How far’ve you come?
“How far’ve you come?” someone called out from the bottom of his garden on Sunday afternoon.
“Just from Poynton.”
“Not far then!”
“Well, we left in May and we’ve done 700 odd miles.”
“ You’ve had good weather then… “
Thus went a snatched conversation at Hurdsfield on the northern outskirts of Macclesfield. The Macclesfield Canal is shallow, the going is never fast so there are frequent boat-to-shore exchanges.
On Saturday morning the Cheshire Three had arrived at the bottom of the Bosley Locks, come to the rescue of what the Captain irritatingly calls his broken Boatwif. “I will be your second and third hand, Granny,” called the Cheshire One and so she was.
The climb began, Boatwif’s right hand occasionally assisting Cheshire One’s two hands.
O n Sunday there were just about four more hours remaining of chugging along back to Poynton; past the odd-looking facade of this house in Macclesfield, the Hovis Mill, the now cleared site of the old hire boat base at Buxton Road Wharf, sweet peas at Hurdsfield, a minor panic on a day boat just minutes later, the snake bridge at Kerridge, visitors from the jungle in a nearby garden, a new tree house at Bollington, and Clarence Mill.
There’s a stretch then where the canal becomes very rural, wooded even. Tiny bits of foliage were drifting, confetti-like, onto a boat’s roof and a small boy kicked about amongst the leaf litter. There were anglers at Lyme View, an isolated property on the Lyme Park horizon, gnarled toe tree roots in the water… Then there was Bailey’s Trading Post, busy as usual with boater and walker customers.
“How far’ve you come?” was the question.
Answer: 775 miles
Other Summer Cruise Stats
Locks – 304
Days since departure – 129
Rivers and navigations – 6 (Nene, Middle Levels, Great Ouse, Witham, Trent, Weaver)
Canals – 8 (Macclesfield, Trent & Mersey, Coventry, North Oxford, Grand Union, Staffs & Worcs, Shropshire Union, Wardle)
Sea crossing – 1 (King’s Lynn to Boston)
Screams – 2 (bat in the boat; broken wrist)
Fenders lost – 3
Boat Emergencies – 2 (electrical fire; dead starter battery)
Launderettes used – 4 (Oundle Marina, Ely, Lincoln, Sawley Marina)
Any ideas for a 2015 cruise…?!