria as an extension to their Transport Festival.

Sue Day on board Maria at Castlefield. Photo: Elizabeth Hogg

See Gallery section for more photographs.

Sunday was the long haul home. Up the Rochdale Nine. Up the Ashton 18. How quick and simple the Ashton seemed after 184 broad lock passages on the Rochdale! But the Rochdale is magnificent as it strides from Manchester city across the Pennines into Yorkshire market towns.

A short video taken by Lucy Rogers of The Waterways Trust, showing Maria being horseboated on the “Rochdale Nine”, can be seen by clicking the arrow below (or following this link).

A selection of photos of the highlights of the Rochdale Canal Festival can be viewed here.

If you have taken any photographs of Maria’s return trip from Sowerby Bridge or of her jourey on the Rochdale Nine, please contact us!

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