Friday, April 20, 2012

From Aqueduct to Aqueduct

We spent the last couple of days moored at Gurnett Aqueduct just outside of Macclesfield. Mags had a check-up at the docs yesterday, so we hired a car from Enterprise to get up to Yorkshire for the day.
I usually get a Fiesta or Astra, but this time they offered me a free upgrade to a Vauxhall Insignia estate, 2 litre turbo diesel. It would have been churlish to refuse, wouldn’t it? So we travelled north in a bit more style than usual. Very frugal too. I put 30 litres in, expecting about 7 miles/litre over the 200 mile round trip. I reckon we used about 20 of those, so it did around 10 miles/litre. In old money that’s maybe 45 mpg. Not bad, eh. And we were cruising at 80 mph on the motorway.

Anyway we were back aboard by late afternoon, after fitting in flying visits to Mags’ grand-daughter Melanie, and son George, as well as the clinic.

Today was forecast to be dry-ish in the morning with heavy showers coming on in the afternoon. We were away at 09:30, planning to stop just north of Bollington before the weather turned.

Just up from Gurnett there’s a towpath closure at Br 43

No entry hereDSCF0355 Closed Towpath Br 43
Foden Bank, on the right, has a reputation for being unstable and is held back by a high stone retaining wall. Over the years the pressure behind has caused the wall to bulge, in fact it collapsed completely at one point a couple of years ago. Contractors are constructing buttresses to reinforce the stonework.

Buttress buildingDSCF0357 Shoring up

Here’s some they did earlier….DSCF0358 Done already

Into the town properly and the impressive Hovis Mill dominates the canal.

Hovis MillDSCF0360 Hovis Mill
Built in 1898 to produce the special flour to make Hovis bread, it soon proved too small and the operation was moved to a new mill in Trafford Park in 1904. From then till the 1990’s it was used for storage and production of the wrappers for the loaves. Run down and sad-looking, it was refurbished and redeveloped into popular apartments.

We pulled in for water just past Bridge 37. I say pulled in as a general term, in fact we couldn’t get closer than a couple of feet from the bank. Just along from the tap are the official 24 hour visitor moorings. No better than the water tap moorings, it’s no surprise they're not used.

Macclesfield Visitor MooringsDSCF0361 Macclesfield Moorings
Plan A was to moor here for the last two days for our trip to Yorkshire, but I‘m glad we decided to stay at Gurnett instead.

The towpath switches back to the west side at Bridge 29, using one of those splendid snake bridges.

Snake Bridge No 29.DSCF0365 Snake Br No 29
The towing horse would have gone under the arch on the right then up and around onto the top following the curved ramp….DSCF0367 Snake Br No 29
….before dropping back down to canal level on the other side.DSCF0368 Snake Br No 29 All without unhitching the towrope. Neat, eh.

The day had stayed dry but dull, but by the time we got close to Bollington it suddenly became black overhead and then let loose.

Heavy hailstorm at KerridgeDSCF0371 Hail at Kerridge
Short and (very) sharp, it was easing by the time we got to the large Adelphi Mill, and had stopped completely as we arrived at Bollington Aqueduct.

Adelphi MillDSCF0373 Adelphi Mill

Onto Bollington Aqueduct, Clarence Mill dead ahead.DSCF0374 Bollington Aqueduct and Clarence Mill

It was still looking dodgy so we decided to stop here instead of pushing on a bit further. Another heavy shower passed over soon after, confirming we’d made the right decision.

By mid afternoon the sky had cleared a bit, and I saw this structure out of the window. It’s marked on the map as “White Nancy” with no more information so Meg and I went to have a look.

White Nancy from Bollington AqueductDSCF0375 White Nancy

Built on the end of the ridge of Kerridge Hill in 1817, it commemorates Wellington’s victory at Waterloo. It’s believed to be named after one of the horses used to haul the building stone to the site. At 900 feet above sea level it’s a short but fairly steep climb up from the town.

It doesn’t look any different up close and personal, only bigger… (the lads are walking part of the Gritstone Trail)DSCF0378 White Nancy

From the monument we followed the ridge to the trig point at the top of the hill, now at 1000 feet.

Looking west across the Cheshire Plain to Wales.DSCF0382 West
North back along the ridge towards Manchester…DSCF0384 North
….and east over the village of Rainow towards the Peak District.DSCF0381 Rainow and Peak District
The National Park boundary lies just beyond the village.

We dropped back down past Endon House….

Endon HouseDSCF0385 Endon Hall
…and across a couple of fields to the canal at Bridge 28.

Looking back at Kerridge HillDSCF0387 Looking back at Kerridge Hill

Instead of stiles these stone “squeezes” have been used where footpaths cross walls.DSCF0386 Stile

We did well, just getting back to the boat as it started to rain again. Meg had to suffer the indignity of a “bucket bath” though. It was pretty muddy in places.

Locks 0, miles 4½


Adam said...

The moorings is Macclesfield really are terrible, aren't they? You'd think a place like that would make more effort to encourage people to stop.

Geoff and Mags said...

Hi Adam
Yes it's a shame isn't it. The nearest place with half decent moorings is Gurnett, nearly 2 miles from the town centre. There was a Heritage hire boat moored on the water point just south of B37. I reckon it was the only place they could all get off the boat!
Cheers, Geoff