Pennine Waterways News

Saturday 11 September 2010

Unwise boaters intimidated by youths

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


  1. even though it as 8.30 it was still light! so you should still have time to make portland basin before darkness, (just). What this article does is blames the law abiding boaters, not the mindless manchester yobs. Aparently the police where called and the crew was asked what they expected them to do!! So yes we all know the dangers of manchester, should we all avoid itill has the worst rep on the canal system! or do we make a stand, and try and get it back so we can all use this amzin network through manchester!! ps. I am a Droylen resident

  2. I'm from Ashton and know that Clayton is "rough" so to speak. You shouldn't be bothering them Clayton lads.

  3. Chip - with just two of them, it would take around 15 to 20 minutes per lock, so it would have taken another 2 to 3 hours to reach Portland Basin or Piccadilly, depending on exactly where in Clayton they were at 8.30.

    Of course we should be able to use this canal at whatever time we like. Of course the yobs are to blame. However, we also need to face reality and the two boaters were not without fault for ignoring reality and deciding to go through at that time.

  4. These youths are always able to inflict pain, however they are unable to take it and to lock them up cost money, they should be flogged, bring back the birch

  5. Sorry , Martin - I see your point of view but you're wrong. It is not unfortunate that these boaters went to the media with their experiences. Bringing the problem to everyone's attention does us all a service. As to the wisom , or otherwise , of travelling on an evening....... well , were some poor girl to wander down there at the same time of day and be sexually assaulted would anyone be willing to say it's partially her own fault?


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