Crawling like tortoise…

Months of planning, weeks of boat preparation, hours of baking   16E-29  and a stash of winter clothing – that’s what it takes to get to the start line for a Cleddau summer cruise.

“When will you start?” so many have asked. You start when you are ready – and Monday saw an unexpected repair (fan replacement unit) of the Webasto central heating system, the washing and drying of the winter dust covers at Cheshire Mum’s house and the Captain’s attendance via speakerphone at a Governing Body meeting being held 150 miles further south…

So, it was Tuesday 26th April (a month earlier than in recent years) when Cleddau drew away from her Higher Poynton pontoon, bound for Liverpool.   16E-01   Approaching boaters were all swathed in thick coats and fur-trimmed hats. It was just as well that as an afterthought the lined trousers had been squashed into the densely packed car.

Fifty yards along the canal came the first stop, for three more bags of coal from The Trading Post. Further along nb Bosley  16E-03   was moored on the Wide– and it was good to have a chat with Dave and a wave to Kate. Best wishes to them both.

Half an hour later Cleddau cruised under Bridge 18:  16E-05    now she was as far south as she has been this year!  Despite the Arctic blasts some folk remain keen to go messing about in a boat. “Still learning,” murmured the Glaswegian voice at the helm of this boat.   16E-06   With numerous passengers and a keen barge pole wielder the boat was last seen heading off, one crew member still left standing on the bank…  Not long afterwards a boat adrift across the canal at Kerridge   16E-12  brought back memories of several previous boat recoveries.

The Macclesfield Canal provides frequent visual thrills: there’s the huge Goyt Mill at the northernmost point at Marple.  Three miles south of Poynton is Bollington where Clarence Mill   16E-08  and Adelphi Mill   16E-10   loom large over the canal. Further on again in Macclesfield is Hovis Mill. 16E-16    High above Bollington sits White Nancy,   16E-07   a conical structure built in 1817 to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo.  Then there are the visually pleasing roving (sometimes called “snake”) bridges  16E-13  which transfer the towpath from one side of the canal to the other. The hills to the east

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(Lyme Park, Kerridge Ridge, Tegg’s Nose, The Cloud) are constant companions, their profiles always a soul-stirring sight.

It being Spring flashes of new life  16E-21  and fresh colour provide light therapy for any winter SAD sufferers.

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 After an all-seasons transit down Bosley Locks on Wednesday (sun, showers, soft hail)

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and a mooring on Biddulph Aqueduct outside Congleton, there was chance for some ‘sploring.

Biddulph Aqueduct overlooks Dane-in-Shaw Pasture, where down in the valley bottom a weir over Shaw Brook was a new finding.  16E-27    Between the trees that line much of the Biddulph Valley Way bluebells  16E-28  and wood anemones  16E-26  shimmered bravely in chill temperatures.  It was later that some glorious evening sunshine provoked a thought: why, moored right here on Biddulph Aqueduct (in appropriate weather of course) Pimm’s has been served. Oh, did anybody check the on-board Pimm’s stocks…?

Now, hunkered indoors during an afternoon of heavy rain, temptation lurks… “Present for you,” Techno Son-in-Law had announced after the Geneva and back trip left Boatwif and the Captain on Cheshire One duties. He had handed over a brown shape, genuine Swiss chocolate, embedded apparently with corn flakes.   16E-19   Or maybe sampling it should wait until breakfast time tomorrow…!

The next few days will see a slow dawdle (tortoise-like ?) 16E-30   along the rest of this lovely waterway: there’s a plan brewing for a Bank Holiday liaison so location will be important…


Stats since last post: 17 miles, 12 locks.

Remaining miles and locks to Liverpool: 111 miles, 51 locks

Monkton Moments* to date: 0 (though on the Lyme View and back trip last week someone had commented “Long way from Wales, aren’t you!”)

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







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