Tuesday, May 07, 2013

From Upper to Lower…

We dropped down Marple Locks today, 214 feet down in just 1¼ miles. 16 locks, all around 13 feet deep, with very heavy paddle gear. As you’d expect, as there’s 12 feet of water pressing against the lower ones. The pressure at this depth is about 30% higher than at the surface.
As planned, we’d moved to Strines on Saturday to spend the weekend watching the boats go by. And there were quite a few…

We also got some good walks in, down by the river.

Old packhorse bridge across the GoytDSC_0111

While down in the valley we spent a fair time poking around in the ruins of Samuel Oldknow’s Mellor Mill, guided by one of the enthusiastic volunteers.

Then we went up onto Marple ridge, with fine views up the valley towards New Mills.

Goyt Valley, north-eastwards.Panorama
The canal is curving round at the foot of the slope.

Yesterday I set to, clearing out the space between the top of the water tank and the underside of the deck. About 12 inches high and the full width and length of the well deck, it’s been a useful depository for all those bits of timber left over from various projects. Those that will come in for something later…
The problem was that it was a bit full, so full in fact that several bits had fallen off the tank and lodged down the sides. So the first job was to clear the top, then delve deep within the hole to retrieve the misplaced bits. The right side was OK, but the left proved a little more difficult. A folding chair had lodged itself here, and was jammed in with something box-shaped on top. A mirror revealed a fridge box of Budweiser! I wonder when I bought that? It was retrieved with care, and part of the contents finished up in the fridge.

The chair was set up on the towpath in the sun, and got used when Nigel and Margaret, NB Willow, pulled in for a chat. This was the couple who gave up a day to help me down Bosley Locks last November, while Mags was over in Wales recovering from her stroke.

Nigel and Margaret

Good to see you again, and thanks again for the help. Enjoy your summer.

To prevent further losses of my “off-cut stock”, I made up a pair of barge-boards to fit along the sides of the tank.

Looking into the ‘oleSAM_5288
I’ve removed the drop down door to improve access. You can see the rather hit-and-miss application of spray-foam, it was like this in other, more important sections of the shell.

So, back to today. We left our weekend spot around half-ten, arriving at Marple Top Lock 20 minutes later.

Ah, young love.
I wonder if they will still be together next year… or even next month!

Marple Junction, with the trip boat from the Ring o’ Bells pub inconveniently dumped on the lock landing.SAM_5292
Chas is on Moore2Life on the right, waiting while Ann sets up the lock.

We followed on down, pausing for about 20 minutes below L15 to wait for a boat coming up. We had three volunteers helping on the flight today, note the use of “helping” rather than “doing”. One of the boat crews coming up seemed to think it was quite acceptable to leave the volunteer lockie to do all the work…

Mags aiming precisely for Lock 15SAM_5294

Passing Oldknow’s warehouse below Lock 10SAM_5296
It wasn’t a rapid descent, but with Dave, our volunteer, to help, it was certainly easier. Those paddles seem to get stiffer the further you go down, though…

Spot the duck competition, mallard's nest on a ledge below Lock 6SAM_5298


Dave, our helperSAM_5300

Nearly there, heading for Lock 1 with a veritable army of volunteers waiting to see us down. SAM_5299
Well 3, anyway.

With this many bodies manning the gates and paddles I took the tiller, and could get an unusual shot (for me) of the inside of a lock chamber.

In Lock 1

We crossed the high stone aqueduct over the river and moored just beyond the bridge at the end of Rosehill Cutting, which used to be Rosehill Tunnel till the top was taken off.

Over the aqueduct, the railway viaduct on the rightPanorama_0

Rosehill Cutting, Molly, Ann and M2L followingSAM_5308

Tomorrow we’ll be leaving the countryside and entering the urban fringes of Manchester, aiming to stop overnight at Portland Basin, AKA Dukinfield Junction, where the Lower Peak Forest meets the Ashton Canal going west and the Huddersfield Narrow going east.

As you can see from the pics it’s been another fine day, but it’s due to turn a bit wet over the next couple of days. Ashton Locks in the rain, looking forward to that…
Sad smile

Locks 16, miles 6½ (including Saturday)

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