Missions accomplished

Bugsworth to New Mills: 2.31 miles, 1 swing bridge

            It has been a day when no rain has appeared – yet! After two nights tucked up in Bugsworth Basin it was time to move on, but to where? How far?

While the Captain waited to access the water tap this morning the Edale Activity Centre team reappeared. Soon a raft of canoes was stretching across the Middle Basin and a crowd of youngsters were taking land-based instruction in the Lower Basin.

            By mid-morning Cleddau and crew were on the move, although not for very long. Boatwif had long yearned to explore the Torrs Riverside Park, two entrances to which lead from the towpath near New Mills. The Captain, however, felt that in the current rain-free conditions some serious roof-polishing was needed. It is the paintwork on the roof which deteriorates most quickly, affected by sun and wild weather, droppings from overhanging trees at the mooring, from dust in the atmosphere, from mud and grit on the ropes. So by about midday Cleddau was moored up overlooking the Goyt Valley, crew members intent on different ways of spending their afternoon. If the Captain ever felt lonely in the couple of hours Boatwif took to do her exploring there was plenty of passing company – boaters, walkers and the trains, trains on the opposite bank rushing between Manchester and Buxton, trains across the valley, some short local passenger coaches, some much longer freight trains, heading to and from  Sheffield.

            Early afternoon Boatwif duly set off on her expedition, equipped with rucksack, waterproofs, first aid kit, water, map, umbrella and phone.  The Torrs Riverside Park comprises three ancient meadows, now managed ecologically by the New Mills Town Council, the area being known as “Flowery Meadows” in the nineteenth century. A leaflet outlines that in August napweed and sneezewort can be seen, not that Boatwif would recognise such. Grasshoppers and crickets sang and an occasional butterfly darted over the grasses. There were areas of wetland, a couple of board walks and some stock grazing in the upper pasture.  From the bottom of the meadows a rare feat was achieved (though not well), a photo capturing a train crossing the high viaduct. Then, a few minutes later what a surprise – four posts arranged in line turned out to be a seasonal sundial.

Back on the towpath Boatwif headed for the town seeking directions for the Millennium Walkway. There had been a visit here with Cheshire Mum and Cheshire One about five years ago but back then arrival had been by car… Across a high bridge over the River Goyt she went, then down the steps behind the bus station. It is astonishing – a deep gorge opens up in front of you, an old mill and chimney dominating the scene, but round the corner to the left is a veritable catalogue of surprises: rock climbers practising on the rock face, a couple of massive bridges over the River Goyt and the River Sett and a modern reverse Archimedes screw hydro power plant which by July 2012 had generated 600,000Kwh (since September 2008).  This hydro screw thus pre-dates the one in Bedford by four years.  Then there is Millennium Walkway, a gracefully designed bridge which follows the curve of the high stone wall of the gorge, the River Goyt roaring below. (See Geoff’s description on nb Seyella’s blog for more detail of the area).

One more surprise: just up from the Union Street Goyt Bbridge hung a sign, The Plain English Campaign. Its work has been heard of but never would Boatwif have expected to find its headquarters here! See  http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/contact-us.html

             Back at the boat the Captain was fiendishly, breathlessly, polishing the last inches of the roof. There was only the bow locker to go before a sigh of relief could be expressed.

            In summary then, yearnings satisfied and missions achieved today…

Tomorrow, back to Higher Poynton to spend a night at home moorings.

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