Thursday, April 11, 2013

Two days to Bugsworth

On Tuesday we had a steady day, then joined Baz and Ali on NB Mickey Jay for tea, followed be a pack walk.

The gang ready to goSAM_5073 Pack WalkFive humans, five dogs.

Everybody decided to move on yesterday, Mickey Jay first at the ungodly hour of 9 o’clock, us next at a civilised 10:30, followed by the Rockers and the Lifers.

For only the third time since we moved aboard in 2006 we ran out of water – while I was having a shower! Just about enough of a dribble to rinse the majority of the suds off, and enough in the kettle for a brew. So the first port of call had to be the water tap just under Bridge 15.
A bit of a worry was the C&RT workboat moored there, the guys preparing to do some towpath repairs. Luckily they were happy for us to pull alongside.

Watering up alongside NB Gailey
SAM_5074 Watering alongside Gailey

We’d hailed Lewis and Pawel across the water the previous evening, their boat is moored on the offside further up the canal, and they came down to say hello properly while we were filling up. Sorry guys, I didn’t get a picture, and I guess you weren’t back on board as we cruised past.

Past the Victoria Pit moorings at Poynton.SAM_5075 Poynton
It’s often forgotten that until the early part of the 20thC the main employment for the area was coalmining. Poynton is at the edge of the East Cheshire Coalfield, and mining has been going on for hundreds of years. One of the reasons for the building of the canal was to service the many pits in the area.
Braidbar Boats occupy what was a loading wharf, the site of Nelson’s Pit is now a car park and a museum stands where Anson Pit was dug.
Water was always a problem, and the most modern pumping engines were employed to extract the inflow. At the end of the 18thC several steam engines were used for pumping and shaft hauling.

Remains on the surface at Canal Pit
SAM_5068 Canal   Pit
The last pits closed in 1935, and little of the underground gear recovered, as the cost of keeping the workings dry made it uneconomic. In a couple of weeks of the pumps being switched off water had risen to within a few feet of the top of Park Pits Shafts. There’s an excellent resource here, from which I’ve purloined most of this info.

High Lane sits astride the canal, and the North Cheshire Cruising Club have made an abandoned LNER transhipment wharf here their base.

NCCC under the towpath bridge.SAM_5076 High Lane

High Lane and Bridge 11
SAM_5077 High Lane
There’s moorings both sides of the bridge here.

That snow just won’t go, will it!
SAM_5079 Still snow

Approaching Marple there is a stretch of piling, popular for mooring, opposite fields where deer are often seen grazing. Not too many there at the moment, though, and a long way away!

Long shot…SAM_5082 Deer Park
I’m surprised I got them at all; maximum zoom (x20) from a moving boat!

Goyt Mill marks the edge of Marple, standing on the east bank of the canal. Built in 1905 as a cotton mill, the architecture owes much to earlier Victorian buildings, with decorative brick strings to emphasise the height. The tall chimney, a local landmark, was demolished in the 1980’s, and the mill now houses around 80 small businesses….SAM_5087 Goyt Mill
….and an impressive array of mobile phone masts!

Nood Game for a boat…
SAM_5088 Nood Game

It was busy around the junction with the Peak Forest Canal, the moorings opposite the service wharf all full and boats queuing for water. I‘m glad we got ours at Poynton.

Marple Junction up ahead.SAM_5089 Marple junction

When the Macclesfield Canal was built, the Peak Forest Canal Company insisted that a stop-lock was installed at the junction to protect their water supplies. The lock is long gone, but the chamber is still there, a narrow channel just before the junction bridge. I was well into this, approaching the bridge, when a heard a horn just before the bows of a boat appeared around the corner, heading my way. I hooted back, and I made it very clear that there was no way I was going back. So I stayed in the old lock till he turned and reversed towards the top lock of the Marple flight. He still didn’t give me enough room to swing, coming forward to butt our cabin side with his bow button. He pulled back again when I scowled at him.
Through all this his missus was sitting impassively in the front cockpit, without a care in the world.

We did manage to complete the turn, now on the Upper Peak Forest.SAM_5090 Peak Forest 

Looking out across the Goyt ValleySAM_5092 Hazy Hills

Old Blue Bell was here last autumn, the winter and local plunderers have not improved her condition.

Blue Bell, such a shame.
SAM_5094 Blue Bell

Around the corner, above Strines, there’s another boat that’s suffered a major misfortune, this time by fire.SAM_5096 Burn out
It obviously started at the back end of the cabin, but most of the interior is gutted. Doesn’t look that old, either.

More hills to the north and east
SAM_5098 Hills again

We had three of the four moveable bridges on this stretch to do, two to lift and one to swing.

Mags brings Seyella through Higgins Clough Swing BridgeSAM_5100 Higgins Clough Swing BrLeft a bit, dear!

Matlow’s at New Mills must have been cooking, we could smell the sweet aroma of confectionary from a mile away!

Matlow’s sweet factory, New Mills
SAM_5101 Matlows, New Mills

There’s no-where decent to moor in the town, but a bit further along, before Carrs Bridge, there’s a popular length of piling with fine views across the valley. We pulled in here, once again right behind NB Mickey Jay. Totally unplanned, we’d no idea how far they were heading.

Moorings near New MillsSAM_5106 Near Carrs Br

Good views across the valley….
SAM_5107 View from mooring
…shame about the railway 100 yards on the other side of the canal. Still, it doesn’t run late at night.

It was a fine, dry day, little wind and warm enough to dispense with a jacket for part of the time.

Today we’re back to the cold wind, but now there’s no sunshine to make it feel warmer. It seems to have got colder as we cruised the last 2½ ,miles to Bugsworth.

Baz and Ali opened Carr Swing Bridge for usSAM_5108 Baz and Ali at Carrs Br
accompanied by the delightful Yorkies Archie and BellaSAM_5110 Archie and Bella
Sweet, huh.

Then it was an uneventful trip to the junction with the Whaley Bridge Arm, where we turned left to the basin.
SAM_5114 Whaley JunctionSAM_5115

After watering up again and emptying the loos we pulled into the Lower Basin Arm behind Malcolm and Barbara on NB Pilgrim, who cruised past us before we set off this morning. We haven’t seen them for a while, so we had a good catch-up this afternoon over a cup of tea.

Moored in BugsworthSAM_5117 Bugsworth

Here for the weekend, now.

Locks 0, miles 10½ (2 days)

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