We moved on a bit yesterday, just the last 3 locks to the summit level and round the corner at Hardings Wood Junction to moor on the Hall Green Branch.
Broody Swan on the Branch
The branch is odd in that it leaves the main line to the south, turns back and runs parallel about 100 yards away, before turning right again to cross over the Trent and Mersey near Lock 42 on Pooles Aqueduct.
Red Bull Top Lock (No 41), Hardings Wood Junction under the bridge on the right, straight on for Harecastle Tunnel and the Potteries.
Looking down on Lock 42 from the footbridge over Pooles Aqueduct.It makes sense to take the branch off the summit level, so there’s plenty of water to feed it. Staying on the main line it’s another 6 miles before the first downhill lock is reached, and the branch finishes at the stop lock at Hall Green, where it makes an end-on connection with the Macclesfield Canal.
The stop lock was built to protect the Trent and Mersey’s water supply and to prevent boats from passing from one canal to the other without paying tolls.I can’t see any topographical reason for the circuitous route. Although there must have been a good one. The three tight bends would have been difficult to negotiate with 70’ boats, especially towing.
Hardings Wood Junction (Google Maps)
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The branch runs off the main line, under the bridge and on to the left of the picture.....
And comes back in to turn right over....
Pooles Aqueduct (Google Maps)
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Then it's generally north to Macclesfield.
Today we’ve stayed put. My morning training run, a good long walk with Meg and then a trip to Tesco’s took up most of the morning. I was just looking forward to a sit down with a cup of tea when we were hailed by a passing boat.
“Are you Geoff Wade? Jim’s son?”.
“You don’t recognise me, do you”.
I had to admit that I didn’t, a little embarrassed like you tend to be in these situations.
“I’m your cousin Linda!”
They’d seen the name on the side of the boat, and, knowing from the family grapevine that we were also afloat, put 2 and 2 together. See, it pays to advertise!
It’s over 20 years since we’d last met, so we had a bit of catching up to do. It turns out that we’d been close over the last couple of years, like in London last year, but kept missing each other.
Linda, hubby Keith and Milly the dog.
They had to move on up to Scholar Green for shopping, but we’ll maybe see them again as they’re on their way to Whaley Bridge. Let’s hope it’s not another 20-odd years!
Locks 3, miles 1 and a bit.