Tuesday, November 20, 2012

(Almost) According to plan….

My half of the operation went off OK, but the hospital screwed up a little this morning. Although I’d been assured three times that all would be ready for Mags’ discharge today, the pharmacy hadn’t got the medications signed off by the doctor when Val and John arrived, so they all had to sit around till 1 o’clock when they finally got their act together.
Still, I got a text at around three to sat they’d all safely arrived home, and Mags was sitting down with a cup of tea. I called at around half past, she was OK but tired after three interrupted nights on the ward. She’ll sleep well tonight.

On the nautical side, Meg and I got away at just after 8 o’clock, finally saying goodbye to Gurnett Aqueduct.

Away at lastSAM_4253 Leaving Gurnett (1)
The lamp isn’t lit on the back of “John Sage” it’s reflection from the camera flash, which got turned off afterwards. That’s how gloomy it was first thing. It stayed pretty dull all day, but at least we got down Bosley Locks in the dry.

Looking back to the hills of Goyt Forest.SAM_4254 Looking Back I took the same photo two weeks ago last Friday, little knowing what was going to happen…

I dropped lucky at Broadhurst Swing Bridge, as a boat was just coming through from the other direction so I got waved through. I’m never sure whether this bridge will need opening or not. Sometimes it’s left open anyway.

About twenty minutes on there’s another swing bridge near Fools Nook, this one mechanised. I wasn’t looking forward to this one; the first time I used it I nearly caught a car between the barriers as he jumped the flashing lights.

Royal Oak (Fools Nook) Swing bridge SAM_4256 Fools Nook Br

Alas, no-one was coming the other way here, so I had a bit of dashing about to do. Tie up, across the bridge to open it, back across the footbridge to untie and motor through, tie up again, back across the footbridge, close the bridge and wave to the queue of drivers, back across the bridge and make myself a brew before pushing on. The joys of single-handing.

Ann-Marie was pottering about on NB Alton as I approached their base just past the bridge, so I slowed, intending to say hi as I passed, but then decided to tank up while I had the opportunity. Then I shoved another couple of bags of smokeless on the roof for good measure. Cheers guys, see you next year, all being well.

Ann-Marie and NB AltonSAM_4257 NB Alton

I‘d arranged with Margaret and Nigel to meet at Bosley Top Lock at 10:00, but I was about ten minutes late with the unscheduled stop. Accumulated rubbish disposed of and a loo tank emptied and we were on our way down at twenty past the hour.

Bosley Top Lock, with The Cloud dominating the horizonSAM_4258 Bosley Top
Working well together, and with all the locks set in our favour, we made rapid progress, meeting a couple of boats near the bottom of the flight of twelve.

Lots of water coming down the flightSAM_4259 Bosley Locks

I made the mistake of allowing Seyella to drift back to the top gates of one lock; now I’ve an inch of water to mop out of the bilge! Luckily none sprayed down the steps.

At the bottom we had a brew, then parted company, Margaret and Nigel back up the locks and home, me pushing on south.

Margaret and Nigel, embodying the spirit of the canals.SAM_4262 Nigel and Margaret
Thanks so much both. Instead of a slow three hours or so solo, we made the bottom in a remarkable 70 minutes! See you soon.

My intention was to stop somewhere around Ramsdell Hall, but decided to push on a little further as we’d made such good time at the locks. So on we plodded, past Buglawton and through Hightown and Congleton.

Long straight past BuglawtonSAM_4266 Buglawton Straight

Over the Dane aqueduct SAM_4268 Congleton Aqueduct

A mess of bridges at HightownSAM_4269 Hightown Bridges

Dog Lane Aqueduct in CongletonSAM_4270 Dog Lane Aqueduct

The towpath switches sides twice as it passes through the town, Lamberts Lane Bridge is a fine example of a northern “snake” bridge, almost organic curves carrying the towpath up and over the canal.

Lamberts Lane BridgeSAM_4274 Lamberts Lane Br

The design allowed the boat horses to cross the canal without dropping the tow-rope.

Boat names south of Congleton….

I like this one.SAM_4276 What's in a name 1

How about this one?SAM_4277 What's in a name 2
I guess it refers to the tune and dance written to celebrate the victory at the Battle of Arroyo dos Molinos, during the Peninsular War, in 1811. It was probably commissioned (or written) by Lord George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron of Rochdale who is perhaps better known as a poet than a dancer…..

After Congleton the canal heads decisively SSW (or NNE depending on your point of view), passing the other hill of substance, Mow Cop.

Mow Cop looking brooding under grey skies…SAM_4279 Mow Cop

My amended plan to push on to maybe Hall Green got shelved as a light drizzle turned into heavy rain just past Ramsdell Hall, so I pulled in. Just as well, Meg was bursting for a pee, as was I.
Of course, the rain stopped when  got tied up….

Moored near Ramsdell Hall, Heritage Narrowboats is just around the corner ahead.SAM_4280 Moored near Ramsdell Hall

It’s been good to be on the move again, even under these circumstances. I think Meg was excited about moving on as well, but she’s tired now after walking all the way down the locks and missing her afternoon doze. She’s not the only one.

We’ve a shortish day tomorrow; an hour the Harecastle Tunnel, then just three and a half miles on the other side to Etruria and the top of the Stoke Locks.

Thanks everyone for the kind and supportive comments over the last couple of weeks, it’s lovely to know that so many people care.
To answer some of the more specific comments –
Jan and Dai, sorry we’ll not see you over on the Welsh Canal this winter. Maybe next year.
Mike and  Mags, thanks for the dogsitting offer. It looks like you’ve had your hands full with Abbey, though. Hope she stays well.
Ray and Jayne, you offered help moving? If you’re around how are you fixed for Fradley on Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning? 0770 3728793.
Jill, that John Sage was a mean dude, wasn’t he!
Bruce and Sheila, looking forward to seeing you at the marina. Not sure where we’ll be yet, but we’ll find each other!
Simon, Friday looks like being a nice day, certainly a day for being on the canal rather than in the office! I intend to be somewhere around Meaford, either above or below the locks, on Thursday night, setting off through Stone to Gr Haywood on Friday. I don’t know your location, but if you’re interested give me a call on 0770 3728793.
Hi Heth, not sure where we’ll be yet, but we’ll get together when we’re set up. TTFN

Locks 12, miles 12.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Geoff
We both enjoyed being able to help with Bosley. We even worked a couple of locks for the two boats that we met going up! Hope the rest of your journey goes well & that Mags continues to make a good recovery. Maybe see you in the Willow Tree next time we're passing on the A50!

Margaret & Nigel