High Cirrus over the High Peak

Permission to visit and stay overnight on boats took effect from 4th July. For months the large blue IKEA bags (handy for transferring stuff from house to car boot and through narrow hatches and doorways onto a boat) had been lurking at home, awaiting onward transportation…

And what mixed bags they were – bedding, a repainted flagpole for the stern, foodstuffs, walking boots, waterproofs, electrical paraphernalia,    2 Turks’ head knots for tiller decoration and    a customised companion set  (the last a lockdown project).

The interior of the boat was still in winter mode, dry but soul-less. Dust covers had been draped over the soft furnishings, galley equipment had been plastic covered or hidden in cupboards while all the poles, life rings and the gang plank had been stored inside the cabin since last October…

An early job was to position this year’s version of the Cal Three and the Cheshire One…

The Captain’s job list was long, though not on the list was one that became the priority – the removing, re-plumbing and resealing of the bathroom wash basin once a new plug had been installed. A basin that wouldn’t hold water was of no use whatsoever… Three times the basin was heaved out of the counter top, sealant scrubbed off and re-plumbing begun…

While efforts were going on to retain water in the washbasin aboard Cleddau, another water management saga took place at a mooring directly across the canal. There had been very heavy rain the previous night (Wednesday 8th) and the boat immediately opposite had sunk…    Petrol /diesel was oozing onto the water and at about 0930 on Thursday morning the Captain contacted C&RT. His report apparently was not the first.   By mid-morning a boon had been put around the boat    and it was proving a great attraction to pedestrians on the towpath. The following morning a chap and a woman arrived with a pump and in absolutely torrential downpours tried to pump the water out of the cruiser.   It looked the most hopeless case of attempting to lift a boat off the bottom. At some point a second pump was added to the operation and by 2pm the boat was afloat, had been spun round and was being brushed and mopped clean…   According to the owner the extremely heavy rain had driven through the canopy onto the back deck, and the weight of water eventually lowered the boat until the air intakes were below the canal level… At 2.45pm (Friday 10th July) as Cleddau embarked on her Summer 2020 cruising season, the boat owner and helpers were jubilant at their successful recovery operation! 

For the first time then in nearly ten months Cleddau was on the move, gently heading north  – and crossing with a day boat with a very recognisable name. 

With no time pressure to reach Bugsworth Basin     pleasant walks along the way provided new sightings. 520 miles had been walked in the home locality during lockdown so the eyes were ready for new stimulus.  There was a magnificent wizard outside Windlehurst Hall   and a half mile further on a double stile.   In horsey country perhaps a dressage ring is not that unusual,    but a couple of miles away, down in Marple Memorial Park   is a Pétanque field. (Is it a field? A ground? A court? A site?).


After the long repairs on the Marple lock flight a stroll up Lockside was required viewing.  Was this the lock that was rebuilt?

Onwards, right turn at Marple Junction, passing a very modern message on a very old boat…

A mooring near Carrs Swing Bridge just outside New Mills overlooking the River Goyt provided pleasant views.. Down through Torrs Riverside Park,    spotting a stone sundial,


a herd of (sedentary) llamas,    boys in the river    – and the


This stunning structure sweeps gracefully around the gorge opposite Torr Mill.   There’s a touching plaque that commemorates the life and work of its chief engineer…

The final stretch of water into Bugsworth passes the lovely Furness Vale Marina, though the grass was not its usual smoothly manicured self…. Paddington Bear was still in a rush with his suitcase in a Whaley Bridge back garden    and then there was the left hand turn along to Bugsworth Basin,    to pause for water at the services before mooring up.

“It’s Bosley”…    There on the services was nb Bosley whose owners Kate and David had first been met right here at Bugsworh Basin ten or more years  ago.

To moor at Bugsworth is to moor in a bowl of Derbyshire hills, glorious in fine weather, less so in cloud and mizzle…

You can take a high-level walk over the hills to the nearby town of Whaley Bridge       

or opt for a flat towpath stroll of about a mile.

This little town with its cheerfully tended front gardens dominated the news just twelve months ago. Toddbrook Reservoir which sits above the town holds the water supply for the summit levels of both the Peak Forest and the Macclesfield Canals. No canal fan will have forgotten the sight of Chinook helicopters flying mission after mission to plug the leaking dam wall with bags of aggregate. Townsfolk were evacuated, many spending five long days away from their homes, worrying as to whether they’d be washed away.

Back in December 2014 the Cleddau crew had observed wind driven waves across the reservoir’s  waters;

in July 2020 the dam wall is under repair, the water level is very low and much of the reservoir bed is green…

See here for a Canal and River Trust video detailing the planned repairs.

Bugsworth and Whaley Bridge are just a short hop of 20 minutes or so by car from Macclesfield, handy then for a personalised Amazon drop-off by the Cheshire Three on Monday evening     – handier still less than 48 hours later, when Cheshire Mum turned ambulance driver for Boatwif to get a suspected, then confirmed, broken wrist x-rayed at Macclesfield A&E…

Single handedly the Captain moved Cleddau back to her Poynton mooring, aided at each of the four Peak Forest swing / lift bridges by other boaters. A big thank you to them!

So in this topsy-turvy year of great uncertainties here is another – due to the recent rain levels time restrictions on the Bosley locks are to be lifted from July 27th but will the wrist-handicapped crew of Cleddau even manage to pass down the flight this year…?

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6 Responses

  1. Nidia says:

    Oh no Sue. Sorry to hear about your broken wrist . Hope it heals fast and well. Thanks for taking the time to post the blog. Sending you recovery hugs.
    Nid xox

  2. Jennie Gash says:

    We too are sorry to hear that you have been in the wars again, Sue. I suppose you have to be thankful that you were close enough to the Cheshire Mum for her to come to your rescue. It is such a shame that your boating for 2020 has been so short lived. Here’s to 2021 with the hope that Ken’s 2019 winter planning can be put to good use. Are we to thank Ken for acting as typist? Take care. Love Jennie and Chris xx

  3. Pip Leckenby says:

    Ouch, that hand looks like you have some mending to do. Sorry you’ve only managed a trip to Bugsworth, but maybe you’ll manage another trip before the end of the season.
    I think the rebuilt lock at Marple was 11. It’s certainly the lock which has a new looking wall alongside it where they had to gain access to the site for vehicles.
    Take care and mend well
    Pip NB Oleanna

  4. Sue says:

    Hi Nid, Jennie and Pip,
    Thanks all for your good wishes. The most exciting event to look forward to now is an appointment at the local Fracture Clinic… We’ll certainly try to get afloat again once it’s feasible. A return trip to Marple to walk the complete lock flight maybe? Jennie, the text of the blog was already written up to the point of arrival at Bugsworth; the rest was typed by me back at home (centre finger of left hand, as now!) Ken did his bit though on resizing the photos as my left hand mouse control is not very precise!


  5. Captain says:

    For decades I have advised that both at home and on Cleddau overzealous cleaning and washing of floors or decks is hazardous. In 2014 a newly washed deck led to a slip and the fracture of Boatwif’s left wrist. In 2020 cleaning the front deck and manoeuvring cleaning equipment led to a fall and the fracture of Boatwif’s right wrist. I dare not say more.
    Personal Assistant to Boatwif

  6. Carol says:

    Oops Sue, that looks not good! Hope it’s not too painful and heals quickly so that you manage another cruise this season. Regards to you both from both of us. x

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