Cliffhanging

Red Bull Aqueduct to Congleton Wharf: 4 miles, 1 lock

‘Since Cleddau could not have reached Lock 11 before nightfall it’s back to thinking about alternatives again…’

Those were the last words on the previous post, referring to the email update from Canal and River Trust late on Thursday afternoon. So what were the alternatives?

  • Turn round, head off the Macclesfield Canal, travel through the Harecastle Tunnel (photo July 19)    and book into a different marina for the winter
  • Turn round, head off the Macc, travel through the Harecastle Tunnel, cruise on to Etruria Junction  and kill time on the Caldon Canal (photos August ’19)  
  • Kill time on the lower pound of the Macc until the canal reopens…

It was the third option that was chosen.

Readers finding these cliffhanger options somewhat underwhelming might like the distraction of some proper cliffhanging… The Captain is a much younger brother to a sister. When asked what she’d like for a 90th (yes, 90th) birthday she specified a birthday card and a donation to charity. Her children (all in their sixties) persisted in trying to identify a present that would be appreciated, eventually extracting from her a dream to be airborne. …. See here for images of a 90 year old happily hanging above a Pembrokeshire cliff on September 15th

Non Facebook users can access the photos and video here:

Back to the Cleddau cliffhanger: when can boat and crew complete their homeward bound journey to the northern end of the Macclesfield Canal? And how can time be spent in the meantime…?

From Red Bull Aqueduct on Friday morning Cleddau set off over a great distance (not!) for the moorings beyond the Hall Green stop lock. The canal passes even closer now to the Mow Cop folly  Just beyond the Hall Green stop lock is a distinctive metal footbridge, decorated by bullseye-like circles.

Cleddau’s outward appearance was now less than smart: two trips through the Anderton Boat Lift had left her splodged with droplets of the salt-heavy Weaver waters.     The Captain set about clearing the roof of poles and pots for Operation Clean and Polish.

By Friday afternoon the first of the above Bosley escapees were beginning to arrive at Hall Green… 24 boats had queued to get down the 12 locks during the three hour window that morning, while 12 had been waiting to go up.  “We were the third,” said the boaters that moored in front of Cleddau. “Yes, there was some boat kissing along that narrow stretch at the top…”

During Saturday many more of the boats that had been delayed or trapped above the lock flight came by.  By mid-afternoon the 24th boat had arrived at the stop lock.  “We were the last,” the steerer said. “Four and a half hours we waited to get into Lock 1…”

Regardless of passing waterborne traffic the boat work continued: Cleddau was washed, her roof and port side were polished and buffed and her port gunwale painted…   

The canal at Hall Green runs within a deep cutting. There is no sign of housing from the towpath and yet walkers, especially dog walkers, frequently pass by. Do they all come from the footbridge? Where does the footbridge lead to?  On one side there’s an overgrown nettle-lined path up to some fields    while on the other the path leads up into the village of Scholar Green. Within a couple of minutes there was the roar of traffic along the A34. Across the road on a thatched rooftop is a wolf baying to the skies.   This is The Bleeding Wolf pub.  Earlier this year in a browse round the church at Church Lawton the tale of an attack by a wolf that was wounded had been discovered (see here:

Onward on Sunday, from Hall Green (one end of Scholar Green) , past Teapot Hall    to the other end of the village, close to The Rising Sun pub , where a second September birthday gathering was an attractive proposition for the Cheshire Three. The closure of the navigation 9 miles ahead was no deterrent for the  kayakers of the Macclesfield and District Canoe Club who had organised a Sunday paddle between Hall Green and Bosley Bottom…

While the cliffhanger waiting continues (Will the canal leak be repaired successfully this time? How long will it take…?) Monday was a dry and sunny day for Cleddau to cruise another 2¾ miles nearer to the closed locks. The day boats from Heritage marina were out and about  and opposite Ramsdell Hall   a Monday work party   was continuing to clean and paint the railings.

Mooring space at Congleton Wharf allows for easy access to the starboard side of the boat (Out came polish, polisher and paint again). All was done at a pace, before the threatened rains arrived by early evening.  

According to the latest C&RT leak update repair work went on all weekend. When will the locks and the affected canal stretch above them reopen? Will it hold this time? Let it not be a Bollington saga when a mystery leak three years ago took several attempts to repair (see last three photos here  )

To be continued…

2019 Monkton Moments*- 11 

(Monkton Moment*- a reference to / recognition of Cleddau’s Pembrokeshire connections)

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3 Responses

  1. Jaqueline Biggs says:

    Ken, your sisters astonish me and put me to shame. What an amazing family you belong to! How smart Cleddau looks! A little coddywompling never hurt anyone, and we all agree I am sure that you are on a lovely bit of the Maccie with plenty of places to moor up between The Railings and the bottom of the lock flight. Plenty of others have done the same previously so it looks like things are all right. That’s good!
    Love jAQ XXX

  2. Nid says:

    I’d like to second Jaq’s praise about your family. Inspirational jump by big sis. Fingers crossed you won’t be stranded too much longer and happy birthday dear Ken xx

  3. Sue /Boatwif says:

    Hi Jaq and Nid,
    We were staggered when we heard about the Big Sister’s request – but she was determined to do it – and she loved it!
    You’re right Jaq, there are far worse places to be having to hang about. We know the Macc pretty well and even headed down into what’s become a favourite cafe in Congleton for lunch yesterday.
    Hoping for an email update from C&RT later today re the repair…
    Boatwif

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