Friday, May 07, 2010

Heading North

We’re finally on our way properly after a week of hanging about, waiting for a mail drop. It still hasn’t arrived, so we’ve arranged to pick it up further up the canal.

It was cold when we got off this morning. A chilly wind from the NE made me put on long pants for the first time in several weeks. But it was a bit draughty on the back of the boat in shorts.Today’s trip took us on the long level through Congleton and Buglawton, then up the 12 locks at Bosley to the summit level at around 500 feet above sea level.It’s been a couple of years since we were here last, and I’d forgotten how attractive it is. It has some unique features,

Headstone shaped milestones…..
Hobbit-hole shaped stone bridge arches…..
And elegant turnover bridges.
As one of the last generation of canals to be built, it is similar to the Shroppie with it’s long embankments and extensive pounds with the locks in groups.

Over Congleton embankment.
BW busy replacing piling near Buglawton

There’s only the one flight of locks on the 28 mile length of the canal, and it was the last job today to get to the top of the 12 lock Bosley flight.

We arrived at the bottom lock (No 12) at 12:20, and had an excellent trip up, leaving the top lock just 1 hour 40 minutes later.

Bosley Bottom Lock
The flight is set in open country with odd thickets of trees, and as you climb the views back over the countryside open up.

The bulk of The Cloud lurks in the background, gongoozlers lurk in the foreground.
One of the problems on the flight used to be the absence of decent landing stages below the locks. No problem for boaters like us, the lock wheeler tends to stay off anyway. But single-handers have always struggled.
BW have addressed the issue, installing smart new staging at several of the locks.

New lock landing.
We passed 2 boats in the flight, ensuring that the locks were set in our favour, allowing us to make the top in such good time.

Swapping locks
We moored about ¾ mile above the top lock, at the end of the extensive permanent moorings.

The day improved by lunchtime, so much so that I reverted to shorts to go up the flight, and at one stage was down to shirt-sleeves in a sunny spell. Just for a little while.

The weather is supposed to be grim tomorrow, so we plan to stay put, moving on towards Marple on Sunday.

I bet Nick Clegg is feeling quite good today. Disappointed at his party's share of the vote, but now being wooed by Gordon desperate to stay in No10 and David desperate to oust him. Could be an interesting few months..... as in the Chinese curse - "May you live in interesting times".

Locks 12, miles 8½

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