Today we moved the final couple of miles along the Macclesfield Canal to Marple Junction, where we were to join the Peak Forest Canal. We past Goyt Mill on the outskirts of Marple, before arriving at the CRT service block.
After disposing of some rubbish, we moved through the short narrow towards the junction, this time turning right onto the Peak Forest Canal, heading away from Manchester and towards Derbyshire and Bugsworth Basin.
Joining the Peak Forest Canal.
Turning right towards Bugsworth.
Looking left towards the Marple Lock Flight.
Soon after turning onto the Peak Forest, we were reminded of our trip on the Llangollen Canal last year, as we bumped and scraped along the canal bed in places. The Macclesfield Canal has been shallow, but this one is worse. The scenery however, makes up for the shallowness, as we catch glimpses of ‘the peaks’ on the horizon. We were also logged by CRT on this stretch. It has been a while since we were last recorded.
We attempted to moor in a couple of places, not recorded as official mooring spots in the guides, but on each attempt we ran aground. Eventually perseverance paid off, and we successfully moored close to the village of Disley. Tomorrow rain is forecast, so we will stay put until Friday, when we will set off for the end of the canal at Bugsworth Basin.
Totals 4 Miles
Running total 292 Miles 178 Locks 13 Tunnels
Yesterday we broke a golden rule of ours, we travelled in the rain. The reasons were due to bad weather the last couple of days, we had stayed just longer than the 48 hours allowed at the Wood Lane moorings, ( albeit we were the only boat on the mooring ) we needed to pump out the waste tank, we only planned to travel one mile, and the forecast had said it would be light rain only. We moved off through the bridge ahead of the mooring, and onto the service pontoon at Lyme View Marina. The tank was emptied in no time, and we were on our way. It was raining, and it began to get heavier. Still only half a mile to go, to moorings by a wide section of canal at Higher Poynton. Unfortunately it was full, chockablock. We stopped at the water point adjacent to the short arm at Lord Vernons Wharf, where Braidbar boats are fitted out, hoping that by the time we had to move on, the rain might have stopped. It was not to be, it got heavier still. A mile further on the next village was High Lane. Here there was still some space. So now dripping wet, we secured the boat and settled down to watch the last two instalments of the Harry Potter film set. Today the weather was fine a dry. We walked the furry crew member back to Higher Poynton, to visit the Boars Head P.H. for lunch, and then ice cream at the Trading Post, next to Braidbar Boats. The Trading Post is a small cafe/chandlers/grocery store, with a number of tables outside where you can sit by the canal and watch the world go by. We also noted quite a few Braidbar boats in the vicinity, gathering no doubt for their open day next weekend.
Where we are moored currently is a short distance from a number of shops and takeaway restaurants. We may treat ourselves to one tonight. Tomorrow we plan to travel up to Marple and then onto the Peak Forest Canal.
Totals 3 Miles
Running totals 288 Miles 178 Locks 13 Tunnels
Yesterday, in anticipation of some impending bad weather due in the next few days, we moved off from the mooring at Bollington. We were only travelling 3 miles, so just under an hour after we set off we arrived at our intended destination, close to Lyme View Marina. The visitor moorings here are located either side of bridge 18, and apart from one solitary plastic boat which looks like it has been here quite a while, we were on our own.
Just beyond the bridge is Lyme View Marina which has full services, and the local village a couple of hundred yards away, benefits from the Miners Arms P.H. Whilst the mooring spot has rings, and a well tended grassy towpath, it also suffers from a submerged shelf below the waterline, rather like the one found on the Shropshire Union Canal. Following a rummage in the gas locker/bulk storage area, we located our Shropshire Union wheelbarrow wheels, and the problem of the shelf was solved.
Now we just have to ‘mind the gap’ when stepping off. As we were finishing securing the boat, another went past and the steerer, clearly with some local knowledge said, “ah you have found the shelf, you know, just through the bridge there isn’t one”. That may explain the reason why the mooring section the other side of the bridge is time limited to 24 hours. Today the rain arrived, and it looks set like this for a while. We will sit out the bad weather here for the next couple of days, and no doubt will support the local business in the village. One other milestone was passed on our journey yesterday, our beta marine engine has now completed its first one thousand hours of use. This also means an oil and filter change is now due.
Totals 3 Miles
Running total 285 Miles 178 Locks 13 Tunnels
We had a leisurely start to the day, it was 10 am before we got underway. We travelled back passing Gurnett, before arriving in Macclesfield. Our first stop was by the water point, close to the ‘Hovis Mill’. It was built in the 1820s and was the birthplace of the famous flour.
A couple of boats passed by whilst there, but generally the canal is fairly quiet. Leaving Macclesfield behind we were soon into open countryside, and getting ever closer to the boundary of the ‘Peak District National Park’. The scenery is getting better the further north we go. Arriving at Bollington we passed the ‘Adelphi Mill’, formerly a silk mill, now converted to offices, then passed over Bollington Aquaduct, before arriving at our spot in the shadow of the ‘Clarence Mill’.
Viewing down the valley from the Aquaduct.
Clarence Mill was formerly a textile mill, and just one of many that used to operate in the local area. Now converted into small business units, it along with Adelphi Mill were erected by the Swindells family during the middle of the 19th C. Our plan is to stay put a day or so exploring Bollington, and may be visiting ‘White Nancy’ a monument built by the Gaskell family, overlooking the town to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo.
Totals 5 Miles
Running total 282 Miles 178 Locks 13 Tunnels
Sunday lunch at the Saracens Head was very enjoyable, and whilst we had left the furry crew mate on board the boat, this pub is dog friendly for future reference. On the way back to the boat, we passed a row of cottages that seemed to be in competition with each other, as to who could have the most colourful display of flowers.
This morning the alarm went off at a very unpleasant 7.50 am. We had set it because we intended to reach the village of Barlaston, a good view miles and quite a few locks away. By 8.30 we were underway, the weather was still blustery and clouds threatened rain. This was not the weather BBCs countryfile had forecast. The first bridge we passed through demonstrated intricate brick work skills which appear to be lost on more modern constructions.
As we were passing between bridges 84 and 85 it began to rain. We stopped for a tea break before commencing our journey half an hour later. Approaching Aston Marina we could see the lock ahead, and there appeared to be some boat shuffling occurring. There were also a number of people standing by the lock wearing blue Canal and River Trust shirts and red life jackets. We were informed the lock had just been closed to navigation, and it was expected to be an hour at least before it opened again. Deciding not to waste time in a queue, we turned swiftly into the Marina and located their service pontoon for diesel and a pump out. Whilst completing our tasks, we were informed that the Marina hosts a bistro and well stocked deli. Hearing this we plonked ourselves on the visitor pontoon and booked a berth for the night. Then it was off to the bistro for lunch.
After lunch the four legged crew was taken for a walk, then the afternoon was spent resting and relaxing in anticipation of our busy day tomorrow.
Totals 4 Miles 1 Lock
Running total 246 Miles 150 Locks 12 Tunnels
Having enjoyed a day of rest at the pig farm moorings, it was time to move on again. Our target destination today was Weston upon Trent. We had two locks to navigate before arriving at Great Haywood Junction. This is where the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal departs the Trent and Mersey heading for Stourport. There was a short delay at one of the locks due to pirates attempting to kidnap the crew.
We pulled in at the service block at Great Haywood for water, resisting the temptation of ice creams from the nearby farm shop.
Great Haywood Junction filling the water tank.
Moving on beyond the junction we were now travelling on new waters. We had a short wait due to a queue at Hoo Mill Lock. This lock has an interesting feature. The bridge crossing the lock has a gap in the middle, which was designed to allow the boats being towed by horse, to pass through without the need to remove the rope, thereby saving time and effort.
Footbridge with the rope gap in the centre.
The moorings on the approach to Weston upon Trent were full when we arrived, which was not surprising as it was lunchtime. We passed through the village a found a spot just before bridge 81. It was ideal. There was a boat length of clearing in the reeds, which means no neighbours. It also has good views and the bridge ahead joins a track which leads directly to the Saracens Head P.H. for Sunday lunch tomorrow.
This spot has now been marked in our guide book as a favoured spot for future use when we travel this way. This afternoon we took advantage of the good weather to touch up a few areas on the boat that needed attention.
Totals 6 Miles 4 Locks
Running total 242 Miles 149 Locks 12 Tunnels
With the ships company back on board after their shore leave, today we set off for Fradley Junction. This where the detached section of the Coventry Canal meets with the Trent and Mersey Canal. After untying the ropes, taking care not to disturb the wasp nest buried in the towpath, we moved off passing Huddlesford Junction and the Plough Inn. The weather was partly sunny, but the wind was blustery, and as we passed Kings Orchard Marina I was glad we did not need to enter there for services. Last year when we visited, the wind held us against the service pontoon, and some high engine revs were needed to get us off it. Next it was the marina and boatyard at Streethay Wharf. Here the canal runs parallel to the very busy and noisy A38. We arrived at Fradley Junction around lunchtime and moored. This turned out to be just in time, as during the next 30 minutes the visitor moorings filled up. This time the sky satellite proved elusive, the trees must have grown since last year. After lunch we walked the four legged crew member, and disposed of some rubbish that had been accumulating in the gas locker. On the way back, stopping at the cafe in the CRT yard for cake. Tomorrow we plan to aim for the Pig Farm mooring just beyond Rugeley, once we have replenished supplies at the Tescos there.
Totals 5 Miles
Running total 227 Miles 142 Locks 12 Tunnels