Canal Plan, the excellent route online route planner, suggests that between now and October 15th and my half-marathon near Sale we have around 35 hours cruising. In 6 weeks. And that includes a side-trip to Bugsworth Basin and Whaley Bridge. Hence our lack of any urgency.
So today we’ve moved up to the sunny moorings near Ramsdell Hall, and we’ll stay here tomorrow.
I made a visit to Kidsgrove’s Tesco this morning, crossing back over Pooles Aqueduct and walking back along the Trent and Mersey towpath.
Dropping off solid fuel at the Red Bull yard was John Jackson’s Roach, paired with butty Gosport. I was surprised, this is normally Brian and Ann-Marie’s usual patch, selling from Alton.
It was gone eleven by the time we untied and set off. Like I said, we’re in no hurry.
The first 1.3 miles of the navigation is, strictly speaking, a branch of the Trent and Mersey, but has long been accepted as a part of the Macclesfield Canal. There was some debate as to whether the new transport route from Marple via Macclesfield, Bollington and Congleton should be water based at all.
Some members of the committee set up to investigate the issues were in favour of a railway, but the fact that it would link to the Peak Forest Canal in the north and the Trent and Mersey Canal in the south swung the decision.
The first sod was lifted in Bollington on the 4th of December 1826, and 5 years later the canal was open throughout it’s length.
The Hall Green Branch was built by the T&MCC in order to have some control over water supply. At Hall Green two stop locks were built, facing in opposite directions so that neither canal could benefit from “stealing” the other’s liquid asset. The lower, T&M end of the pair was removed when the summit level of the Trent and Mersey was lowered a few inches to improve air draft in Harecastle Tunnel.
Hall Green Stop Lock
The narrows which once held the lower lock make a handy waiting point for the lock. Not that it takes long, the Macc is only 6” higher than the T&M at this point.
We spent over three-quarters of an hour filling with water above the lock. Our tank was about empty having not seen a hose since Etruria, and we’ve done several loads of washing, taking advantage of the fine drying weather.
Above Hall Green the particular character of this canal starts to appear. The milestones are tombstone-shaped…
…and the stone bridges have an elegant recurve to the arch as it descends.
Bridge 90, on the edge of Scholar Green, is a swing bridge that was replaced a couple of years ago. It doesn’t appear to go anywhere and is now fixed open.
A good job too. The last time I had to open it I nearly got a hernia!
Passing Heritage Narrowboats
Ramsdell Hall on the east side of the canal…
…and fine views across into Cheshire to the west
Panorama from the cabin window.
I should have avoided including the fence. Then the non-existent curve wouldn’t have been so obvious…
Locks 1, miles 2¼