Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sunshine and hail see us back on the Macclesfield.

On Thursday we were left on our own at the moorings near Carr Bridge on the Upper Peak Forest. First, George, Carol and little Molly set off on the first leg of their trip up to the Huddersfield Narrow Canal…..
…then later Charles, Ann and big Molly set off in the opposite direction to collect a parcel from Whaley Bridge Post Office.

The “Lifers” returned later in the day, just in time to join us for lunch.

We decided to leave moving on till today, not, as it turned out, the best of decisions. Keith and Joe (NB Hadar) walked back from their mooring at Furness Vale to have a chat, and so it was gone 11:00 before we got away.

Approaching New Mills in bright sunshine….SAM_5218

…leaving New Mills in a hailstorm!SAM_5220

This set the pattern for the day, sunny periods punctuated by sharp showers sending hailstones down my neck.

Ann hopped off M2L to open Higgins Clough Swing bridge, then walked the ¼ mile to Wood End Lift Bridge.

Ann on bridge duty

At Wood End there was a bit of a delay; Chas pulled over to allow an oncoming boat first dibs at the bridge, we got stuck on the bottom trying to reboard Meg and the day boat out of Whaley Bridge turned up behind. We weren’t going anywhere for a bit, so I waved the day boat through, then dislodged Seyella and followed, passing M2L with Chas waiting for Ann.

Letting the hire boat go ahead was a good scheme, they looked after Turf Lea Lift Bridge for all three boats before joining the back of the convoy again.

We had to back off the bottom three more times as we ran aground avoiding oncoming boats before we got to Marple Junction.
Both boats needed the use of the facilities but we had to wait for another boat to finish a comprehensive pump-out of the loo tank before we could get on, Chas and Ann were away first, heading towards our planned weekend mooring at Hawk Green, we followed on about 45 minutes later.

On the wharf at Marple Junction.
The wharf building is now used as a maintenance depot by C&RT, through the arch is an undercover dock beyond which is a gauging lock, used to check the depth marks on boat hulls.
When a new boat was launched it had to be “Gauged”, calibrated weights loaded aboard and the waterline marked accordingly. Tolls were payable by the ton of cargo, so these gauging marks were used to calculate the correct fee.
As this was a junction between two waterway companies, the tolls had to be paid before movement from one to the other was allowed. A typical toll (in 1797) on the Upper Peak Forest Canal was 1½d per ton per mile for limestone from Bugsworth, so from the basin to Marple would have been charged at 10½d per ton.

There’s a very inviting looking 100 yards of piling here between bridges 5 and 6, we’ve moored here before but unfortunately there’s only a couple of boat-lengths that are deep enough for mooring. These were occupied so Plan B swung into action and we’re now moored opposite the deer park, just before Bridge 8.

The park seems a bit under populated at the moment, we could only see these two from the canal.SAM_5229
The darker animal beyond is one of several cows sharing the pasture.

Several bloggers have posted pictures of this year’s first ducklings, not me alas. We’ve not seen a one. However, I did get a shot of a young Hereford…SAM_5222
That’s mum’s back in the foreground.

M2L has pulled in just in front of NB Just Imagine, (we’re a little bit further on) and Michelle popped out to say hello. We met last November as we passed through Marple. Good to see you again, glad you survived the winter OK!

Since we’ve moored the sky has brightened and the rain stopped. The weatherman is predicting a frost overnight, then more wet weather moving in tomorrow afternoon. Never mind, it’s May next week…

We’ll be staying put tomorrow, then heading down to Bollington on Monday. Maybe.

Locks 0, miles 5½

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