An open roof sort of day…
Prior to the England /Wales rugby match on Saturday pundits were in a dither about whether the match at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium was to be played with an open or a closed roof. A closed roof apparently favours the Welsh crowd as the atmosphere and hwyl are intensified…
No matter what the decision (though pity about the outcome) the Cleddau crew were intent on an open roof sort of Saturday. Irked by weeks (nay, months) of non-boating, a gap of a few days in the calendar made a northward trip to Cheshire feasible.
On Thursday the Captain made an inspection; it was cold inside the cabin, but dry. The chimney was swept, kindling and coal brought the solid fuel burner to life, the Webasto breathed warm air into the radiators, fridge and freezer were turned on, hot water bottles were filled to air the bed.
Life ticks on at Higher Poynton: towpath walkers, hot chocolate drinkers at Bailey’s Trading Post (“Best January I‘ve ever had,” the owner claimed), new boat building at Braidbar Boats , and even some boat movements along the cold though unfrozen canal.
When Boatwif proposed a Saturday cruise remarkably nobody made an objection… Shortly after 10 am off the boat set, southbound, heading for Bollington.
Would anybody else be mad enough to move a boat on such a raw day…?
Comet, the little day hire boat at The Trading Post looked forlorn, unwanted.
Alongside the winter moorings lay Duke and Duchess, hotel boats resting up out of season.
The landscape, stunning as ever, was bleakly white on the slopes and hilltops. Like icing on chocolate yule logs powder snow clung to fallen timber. In some sheltered spots short green shoots offer promise of daffodils in a few weeks’ time.
An hour down the cut another boat approached, slowed, manoeuvred. This was Alton, the local coal boat, making deliveries to boaters along the canal. There were congratulations for Alton’s Brian and Anne-Marie, since now it’s official, their takeover of Bollington Wharf (as of 1st November) with a new team recruited to expand the business. See A New Chapter and photos here.
Out on the back deck (roofless, remember) it was cold, very cold… It took an hour and a half to reach Clarence Mill (Destination Lunch) but first the boat was to be winded and moored up. From just beyond the mill there’s often a view of White Nancy, a local landmark, on Saturday white against white and barely visible in the wintry conditions.
Onward then, a further half mile towards Adelphi Mill to turn at Bollington Wharf, the winding hole now clearly signposted. Northbound back the half mile – to tie up on Bollington Aqueduct. Extra crew arrived straight from Macclesfield Saturday Music School. After warm and tasty food from the Clarence Mill Waterside Café Cleddau was untied again and readied for her return trip. Advised to bring warm layers Cheshire Mum and the Cheshire One wrapped up well – and refreshed their steering skills. Back at Poynton the boat was reversed onto her mooring, tied up and returned to her role as a floating flat, before another period of winter hibernation.
The roofless February cruise was certainly cold – but was it mad? Yours is the decision on that!
Cruise Stats: 9.9 miles, 0 Locks