The last stretch ‘home’
Ramsdell Hall Railings, Macclesfield Canal to Victoria Pit Moorings, Higher Poynton
It’s happened before in September, a Cleddau crew member waking up at Ramsdell Hall railings on a birthday.
This time it was the Captain’s b’day. There were a few birthday cards on board and a mail drop at Macclesfield a day or so later. See this too: Techno Son-in-Law had a surfeit of biodegradable party streamers, this being the result of a synchronised shoot out…!
After a short towpath stroll beside the railings (Thursday 24th)
and onwards the canal goes towards Congleton. The golfers were out at Astbury Golf Course and a pair of giraffes still gaze haughtily down over the cut just before Congleton Wharf. (What is it about garden-bound giraffes in these parts? There are more at Bollington…) Onwards, under the web of roads and rail bridges at Hightown to emerge near Biddulph Aqueduct and early sightings of The Cloud. Open stretches, tree-lined lengths, more bridges – and then the farm, the outbuildings transformed – and an empty platform where for years the beautiful painted cow had posed…
The boat was pulled in to moor overnight on the Dane Aqueduct, the approach to the Bosley Locks. Has the hedging been lowered here? The view along the embankment seemed much more open than previously.
“Your husband said you walked up there one day and found a carpark at the top,” a walker said.
“Yes, too true, we did…!” Boatwif responded, and memories surged back of that steep scrabble up a goat track in August 2012…
On Friday there was a smooth ascent up the twelve lock flight. Rising in a Bosley lock is a smooth, relatively gentle experience, with nothing like the turbulence that can be met in other lock flights. Despite a series of boats coming down the flight there didn’t seem to be much water at all spilling over the by-washes, so unlike the fierce waters on the Shropshire Union locks….Was there a reason for the sparse amount of down coming water?
24 hours after Cleddau had cruised up the locks the flight had been closed. Here was the Canal and River Trust email message:
Due to water levels on the summit of the Macclesfield Canal and the Upper Peak Forest Canal. Marple and Bosley Lock flights will be closed for 48 hours, from 3pm today so the water levels can be recharged. An update will be provided on Monday.
( Phew, so Cleddau made it to the upper level, unlike the autumn return in 2018, see lengthy C&RT message of gloom at the end of this blog post . Last year in 2019 there had been days of delay created by the Bosley Leak… )
Back to Friday 25th September: the trip from Bosley Top Lock to the home moorings at Higher Poynton takes about five hours. There were two more potential obstructions to pass, the first being the electrically operated Royal Oak swing bridge at Oakgrove (where engineers were working on the bridge platform – another potential delay narrowly missed, it seems.) A mile further on Broadhurst Swing Bridge was passed entirely uneventfully (a relief after previous struggles with its heavy mechanism).
A mooring at Lyme Green (behind the Retail and Business Park) was convenient for local visitors on Friday – and on the following day, by car, boaters Angela and Patrick, from nb Chouette arrived. How good it is to engage in towpath talk – until the wind blows cool, that is…!
The last cruising day came –Sunday, a day to relish shape, colour and texture.
Just look – the slope of the stonework, the curl of the snake bridge ramp, a corn dolly, floral clutter in a suburban garden, Hovis Mill, a rusted flamingo, a precisely arranged waterside patch, elegant herons, Adelphi Mill, fat boats, boats on blocks, the Bollington giraffes, and Clarence Mill.
Onward, weaving northwards. There at Bridge 21 the tree trunk is STILL where the Captain hauled it from the cut twelve strange months ago.
During the final miles Cleddau crossed with Perseverance, a vloggers’ boat, passed Lyme View Marina (Cleddau‘s first ‘home berth’ on the Macc Canal) and a pretty canal side seat. There was a speed merchant near Poynton – a tiny model boat whizzing about on the water.
The slopes of Lyme Park are on the right, then past the wide water is Bridge 15 and Bailey’s Trading Post, a place to take on fuel and offload rubbish.
It had been a grand trip, started as a venture out on the canal, the crew Covid-cautious and Boatwif limited by a fractured wrist… But the stats below reveal that some gentle floating became a much enjoyed month-long expedition…
Ramsdell Hall Railings, Macclesfield Canal to Victoria Pit Moorings, Higher Poynton: 20⅔ miles, 12 locks
Since leaving Higher Poynton on 2nd September: 157¼ miles, 120 locks, 2 tunnels
Canals cruised: Macclesfield, Trent and Mersey, Staffs and Worcs, Shropshire Union, Middlewich Arm
Boat bloggers spotted or met: Free Spirit, Tentatrice, Still Rockin’, Percy, Jubillee, Seyella, Firecrest, Perseverance
Monkton Moments*- 3 (Monkton Moment*- a reference to / recognition of Cleddau’s Pembrokeshire connections)
Unexpected success: Grill (out of action since 2018) repaired at Audlem, by Rob Dickinson (Boat Safety Examiner and LPG Engineer – 07831 449236)