Cleddau is on the move, a brief (relatively speaking) trip from Poynton on the Macc to Longport Wharf on the T & M at Stoke-on-Trent.
It’s for some winter works, a sort of grand MOT – hull inspection and bottom blacking, some engine works – and, most importantly, “a nice bedroom”. That’s what Mike Adkins, project manager, has promised. This boat only gained a wardrobe when the Captain lived aboard and needed somewhere to hang his suit. It was a home-made cupboard, granted you could squash a lot into it but retrieving anything uncrumpled was nigh on impossible. So the prospect of a “nice bedroom” with a “nice” wardrobe is … nice!
At Victoria Pit Moorings owners Iain and Luisa Bryceland have kept their word: over the summer green painted huts have been installed to house hose pipes and taps.
Not to have to reverse through ice in the winter months back to the tap by The Trading Post just to put some water into the tank represents a very positive improvement for these boaters.
What else has happened and not happened in Poynton in the last three weeks? It seems there was a great storm. Never before has the boat’s interior been speckled with dried leaves, fragments of foliage and dust, driven in through the one small drop back window left open for air circulation, driven under the cratch onto the front deck and driven under the back doors into the engine room. The black rubberised matting used on the back deck has disappeared, blown away presumably, only one very small section remains. Meanwhile, across the canal at the rubbish disposal point towpath side, very close to Braidbar Boats and The Trading Post, this horrific sight greeted the eyes this morning.
An email and photo has been dispatched to the local office of Canal and River Trust: what response will there be…?
To prepare for boat work involves making space. Hence yesterday a garage in Macclesfield received sundry items from a front deck picnic table and stern flagpole to a great box labelled FRAGILE – BREAKABLES. The interior looks rather bare but there will be more “stuff” to either remove or hide once the destination is reached…
Cleddau has passed this way several times this year: in late winter snows at Easter time, in the slowly emerging spring in May, in late summer last month and now in the early throes of autumn. Today leaf islands floated on the water
while orange tips were beginning to show on towpath vegetation.
An hour or so on the crew arrived at Bollington: Clarence Mill’s chimney work is now complete but the windows were being cleaned.
Bollington – Mr Heathcote the Butcher! A plan was hatched, moor up at Adelphi Mill, pop down the hill and top up on supplies. Mooring was a tricky battle eventually won, the Captain returned triumphant with supplies, although Mr Heathcote was closed for half day…
Macclesfield was passed. Then, just before Sutton there was activity. Volunteers were cutting back nettles and brambles from the tall retaining walls by the golf course
and CRT staff were installing new drainage a little closer to Sutton.
Past Gurnett Aqueduct and Sutton Wharf the view opens up.
There are those wonderful vistas back towards Macc Forest and into the Peaks foothills. Usually there is entertainment available here from the very sociable Canada geese. Today it was the crows, wheeling and turning, darting and dancing, that caught the eye.
Nearby, exhausted from battling with the wind, serried rows of gulls patiently sat out the blasts,
awaiting calmer weather.
Broadhurst Swing Bridge, half a mile or so further on, has a reputation for being difficult –there’s even a handwritten notice there now to tell you the same! Nb Serendipity was just ahead of Cleddau.
Despite the best efforts of its two adult crew jumping and pushing on its stubborn platform the bridge would not budge. The Captain joined the bridge party and some coordinated yowling and shoving later it shifted.
“ Leaving it open,” growled the Captain as he clambered back on board. Here’s hoping an oncoming boat met a few minutes later (Braidbar’s Tiree) appreciated the gesture!
There’ll be serious activity ahead tomorrow: Oakgrove Swing Bridge, the Bosley Twelve and some miles towards and perhaps beyond Congleton…