Monday, 17 February 2014

Macclesfield Canal. Whitley Green to Bosley Locks.

Picture titles are back! Just hover over the photo.

Our stuttering progress down the Macc continues.


From Whitley Green we went past the very handsome Clarence Mill then over Bollington Aqueduct before mooring up for a few days at Clarkes Lane. That was followed by a short run to Macclesfield during which we took on wood from a very boggy copse at Hurdsfield and pulled in for water opposite the rather uninspiring visitor moorings near Hovis Mill. We stopped for one night between bridges 39 and 40 just after the visitor moorings, before carrying on to the Gurnett Aqueduct.
There are 48hr moorings on the aqueduct at the back of the handy garden centre, but they finish before bridge 44 so we shuffled up and had a week or so there.
Brian and Ann Marie came along on Alton while we were there so we had some coal off them.
They have three boats altogether; Alton, which they use for their regular coal and diesel runs, St Austel which is a butty and occasionally gets towed along for deliveries, and Shirley which they live in when they’re not out delivering. Their base is just down the cut at a fabulous little wharf at Oakgrove where they have a big shed and where they keep their lovely Citroen Acadiane.
The weather brightened up which meant we could get out walking again and there were two rather tempting peaks nearby; an old quarried gritstone outcrop called Tegg’s Nose and Croker Hill, which is the highest thing around here and has a big radio mast on top.
Tegg’s Nose is a very popular country park.



It has a display of old quarry machinery at the top.
Two days later saw us at the top of Croker Hill. It was a long slog getting up there and the view from the top would have been spectacular if the visibility had been better,
but it’s nice to know that for the next few weeks we can look out of a window and say “You see that radio mast? We’ve been up there!”
David and Kate came with Dylan-the-dog to stay for the weekend while we were at Gurnett, so on Friday evening we invited Brian and Ann Marie over for tea. The six of us go way back to when we first joined the 2cv club but David and Kate hadn’t seen Brian and Ann Marie for about ten years, so it was a lovely evening aboard Legend; lots of reminiscing and tales of watery adventures.
It was David’s birthday on the Saturday so as a special treat Dave took him and Dylan-the-dog up Tegg’s Nose while the girlies went to Manchester to a Craft Fayre.
Due to a howling gale and lots of rain forecast for the afternoon the boys got back to the boat first where they stoked up the fire and put a film on.
Our next boat move was less than a mile to Broadhurst Swing Bridge near Lyme Green. It’s a tough call to make when there’re high winds forecast; do you go for shelter so you have a calmer night or do you stay away from the trees in case one comes down on your boat? In the end we went for shelter, and just happened to collect some wood at the same time.
There were a lot of trees brought down that night though, as we found when we set off towards Bosley Locks a couple of days later. As the good citizens that we are, we did our bit and cleared some Hawthorns off the towpath on the way.
It just so happens that Hawthorn is one of our favourite firewoods, but we would have done it anyway.
When we got to Oakgrove Swing Bridge we found this sign.
It Says "Canal closed due to fallen trees." We moored up and went to investigate. After a mile or so we met a chap walking the other way. He said he’d come from Bosley and hadn’t seen anything untoward so off we went again. A round the next bend we found a spot where there had been a tree down, but it had all been cleared up. Further investigation revealed that it had happened the previous Sunday and that the sign hadn’t been taken away. We thought it was all a bit too efficient to be true. Doh!
As we chugged slowly past Brian & Ann Marie’s gaff all of their fleet were at the wharf and they were having a fuel delivery.
We’ll have some of that off them before we leave the Macc and head off east on the Trent and Mersey. It’s very heartening to see such dedicated people determined to keep freight on the canals, providing a dependable regular service come what may and we’re going to miss them when we go.
For the next two weeks we’ll be here.
This is Bosley Top lock; it has a sanitary station and easy parking. The hill in the background is The Cloud which, along with Wincle Minn will, no doubt, feature prominently in future episodes.  As you know by now, we’re suckers for an interestingly named tumult.

Other stuff that's been going on in our lives that isn’t boat related: Chloe and Shandy have decided to move to Northern Ireland as soon as they can sell their house. That was a bit sudden, but not entirely unexpected. Anne is getting her house ready to sell and we’ll be going over to help her with prettying it before the sign goes up sometime in March. Frankie and Harry have got a dog called Iggy; apparently Frankie returned from the rescue centre with said dog after telling Harry she was only going to look. But it’s ok because he’s very sweet and well behaved. So is the dog.       

Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal. Stourbridge Canal. BCN. Grand Union Canal. Kinver to Kixley Wharf

There are 25 locks from Hyde Corner to Merry Hill, but we had a fabulous day working up through them all. The Stourton and ...