Thursday 19 May 2011

Aqueduct Marina…

This morning we awoke to sunny skies for a change, but by the time we were ready to leave our mooring, it was starting to cloud up again.  Just a short trip today to Aqueduct Marina, Church Minshull, to leave the boat for a couple of weeks while we go and move out of our winter cottage.  Can’t say we are thrilled to be back in a Marina, but it’s only for a couple of nights, and everyone seems very friendly here, and, while not the cheapest Marina we’ve been in, there seems to be all the boater needs.  There is also a cafe, The Gallery, where we treated ourselves to lunch.  Rog will go by train to Northampton tomorrow and bring the car back so we can transport ourselves and Cassie back.  So, this will be my last blog for a couple of weeks I’m afraid.  See you in June.


5.4 miles and 0 locks

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Back on the Middlewich Branch…

We continued up the T & M this morning, in persistent drizzle (again!) through 5 locks and stopped at the boatyard after Kings Lock to top up with diesel.  I have to say that it wasn’t my favourite bit of the T & M, very shabby and industrial as you get towards Middlewich. We turned onto the Middlewich Branch, very pleased to have completed the Cheshire Ring.  Another lock, and we are moored in exactly the same spot as on our way down, on April 25th.  On that day the sun was blazing down, and the temperature was 100 degrees in the full sun,  (we got the thermometer out to check).  Rog and Ian were in shorts, and us girls were wearing vest tops.  Today the rain has just stopped, but not for long by the look of the sky, and we are in trousers and jumpers!  Such are the vagaries of the British weather!


SDC10445Same spot on 25th April, the grass has overgrown a bit since then, with all this rain!

6 miles and 7 locks

Monday 16 May 2011

Heartbreak Hill complete…

Not a lot to say about today’s cruising really – same grey skies and drizzle, and more locks.  We have now completed Heartbreak Hill, the 26 locks between Red Bull and Wheelock.  They weren’t too bad, we had a nice couple on the boat in front of us, who were opening paddles to fill the 2nd lock of the duplicates where possible, as were we for the boat behind, and we met quite a few boats coming up, so all in all, lots of the locks were ready for us.  We are now moored just a little west of Wheelock, with only 5 locks until the Middlewich Branch, which we shall easily make tomorrow.  The sun keeps trying to come out now, so fingers crossed for a better day, weather-wise, tomorrow.

SDC10667The Romping Donkey, a famous canal-side pub

SDC10668Under the M6 – don’t envy the poor sods above us!

SDC10670Tonight’s mooring, out in the country, just as we like it

4.7 miles and 14 locks

Sunday 15 May 2011

Starting Heartbreak Hill…

The weather forecast for today was for a clear morning, with showers this afternoon, they were wrong!  We left our mooring in the middle of nowhere in persistent drizzle. We officially joined the Trent and Mersey at Hall Green stop lock, then negotiated the very weird junction at Red Bull, where the canal crosses the T & M on an aqueduct, then turns left, left and left again to join the T & M proper, then 2 locks carry the canal down and underneath the aqueduct, these two are our first on  Heartbreak Hill. We worked twelve locks before we decided to stop for the day at Rode Heath, and treat ourselves to a Chinese Takeaway tonight.

SDC10651Ramsdell Hall – still on the Macc

SDC10649Ornate railings separate the towpath from the fields below the Hall

SDC10648Mow Cop, with it’s castellated ruin, known as Wilbraham’s Folly.  The Folly dates from 1754 when it was erected to be seen from Squire Wilbraham's Rode Hall, a couple of miles away on the Cheshire Plain.

SDC10654From the aqueduct carrying the canal over the Trent and Mersey

SDC10657About to turn onto the T & M proper

SDC10658The 1st lock of Heartbreak Hill – brown water, due to ironstone colouring the water

SDC10659The aqueduct from below

SDC10664Many of the locks are duplicated, which cuts down on queues

SDC10662But a few of the duplicate locks have fallen into disrepair and been closed.

SDC10666Approaching Rode Heath

7.0 miles and 13 locks

Saturday 14 May 2011

Bosley to the Middle of Nowhere…

(This is yesterday’s blog (Friday) only able to upload today when Blogger came back on line.)

We awoke to sunshine this morning, the first we’ve seen for days, and we set off for Bosley Locks.  After watering and loo-ing we were on our way.  This is yet another flight of locks in a beautiful setting.  They are probably the easiest dozen locks we have worked for a long while.  The first few were against us, as per usual, but we soon met a stream of boats coming up the locks, so from lock 4 they were all in our favour, with lots of gates left open for us.  Easily turned paddle gear and well balanced gates added to the pleasure.  By the time we were at the bottom of the flight, in record time, the clouds had come over again, but at least we stayed dry.  We continued on through Congleton to moor in the middle of nowhere, just past Bridge 80!  There are no villages nearby, the nearest ‘feature’ is Watery Lane Aqueduct just ahead of us.

SDC10635Just waiting for me to fill Lock No 2 or was it 3?

SDC10636Almost half-way – still bright but becoming more cloudy

SDC10639‘The Cloud’ dominates the horizon – 1126ft above sea level, and 700 ft above the level of the canal

SDC10640Crossley Hall

SDC10641Approaching Congleton

SDC10642Three bridges close together, 74, 75 and 76, and all at different angles to the canal

SDC10644Congleton Wharf – now apartments

SDC10646Tonight’s mooring, and maybe tomorrow’s as well, if the weather forecast is anything to go by!

SDC10647Peaceful view from our side hatch this evening

7.7 miles and 12 locks

Thursday 12 May 2011

Wood Lanes to Bosley…

Another dull and cloudy morning, with the promise of more rain showers.  When we left our mooring it was still dry, but before long we got wet.  Again and again and again and again!!!  Bollington looked nice, but no time to stop as we need to push on now so that we reach the Middlewich branch in time to take up our booked mooring for a fortnight while we go back to Northampton to move out of the cottage that we rented for the winter.  All our goods and chattels  are going back into storage and we will decide what to do in the autumn.

Today was a day of mills.  I know we aren’t as far north as we have been on this trip, but all the mill towns make it feel well and truly ‘up north’.  The Macc is very pretty, just a pity we are seeing most of it through a haze of rain!

We continued on through Macclesfield, again in the rain, and are now moored about 15 minutes short of Bosley Locks, ready to tackle them in the morning.  Jodrell Bank is just visible in the distance, one of the huge satellite dishes just poking up beyond the trees.

SDC10622Approaching Bollington

SDC10623The impressive Clarence Mill, Bollington, now turned into offices and shops for small businesses

SDC10625Adelphi Mill, Bollington

SDC10627Elegant turnover bridge, typical of the Macc

SDC10628Hovis Mill, Macclesfield, now apartments

SDC10630Stone walled cutting on leaving Macclesfield, the other side is the same but hidden by trees and vegetation.

SDC10631Looking back – stunning view, but again, the camera and the weather don’t do it justice

SDC10632Electric swing bridge at Oakgrove

SDC10633And the pub across the road!

SDC10634Hansel and Gretel’s cottage, hidden in the woods

10.5 miles and 0 locks

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Bugsworth to Wood Lanes…

We awoke to dull skies this morning, with heavy rain showers forecast – and they were right!  Sadly, we left Bugsworth Basin at about 9.30 and returned down the Upper Peak Forest to Marple.  The sun did come out for a while, but I didn’t take any photos as I’d taken them all on the way there.  At Marple we turned to port onto the Macclesfield Canal.  Not long after that the heavens opened and the rain slashed down, not stopping until shortly before we decided to call it a day.  I went inside, so didn’t see much of it, so again no photos.  We are now moored for the night opposite Lyme View Marina, not far short of Bollington, and looking forward to Macclesfield tomorrow.

SDC10618Goyt Mill at Marpleridge

SDC10619Getting very wet, despite the brolly!

13.3 miles and 0 locks

Tuesday 10 May 2011

Marple to Bugsworth Basin…

Yesterday morning we waved goodbye to Russ and Nat, winded, and turned onto the Upper Peak Forest Canal.  This part of the canal is absolutely beautiful, with stunning views and shady wooded cuttings.  We continued on the old arm to Whaley Bridge, and were disappointed that it didn’t live up to our expectations, or our memories of it when we visited by car some years ago. We turned and went back the way we had come, stopping of for a brief visit to the canal-side Tesco to replenish supplies, and turned back onto the main line towards Bugsworth Basins, where we intended to moor for the night. 

SDC10583Shady cutting

SDC10584Lovely views

SDC10587The Swizzell’s facory – famous for ‘Love Hearts’ – the sweet sugary/fruity smell coming from it was very strong!

SDC10591Kinder Scout – at 2,088ft above sea level, the higher point in Derbyshire

SDC10589Newtown and viaduct

SDC10593Whaley Bridge Basin – bit a of disappointment

We hadn’t been here long when we decided to stay an extra day to explore this amazing place.  The setting is magnificent, with hills all around, and I think it’s one of the nicest mooring spots we’ve ever been in.  The basins are very extensive, and have been sympathetically restored, with none of the ‘modern’ gadgets like the ones at Fradley Junction that I so despise.  There are plaques in various places and brass plaques on the ground explaining the history, and a model to show the visitor what it looked like in it’s heyday.  We are much impressed!  There is space for lots of boats, and lovely little out-of-the-way mooring spots, loads of grass and landscaping, all beautifully cared for, but in an understated sort of way.  Tunnels and arches abound, and nooks and crannies to poke about in.  Altogether a most delightful place – we would certainly love to come back here again.




SDC10597Lower Basin where we are moored

SDC10607Middle Basin

SDC10606Middle Basin Arm with the ruins of the old Lime Shed

SDC10608Replica Wharf Crane

SDC10611Upper Basin and Arm

SDC10616Middle Basin with bridges leading to the Middle Basin Arm and the Upper Basin

SDC10609The Wide


SDC10613The village – Buxworth (the name was changed from Bugsworth

SDC10599Our mooring spot

7.4 miles and 0 locks