Mill-hopping

       There was a sense of being in foreign parts today. A landscape and canal route usually familiar looked strangely different…
         It had been a quiet night, high on the aqueduct above Bollington.

There is no traffic noise here and the few ducks about were too hungry to make a racket, unlike the Canada geese at Poynton on Thursday night.  Then there had been frequent outbreaks of goose gabble after dark: “It’s well after lights out in the dorm,” Boatwif had wanted to say, recalling residential field trips when pupils are too excited … “It’s time to settle down now and let the rest of us sleep.”

           Before departure this Easter Saturday morning the Captain took himself off down into Bollington. Note the word “down”. The canal runs way above most of Bollington, sweeping above steep streets and narrow lanes, playing fields, churches, a viaduct and an Arts Centre.  It’s easy to reach the butcher, baker, post office, library, etc:  just leave the canal embankment at a suitable place and walk downhill (trying not to let your feet run away with you) or find a flight of steps.  There are over forty steep steps up to the canal by Adelphi Mill, and that’s after an uphill climb as well.

Like tall bookends the mill buildings mark the ends of the Bollington canal stretch, Clarence Mill to the north, Adelphi Mill to the south.
It was near Adelphi Mill that that “foreign parts” feeling first occurred.

           “Morning,” Boatwif said to an approaching dog walker.
           “Aye up,” was the northern reply.

Cleddau crept through Bridge 28 and on towards Kerridge. Snow still lay in the gardens and all was quiet at Kerridge Dry Dock.
 Through bare trees snow could be seen still clinging to the old quarry sites and to the hillside contours. Cleddauslid through the turnover bridge (Bridge 29) where the canal takes on a completely a rural character.
 The towpath banks were piled high with drifted snow.

Bare trees on the offside allowed far greater glimpses than usual of the vast Astra Zeneca manufacturing plant; its companion research arm is sited a couple of miles away and is soon to be relocated to the fen flatlands in Cambridge. This all seemed a sharply different world from last, and previous, trips this way…
On then through Hurdsfield, Macclesfield’s northern suburb.

            Hovis Mill hove into view, a convenient (and not shallow) mooring just opposite it.  So, three mills – and then a mooring!

Macclesfield was displaying a Saturday afternoon buzz today:  a saxophonist was busking mournfully in Church Square and a few souls braved the seating outside the coffee shop.
 On Sunday the Square will be the venue for the monthly bustle of the Treacle Market http://www.treaclemacclesfield.co.uk/  , a real treat for anyone who has time, interest and cash.

            Meanwhile, back on the boat, the Captain was hosting foreign visitors: three  Americans (out of Rhode Island and now Florida) had asked questions from the towpath and came aboard to sate their curiosity.

Another short cruise, of 3.35 miles. The total now? “Not a lot!” according to the Captain.

            Tomorrow: towards Bosley – and maybe down the locks…

 

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