When the journey’s nearly over

If it weren’t for other matters this final post might be titled: The Tale of Three Bosleys .

By mid-afternoon (Saturday 14th August) Cleddau had been moored at Ramsdell Hall Railings. Little did they know it but the company from the other side of the railings provided free open air therapy. Watching and listening to the quiet tugging and munching of grass by the very good-looking young cows was an exercise in  mindfulness,

while the glowing sunset that followed provided a free evening’s entertainment…

A day’s R&R at the Ramsdell Hall Railings allowed for a stroll across the fields to Little Moreton Hall    . It was interesting to meet a young walker on a day trip out from Halifax (“I’ve seen Little Morton Hall, want to go to Biddulph Gardens too but must be home to cook the tea…”) and later there was a conversation with a young family also looking for the canal from the National Trust direction.

The Hall is a fine Tudor structure. The guided tours have not yet resumed but a couple of costumed women provided colour and information.    Who would not be impressed by 500 year old furniture    (this was once a kitchen table) or by the ancient (in some places, graffitied) glass   in the impressive Long Gallery.

After a lunch (limited menu choices these days) there was a look at the garden  – and how overgrown it is.

Back over the moat and   across the fields, the boat a blue strand of ribbon    below the green slopes that rise sharply to the Mow Cop folly. Darkening skies were the prelude to a stunning rainbow,    followed later by a strongly coloured sunset.

Onwards on Monday   towards Congleton, to pass Why Hurry on a farm mooring    (and Why Worry nearer the town). A light was flashed by an oncoming boat, from The Witch of Agnesi, a strange name of mathematical significance The boat’s owners had been mooring neighbours at Rode Heath and at the Ramsdell Railings. “It’s been a pleasure to have made your acquaintance,” said the helmsman as the boats crossed and drew apart…

On, past the Congleton giraffes,   heading towards the Congleton bridges,    a water tank refill at Bridge 68 (lots of grit here,   ready for towpath resurfacing) past hedgerow fruits,    on towards Bosley Locks, but, look who’s there, it’s Bosley    Away on a jaunt from their Peak Forest mooring, it was great to have another side by side, boat to boat catch up.

Best wishes, both.

Onwards another couple of miles to the bottom of Bosley Locks.   Current water management allows lock flight entry between 0830 and 1300.  It was already nearer 1400, two small cruisers were descending the bottom lock    and a C&RT workboat was turning in the winding hole between Locks 12 and 11.

It was as well that a walk was taken up the lock flight later – The Cloud, the dominating hulk of the hill, was visible then,   but not at all the next day when mist, rain and cloud shrouded the area.

Take care, take care’ was the mantra running through the mind (on Tuesday) as Cleddau climbed the 12 locks. When paths and bridges, lock beams and paddles, ropes and windlasses are soaking wet you take it slowly, steadily. (Too wet for a camera but here’s a song where the chorus is very appropriate.)

Steadily the boat climbed, all but two of the locks being already at the right level, to meet a stream of descending boats. Completed in 1 hour 50 minutes, the ascent was made in respectable time.

Onwards, the hills still totally absent from view!   The swing bridges were trouble-free (hooray!) First came the electrically controlled Royal Oak Swing Bridge:

Crew pick up at the Royal Oak

Then at Danes Moss the Broadhurst Swing Bridge was successfully swung without use of a screwdriver…

Pink flowers in full bloom (Bridge 40?)

Cleddau continued on through Macclesfield – mooring plans were foiled (no space available) and so in ever heavier rain the boat travelled on, eventually to moor before Clarence Mill.   

Was it the prospect of a Bollington breakfast or the after work visit by the Cheshire Three that lifted the thoroughly sodden spirits…?!

And so finally (see summary stats below), bolstered by tasty breakfasts and the largest quantity ever of breakfast orange juice, the Cleddau crew drew away on the last leg of the July /August cruise.

Bank reinforcement work was going on near Bridge 21,    there was refuelling to be done after Bridge 15,   an empty pontoon ready for reoccupation,   a cruise on up to Bridge 12 to turn round – and there just before it was another Bosley, another bank repair team.  “Saw another set of work back there,” Boatwif said, conversationally.  

“Yeah,” replied the man with a hooped spike and hammer, “They’re the ‘B’ team…!”

The turning round completed there were sights still to enjoy: the curated clutter by Bridge 13,  paddle boarders in action,  a heron deep in concentration,    the Cage up in Lyme Park.

As Cleddau was reversed, without drama, alongside her pontoon a man from a Bollington dayboat made a comment: “You’ve done that before then…”

Well, yes, and hopefully that won’t be for the last time this year.

Ramsdell Hall Railings (Macclesfield Canal) to Victoria Pit, Higher Poynton:

23 miles, 12 locks, 2 swing bridges

TRIP STATS: Higher Poynton – Worsley – Weaver Navigation – Higher Poynton:

164½ miles, 97 locks, 2 Boat Lift passages, 4 swing bridges, 32 consecutive nights afloat

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

2021 Monkton Moments* total now: 10

Lancashire / Yorkshire / Tudor Rose conversations: 3

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1 Response

  1. JM Biggs says:

    A thoroughly touching post Sue; very well crafted indeed. You captured the pull to return coupled with the melancholy of the journey’s end. I marvel that you manage to make each cruise forth and back upon the Maccie interesting; sometimes seeing familiar landmarks with new eyes, oftimes describing them with the sense of revisiting an dear old love. Thank you for carrying us who follow you, along on your journey.
    Love Jaq xxx

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