Southbound, on a north west heading
Victoria Pit, Higher Poynton – Red Bull Aqueduct: 23 miles, 13 locks
Home for three nights.
Admin attended to.
Light weight clothes selected…
Then it was back to the boat to start the 2019 cruise.
The easterly blasts had gone and warm summery temperatures had arrived. There was earnest discussion abut the coal, whether to retain it on board in case of back to winter temperatures or to offload it so as to give more space on the bow deck. Space (and a now functioning Webasto heating system) won…
“Pimm’s?” proffered the Captain.
”We could come and help you down the locks on Sunday,” Cheshire Mum had suggested.
Then came a further suggestion: “How about we bring some more crew?”
By mid-Sunday morning a bike, many delicious bakery products and 7 extra crew members had been loaded on board. Techno Son-in-Law fiddled about at the bow for a few seconds and then the boat was cast off.
The first obstacle of course is Broadhurst Swing Bridge, that which had caused considerable consternation, and the use of spanner and screwdriver a week or so ago. (See here) A visual check the night before had revealed that now there is a shiny new lock.
The Captain opened and closed the bridge (a drama-free operation) and onwards Cleddau cruised, the further mile to the Royal Oak Swing Bridge. Here the Cheshire One was in charge of operations, swapping fingers on the button regularly as the sun-warmed steel scorched her skin…
Would these extra hands make light work of the locks?
At lock 4, Duncan, Bosley’s chief volunteer lock keeper, was escorting a boat up the hill. Information was exchanged: 20 tonnes of clay it had taken to back fill the void at Lock 3 (now covered by fresh grey gravel). He and Techno Son-in-Law (aka Cheshire East’s Countryside Ranger i/c Tegg’s Nose ) discussed strategies for dealing with the scourge of dog poo – before going their separate ways…
There was a lunch stop at the moorings at the bottom of the locks: the girls inside the cabin, adults outside, tables and chairs on the towpath. Might this summer see a fair few towpath dinners…?
Onward a few miles, then Techno Son-in-Law disembarked, pedalled back to Macclesfield, transferred to four wheeled transport and collected the day’s visiting crew…Remember his fiddling at the bow at the start of the day? It was the setting up of a video camera of the cruise. It takes 8 minutes, runs at 10 times actual speed (and neither the Captain nor Boatwif was at the helm during the tree kissing episode…!)
An overnight mooring with clear views across open fields to the sharply defined Cloud was bliss! In a parallel to real life, while Boatwif stood on the front deck mid-evening in Facetime communication with the eight hour time difference Cal Clan, a mother duck shepherded her raft of ten tiny ducklings along the canal.
Bank Holiday Monday was again dry and bright – there is a wonderful water tap at Bridge 68, wonderful because there is plenty of space to offload roof furniture and to wash a boat… Unlike on a previous occasion no-one took a planned (or even unplanned) dip. Weeks of smoke from the fire and days of dust from the Bugsworth paths had left the roof a darker shade of sludge.
Onwards, past Dane-in-Shaw pasture way below Biddulph Aqueduct, over the Dog Lane Aqueduct, past a white goose on her nest at Congleton Wharf, past busy Astbury Golf Course, past Ramsdell Hall Railings, to pause at Heritage Marina for more gas and a new bow rope. Two more miles take the canal through Scholar Green. Who wouldn’t gaze back at the Mow Cop folly…? A mooring on Poole Aqueduct was right above the orange waters of the Trent and Mersey Canal, down which Cleddau will travel onwards towards the north west…