Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Busy up to Bollington.

There’s been a few boats about today, a fair proportion of them built by Braidbars up at Poynton. They’re having their annual Open Day this weekend.

There’s another event taking place at Bollington as well, a Boat and Folk Weekend. One of the historic boats has already arrived…

So, today started reasonable, a few bright periods but the cloud built up and we’ve had a couple of showers as we cruised up to Bollington.

Pleasant first thing…
The canal swings out to the west of Macclesfield, avoiding the valley of the River Bollin in which it sits. At this point it’s heading towards Buxton and the eastern edge of the Peak District. But at Gurnett, as it crosses the river, it swings around to head north again.

Good moorings at Gurnett Aqueduct
Past that row of cottages on the right is the mill where canal engineer James Brindley was apprenticed between 1733 and 1740. He had no hand in this navigation, of course, having died 60 years before it’s completion.

The towpath swaps sides to pass through the town, carried over Foden Bank Bridge. This is another of those delightful snake bridges, this time backed by a conventional accommodation bridge crossing the canal.

Foden Bank itself rises to the right, held bank from falling into the canal by a massive retaining wall. DSCF1047
The towpath along here was closed for quite a time a few years ago to allow for rebuilding sections of the wall and building extra buttresses.

Looking across the rooftops of Macclesfield
At one time the biggest producer of finished silk in the world, it boasted 71 silk mills operating in 1832. But it’s nickname is “Treacle Town”. This refers to an historic incident in which a cart-load of barrels of treacle spilt it’s load and the townsfolk rushed out of their houses to scoop up the bounty.
On the last Sunday of each month is the Treacle Market, selling food, drink, arts and antiques.

We’d heard that dredging is in progress around Macclesfield, and we got held up for about 10 minutes by the crew working next to the maintenance yard, just south of the Hovis Mill.
That wasn’t too much of a problem, but we could have done with water and the tap has been relocated from near Bridge 37 to outside the depot, yes, behind all that equipment. No chance.

Moorings in Macclesfield have always been a bone of contention, with poorly maintained banks and underwater obstructions. But CRT have gone partway to addressing the problem by installing new pontoon moorings just past Bridge 37.
Room for maybe 6 boats, so that’s progress.

Just around the corner we had another short delay as more accumulated silt and rubbish were lifted from the canal bed.DSCF1053

Between Macclesfield and Bollington the views are impressive, it’s a shame the gloomy weather didn’t do them justice.

There’s a long straight between Bridge 30 and 33 past the extensive Akzo-Zeneca chemical works. The missing bridges were swing bridges, now removed.

The canal through Bollington passes two mills, the first, Adelphi…

Adelphi Mill with Bollington Wharf opposite.DSCF1063

…and the large Clarence Mill, both built for producing cotton.DSCF1066

We’d hoped to moor on the embankment just south of Clarence Mill but it was full up, so we mooched on a little further and pulled in just before Bridge 26. Well, mostly. The water is shallow so the stern is stuck out a bit, but it’s only for one night.

Locks 0, miles 5½

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