Two boaters were intimidated by a group of youngsters and left stranded after they unwisely chose to travel along an urban canal as darkness fell.
The pair, in their 30s, set out along the Ashton Canal in the evening and attracted the unwelcome attention of a group of youngsters who first spat from a bridge, then asked for money for a "mooring fee". The youngsters then opened paddles on a lock, leaving the boat aground away from the bank.
The two men, although not harmed, were worried that the youths would return, and stayed on the boat until morning, when they re-filled the pound.
The incident has been widely reported in press and television, although some reports failed to mention that the incident took place at 8.30 pm.
The Ashton Canal at one time had a bad reputation and some boaters are still put off the canal by hearing out-dated stories of doom. The truth is that the Ashton Canal is now considered to be safe - no worse than other urban canals. It is used by hundreds of boats each week, doing the Cheshire Ring, without any incident worse than getting rubbish on the propeller. However, groups of youngsters are known to congregate near the canal in the evenings and it is the accepted wisdom that boating between Droylsden and Ancoats should be done during the daytime.
It is unfortunate that the two young men, who live in Stockport, chose to travel through the Clayton area so late in the evening and that they have then gone to the media with their story.
Other boaters should not be put off travelling along the Ashton Canal as a result of this incident as long as they plan their journeys so that they travel during the daytime.
The Ashton Canal at Clayton