Friday, April 05, 2013

Bit of a struggle to Bollington.

Another bright sunny morning following a sharp overnight frost, but the skin of ice evaporated as soon as the first rays touched the water.

Bosley Top Lock this morning
SAM_5013 Bosley Top

Lapwing in the field alongside the boats.SAM_5021 Lapwing
Thanks, Ann, for spotting him.

It was around 10:40 before we got going, the wind was still brisk but a little lighter than of late. It was about 1½ miles to our first obstacle, the mechanised swing bridge at Oak Grove.

We passed Renaissance Canal Carry Co.s base just before the bridge..SAM_5023 Alton Base
NB Alton is here, Brian and Ann Marie are planning to move north to Marple, Whaley Bridge and Bugsworth tomorrow after finishing loading.

We were lead boat today, so I hopped off before the swing bridge, leaving Mags on the tiller, and ushered both boats through.

Oak Grove Swing Bridge… Mags…
SAM_5024 Oak Grove Bridge

…. and Chas.
SAM_5025 Oak Grove Bridge

Just after was our first hold-up, M2L had picked up rubbish on the prop coming through, and it took the combined efforts of Chas and myself to clear it

Chas investigating the weed hatchSAM_5026 Chas in weed HatchWe retrieved a carrier bag full of plastic, rope and weed.

About a mile further on is another swing bridge, at Broadhurst. This one is manually operated, and is a pig to open. We came up behind another boat that had passed while we were delving in M2L’s unmentionable regions, the woman in the crew was unable to open it, so I trotted up and put my back to it too. It was still a struggle, but we got it open in the end.

From here it was an uneventful cruise into and through Macclesfield, past the Gurnett aqueduct moorings where I spent an enforced 16 days while Mags was in hospital.

Gurnett aqueductSAM_5031 Gurnet

Leaving the built up area there’s a long straight along the pharmaceutical factory of AstraZeneca.
Before the industry encroached the canal was crossed by several swing bridges, a few hundred yards apart, and the narrows where they were installed are still there, although thankfully the bridge decks are long gone. It’s not a stretch I enjoy, the edges are very shallow and at busy times you have to time your arrival at the “chicanes” to avoid oncoming traffic. Luckily only one boat in the opposite direction today.

There’s still evidence of the ferocity of the snowstorms that swept across the country.SAM_5033 Snowdrifts
The warmer weather we’re due this weekend should put paid to these last reminders of winter. Well, hopefully the last…

We passed the boatyard at Kerridge, then entered Bollington by the large Adelphi Mill.

Adelphi MillSAM_5035 Adelphi Mill

Bollington had many mills in the River Dean valley, using water power for spinning machinery or milling cereal crops. When the canal was finished the Swindells family built this and Clarence Mill, taking advantage of the cheaper transportation of cotton and coal the boats offered.

Clarence Mill is on the north edge of the town
SAM_5037 Clarence Mill

We’d intended mooring on the aqueduct here, but as you can see there was no room at the inn. We did spot NB Mickey Jay, recently bought by Barrie and Ali who are just finishing their first winter aboard. We’d spoken via email, but this was the first chance to meet face to face.

We tried to moor beyond Bridge 26, but the bottom was too near the top as they say, so moved on and managed to grab the last two spaces on the piling between B25 and B24.

After a brew Ann and I took the pooches for a walk, down onto the Middlewood Way then back up onto the aqueduct, to have a proper chat to Barrie and Ali.

Barrie and Ali, NB Mickey Jay
SAM_5040 Baz and Ali, NB Mickey Jay
They seem to have wintered well, at least they’re still talking to each other! The first winter always tests the mettle of new liveaboards, it looks like this pair are going to make it. Well done, both. We’ll see you again while we’re up here.

Locks 0, miles 8½

1 comment:

barrie allen said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence Geoff - praise indeed!