Spit and polish

Sunday 14thApril

Still curious about the “no hole digging” sign in the previous blog? Techno Son-in-Law suggests it might be to deter bottle hunters, a problem that occurs from time to time on Lindow Common in Wilmslow. The theory is plausible and as Cleddau cruised slowly back along the canal between Furness Vale and New Mills on Sunday afternoon some lads were active behind the walls, one at least with a spade…
            Sunday at Bugsworth was blustery, too blustery for an uphill walk, with occasional spits of rain so it wasn’t paint-polishing weather either.  A stroll to Whaley Bridge (Tesco and beyond) was proposed. Down by the Lower Basin there was some unexpected activity: two teams of Year 6 boys were lashing poles together to create a raft.

 An hour later the rafts were both on the water:

One team exuded confidence and collaboration…
while the other was less co-ordinated, needing a great deal of coaching from the escorting supervisor – and one crew member took a dip!
The towpath to Whaley Bridge leads to the 1832 Transhipment Shed where coal for lime burning and cotton for the town’s mills used to be delivered.  Now a trip boat, the Judith Mary 2, is moored there, its tables neatly laid up for its trippers – and later she and Cleddaupassed on the half mile stretch into Bugsworth.

 Boaters wishing to be nearer Whaley Bridge (and the railway station for a trip to Buxton) now have a greater chance of mooring there since major repairs have been carried out to a fair stretch of the canal bank.
 In the town a union flag flew briskly on a flagpole high above the library, a Derbyshire salute for Senior Sis who right then was marking a rather Big Birthday!
Back at Bugsworth a scale model displays the buildings and machinery of the Basin’s industrial phase. Look closely at the middle arm: see the archway into the arm, a huge shed over the dock area and limekilns behind on the other side of the river.

 All that remains of the shed today is the small arched wall to the right. Some ancient stonework can be seen amid the greenery on the other side of the river.  It is a supremely peaceful spot now, the belching smoke, clattering noise and odious smells of its industrial past only present via an active imagination.

The weekend trip had after all been a mission, a mission to wash (DONE) and polish (BARELY STARTED) the boat. 

A more settled phase was predicted for late afternoon, so back through three bridges Cleddau cruised,

 towards Marple, mooring by Bridge 23, from where there was a fine outlook across the Goyt Valley to the hills beyond. 

The Captain disappeared and for the next hour or so happily rubbed and polished the roof. Between Sunday and Monday afternoons (Monday 15th April),  at Bridge 23, at High Lane and at Poynton the roof, stern and bow area got polished… that’s about 300 of the 800 square feet  total.

“The occasional adventures of the Cleddau crew” is the wording at the top of the blog: it was hardly a weekend of thrills but the views were splendid. In conversation we met a couple en route to Lancaster, that’s via the Ribble Link and Preston docks, there was another couple planning to go to Liverpool by canal and to return to Ellesmere Port by crossing the River Mersey, but for real adventure dip into Retirement No Problem : they’ve just done a brave trip in a narrow boat- through Nottingham and Newark on the River Trent, to Lincoln via the Fossdyke Canal, to Boston via the River Witham and then across the Wash (see posts for Sunday 7th and Monday 8th April) to Wisbech and up the tidal Nene to Peterborough… now that’s adventure!

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