Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Just pictures…

I’ve rattled on about the canal as we traveled north, so I’ve decided to skip the waffle and just post pictures of yesterday’s trip, with just a bit of explanatory text if required.

So, after a very misty start the sun broke through giving us a beautiful morning.DSCF1205

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One of two kingfishers spotted today.
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Confirmation for Paul of Waterways Routes – the waterpoint next to Bridge 68 IS still there and working.
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Across Congleton Embankment, the West Coast Mail Line crosses the valley to the west.DSCF1223

Bridges in High Town, Congleton
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We pulled in on the moorings here, not for the shops although they are handy, but for Meg to have a comfort break.

Off again, over the aqueduct crossing Canal Road.DSCF1227

Bridge 77, Morris Bridge swapping the towpath back over the canalDSCF1228

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It was such a fine afternoon that Meg insisted we stop just past Watery Lane Aqueduct so she could have a good roll on the grassy towpath.DSCF1230

Lovely quiet spot here, good choice that dog!

Locks 0, miles 6

Monday, September 18, 2017

A good day for Bosley Locks

After a weekend of mixed weather moored just outside Macclesfield, today’s forecast looked promising so off we set heading south towards Kidsgrove.

Spey and Gifford cruised past yesterday, on their way from Bollington.DSCF1180
Not sure about Spey, but Gifford is based at the Ellesmere Port Boat Museum. I wonder if they’re having to go the long way home because of the stoppage at Marple?

We were on the move just before 10 this morning, fine and bright and quite warm in the sunny spells.DSCF1181

The two swing bridges between Macclesfield and Bosley were passed with no trouble, the first, at Dane’s Moss, was locked open like on the way up, and the second wasn’t busy.

Broadhurst Swing Bridge
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Royal Oak Swing Bridge, no convoy of MGs in the way todayDSCF1183

We pulled in for water at Bridge 53 rather than just above the locks, then swung around the corner to the top lock.

Bosley Top Lock
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There was a volunteer here, he saw us coming and opened the gates for us.

We worked our way downhill steadily, having to turn the locks as we were following another boat. Lock 5 caught me out, though. The upper ground paddles have vent holes strategically placed to send a jet of water up any unsuspecting trouser leg… and I forgot to put a boot across one here.
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See the hole with the puddle around it? Unfortunately I was straddling it when I lifted the paddle!
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It is canal water, honest! It made me gasp, too…

We met a couple of boats on the way up, but had to turn most of the 12 locks.

Fine views of The Cloud from Lock 9. Should really be “The Lock from Cloud 9”
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Mags Heading down to Lock 10
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We were out of the bottom lock after about 2 hours, not bad for 12 locks. Rather than press on we decided to moor up just before the Dane aqueduct, with views up the valley.
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The canal is carried over the river on a fine stone aqueduct, 50 or 60 feet up from the valley bottom.
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These aqueducts always look spectacular from below; it’s difficult getting a picture from the canal level…
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We had the best of the day for our trip down. It clouded up and we’ve had a drop of rain later in the afternoon.

Locks 12, miles 4½

Friday, September 15, 2017

Visitors at Addlington, then on past Macclesfield.

On Wednesday we moved down from Hawk Green, past High Lane and Poynton, and finished up opposite Lyme View Marina.

The leaves are starting to turn now…
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Victoria Pit moorings at Poynton
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The end of a cold, damp trip at Addlington.DSCF1151

It rained all morning and we wouldn’t normally have moved, but we were having visitors yesterday and there’s parking nearby, and more importantly the towpath along here is sealed asphalt so is clean. After the rain there’s some quite large puddles elsewhere.

Val and John, with the dog Harry came yesterday lunchtime, and we had a great afternoon. Val had made Mags an early birthday cake…
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They left too late for us to move, so we sneaked an extra night on the 24 hour moorings opposite the marina. It wasn’t busy anyway, only one other boat stayed overnight.

This morning the weather had improved considerably, very little wind and long spells of warm sunshine.DSCF1153

Past the good moorings at Whitley GreenDSCF1155

On the offside there are very well presented moorings for members of the North Cheshire Cruising Club.
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Approaching Bollington, the White Nancy looks like a pimple on the end of Kerridge Hill…DSCF1158
The structure was built in 1817 to commemorate Wellington’s victory at Waterloo and is hollow, but the doorway has been bricked up. It’s been repainted, now sporting a crown for the Jubilee on one side…
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…and the Olympic rings on the other, following Team GB’s success at at the 2012 games.White Nancy 2
(Pictures from April 2013)

Clarence Mill, Bollington
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Historic boats Spey and Gifford tied up on the aqueductDSCF1165

We’d decided to stop at Bollington Wharf for solid fuel and diesel, but the dredgers beat us to it…
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…but it was OK because James was trading from Brian and Ann-Marie's AltonDSCF1167
Bollington Wharf has recently been taken over by Amy and James, of NB Willow and Brian and Ann-Marie. Amy and James wrote about their refitting of the Severn and Canal Carrying Company boat on their blog here.

We had a bit of a wait while James dealt with Storm, then picked up our fuel before toddling on.

MB Willow, 72 feet long and 82 years old.DSCF1170

Still a very fine day…
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The Waterways depot just past Hovis Mill in MacclesfieldDSCF1175
The resited water tap is just next to the sign on the bank.

We had a bit of a wait while another dredging team moved their gear out of the way for us.DSCF1176
They were really struggling for working space alongside the moored boats between Bridges 40 and 41.

We were aiming to more near the retail park again, but the weather started to look a bit dodgy, although it held off enough to let us get moored up.
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After just a brief sprinkle it cleared again and the rest of the afternoon stayed dry enough for me to get a coat of primer on the new top box I’ve constructed. But we had some heavy, thundery showers later on. I think we’ll probably stay put here for the weekend.

Locks 0, miles 8

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Heading Back

Our short stay at Bugsworth Basin ended this morning. I had my morning run, breakfasted then took Meg out for a walk around the old wharfs before we reversed past the other boats moored on the Lower Basin. Turning around just outside the services dropped us neatly onto the water point.

Tesco delivered yesterday during a dryish spell.DSCF1123

I wouldn’t have wanted to try this yesterday, it was blowing a hooley and frequently lashing with rain and hail. We weren’t the only crew to take advantage of this lull in the weather; several others left at around the same time.

We decided on a longish day, heading back to Marple then back onto then Macc. to head towards Kidsgrove again. I know, we’re supposed to be going to Manchester, and from here it’s only a few days to Castlefield. But we decided a few days ago to go the long way around, back to the Trent and Mersey, down the Cheshire Locks and onto the Bridgewater at Preston Brook. From there we’ll head into Manchester from the south. The reasoning was that it’s tough going for Mags going the quick way, 16 locks at Marple, 18 down the Ashton then a further 9 broad locks from Ducie Street to Castlefield. Going the roundabout route doesn’t reduce the number of locks but does space them out more, allowing us to have shorter days. And we do have the time, anyway. The event isn’t until the 15th of October.
Another reason is the condition of the locks. The Cheshire flight are well maintained and often duplicated so we’re unlikely to be held up by an emergency stoppage. But the same can’t be said of the Marple and Ashton locks. In fact -
“From Date:
11th September 2017 at 09:00
To Date:
until further notice
Type:
Navigation Closure
Reason:
Structure failure
Notice updates:
11/09/2017 @ 16:46
Over the weekend subsidence has become evident at Lock 15, Marple and we have had to close the canal here while this is investigated.  Following inspections on site today we are now concerned that there has been some movement to the towpath side lock wall as well.
Our engineering team will be undertaking a thorough examination of the lock over the next few days so that we can be clear about the true extent of the problem and what repairs are now needed. 
Given the uncertainty about the full extent of the problem we cannot estimate a reopening date for the lock at the moment, when we know more we will be able to issue a further update.
We’re sorry if this problem has caused you delays but want to assure you that we are giving this highest priority.
Description:
We have had to close the lock flight at Marple until further notice due to subsidence at lock 15 . Our engineers will be carrying out inspections later today.
We understand that this closure may disrupt your schedule. We are taking every step to look into this problem as soon as possible and we will keep you updated of our progress.”
Not looking good, eh. We’ve seen several hire boats today heading for Bugsworth, having had to abort a Cheshire Ring cruise.

Having topped up the water tank and dropped off the rubbish and recycling, we were on the move again by half-nine. We had to be off quite early because Meg had an appointment to see the doggy-doctor at New Mills at 11:15. Nothing wrong; just her annual boosters, a check up and a new prescription for her arthritis medication.

If I moored here I‘d have been out with the shears and strimmer!DSCF1124

We arrived at New Mills with plenty of time to spare, mooring up just before the main road bridge. The vet is only 5 minutes from here.
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On the move again after a successful consultation, we were slowly gaining ground on a hire boat ahead. We just missed them at Higgins Clough Swing Bridge, seeing them toddling off around the corner as we turned up.DSCF1128
But we caught up at Wood End and followed them through. I shouted across that we’d do the next one, Turf Lea, forgetting that, unlike the electrically operated Wood End, Turf Lea requires 80 turns of the windlass to lift! Anyway, they followed Mags through, and then we waited for another boat coming the other way.

Moored near Bridge 21 is a boat called Del Boy, with an unusual take on a cratch cover.DSCF1134

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Quite clever really. Not quite true to Del and Rodney’s iconic 3 wheeler, this is the front end of a Reliant Rialto rather than a Reliant Regal Supervan III. But 10/10 for effort.

We turned left at Marple Junction, back onto the Macclesfield Canal. The right turn down the locks is out of the question for the time being anyway.DSCF1139

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Unusually both the service wharf and the moorings opposite had space!DSCF1141
Typically we didn’t need either today.

A little further on we passed a familiar boat NB Gloriana, I gave a shout and Nick came out for a chat. It’s a while since we seen each other.DSCF1142
Good to see you, mate. Keep well.

Past Goyt Mill
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We pulled in between Bridges 7 and 8, pretty much where we stopped on the way north.

Everything is tied down now, in preparation for what promises to be a wild night…

Hey, Doug, James. Good to hear from you. If you've read this far you'll know that your kind offer of assistance down the Ashton and Rochdale locks isn't necessary, but much appreciated nevertheless. We will be in south Manchester in the middle of next month, and may well head up to Castlefield from there. If you're free when we get there it would be great to see you.

Locks 0, miles 10¼