Yesterday we left the moorings near Ramsdell Hall, heading on up the Macc. We didn’t have a particular destination in mind, deciding to see what the weather was going to do.
We had lovely evening sunshine on Tuesday, enjoyed by the cattle in the field opposite.
But the fine clear skies allowed the overnight temperature to plummet and it was cold in the morning, so I laid and lit the stove for the first time since spring.
I wasn’t the only one, a boat opposite had a smoky chimney too!
This canal, surveyed by the respected engineer Thomas Telford in early 1824, used the later technique of “cut and fill” rather than Brindley’s method of following the contours of the landscape. This results in straight runs along embankments and through cuttings.
There’s only one flight of locks on the canal, too, 12 grouped together at Bosley.
Another of those tomb-shaped milestones.
Note that the distance is to Hall Green Stop Lock, remember that the last mile and some to Hardings Wood Junction is actually the Hall Green Branch of the Trent and Mersey.
Coming into Congleton the canal passes under the first of the snake bridges, allowing the boat horse to swap sides without dropping the tow.
Lamberts Lane Bridge
The towpath stays on the right side for a short while, crossing back over at Morris Change Bridge.
The design is common across the network, an obvious solution to a problem. But they are known by various names depending where you are.
Snake, changeline and turnover are the most used.
Congleton Wharf and the restored warehouse, now apartments.
The canal doesn’t actually pass through Congleton; it lies to the west at a lower level, but it does pass through the suburb of Hightown, with a mess of road a rail bridges crossing over.
A tall embankment carries the navigation over a valley, with a tunnel under to carry Dane In Shaw Brook down to it’s confluence with the River Dane.
Looking to the west the viaduct carrying the West Coast Main Line, formerly the North Staffordshire Railway, can be seen crossing the valley further downstream.
We pulled in at the far end of the embankment, just before the aqueduct over another disused railway, the Potteries, Biddulph and Congleton Railway. Opened in 1860 it was operated by the North Staffordshire Railway and connected the collieries, quarries and ironworks along it’s route to Stoke and Congleton. It was formally closed in 1969 and the now surfaced track bed makes a good traffic-free cycleway and footpath.
And, in my case, a running track. Steadily climbing 250 feet from below the canal to Knypersley nearly 4 miles away, it gave me a good workout this morning.
The canal is carried in an iron trough, supported on stone abutments and flanked by stone arches carrying the towpaths.
Back on on the canal level, there’s a short arm just up from the aqueduct.
I’m guessing it must have been a trans-shipment wharf between the canal and the railway.
We stayed put today, a fine, sunny day after a cold night. much the same tomorrow according to the forecast. We’ll toddle round the corner, fill with water and stop within easy walking distance of the shops at Buglawton.
Locks 0, miles 4¼