Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Congleton to Sandbach

We did eventually leave Congleton behind on Friday &  travelled just 3 hours (in the rain)  & moored on the Red Bull Aqueduct at the bottom end of the Macclesfield, nice quiet moorings but a bit dreary, probably due to the weather! A Tesco is not too far away so we were able to restock the cupboards. 
We stayed put on Saturday but with a promising weather forecast for Sunday we decided to head off onto the Trent & Mersey, Hardings Wood Junction is an odd affair, you pass over the T&M on the Poole Aqueduct then the 2 canals run parallel for a while then comes the junction, left to head north on the T&M right to go through the tunnel & south, we are headed north...
Leaving the Macc behind...

onto the T&M & under the Poole Aqueduct

 We had a very enjoyable day locking in the sunshine,  so much so that we thought we'd stop off for a pint & hopefully a sandwich at the Broughton Arms in Rode Heath, it all looked very inviting with a beer garden on the canal side,  The beer was spot on but the sandwich was mediocre & had a soggy bottom & the service was unwelcoming, maybe it was because they were busy.... shall not return.

Most of the locks on this flight are in pairs, these had a matching double arched bridge

We moored up at 3.30 pm just before Hassall Green & the sun was still shining. After tea I went on  a blackberry picking session which we then had for supper, with custard, very nice.

 Early morning mist promising another fine day, 2 in a row!!

We set off at 9.30am & I did the steering for the first few locks,

              Mark doing a lock, the busy M6 is in the background

 We were happily plodding along & I was managing not too badly when we met a boat coming up who told us they had been sat at the bottom lock for 2 hours as a pound had been emptied overnight. BW staff had just about got it sorted as we got there, they asked people to just use one lock instead of the pairs, but the level was still low enough for me to need Mark to open a top paddle & 'flush 'me out of the next lock. 
There was then a procession of boats coming up so at least the locks were then in our favour!
 We got to the bottom & there was still 4 or 5 boats queueing, but the sun was shining & most people seemed fairly laid back about it all. Then just a few hundred yards to the 48 hr moorings & we were tied up by 12 noon. 

Today has been spent tidying up some paintwork between the showers, some of them thundery. Tomorrow we will move on to Middlewich, a visit to a chandlers is due as we need some loo blue.... 

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Still in Congleton....

 Sunday dawned damp & misty so Mark went for the papers & we had a lazy morning, Saturday all over again.  It seemed to brighten a little after lunch & it wasn't raining so with boots on & cagoule in little rucksack ( just in case) we set off up 'The Cloud'.
 It was a fairly steep climb & felt like hard work, I'd like to say that the views from the top were worth it but it was still misty ( but dry !)

Misty view from top of The Cloud

Yesterday we walked into the town & did 1/2 a big shop, planning to do the other 1/2 today after dropping Sid off at the vets. From our mooring it was a longish walk into town & we had spotted some more 48hour moorings on the other side of town just passed Dog lane aqueduct on the old wharf which would be handier for the trek to the town & vets so 8am  this morning we moved up the short distance  
 leaving this view behind but it is quite nice here, well the sun has shone today & most places look better in the sunshine!

All went according to plan, Sid was dropped off at 9.30am, the shopping was done, back to Poppy for lunch & then we picked him up at 2.30pm. You'd think he'd be a little subdued after his 'op' but not a bit of it, 1st stop was the food bowl & then jump all over Soona & she'd been enjoying a nice bit of peace & quiet, oh well.

Our current plan is to go up the Trent & Mersey onto the Bridgewater as far as Sale ( last visit to family for a while) then we thought we may double back on the T&M to the Shroppie & up to Chester.
I dug out Nicholson book 4, bought a couple of years ago but as yet unused to look up Chester 
( looks lovely ) on page 108 & 109  then to check out Ellesmere Port  I turned to page 113, which was the Grand Union & Solihull!! Page 115 & 116 is Birmingham mm.. 
so an email was sent off to Collins who publish Nicholsons &  this afternoon I received an apologetic reply saying they will send us a new & up to date copy, a satisfactory conclusion I think.  Good customer service goes along way.

Saturday, 7 August 2010


 Pulling away from Dane aqueduct at 8am we were moored up on the aqueduct just outside Congleton at 10am having stopped to fill up the water at Buglawton en route.

These oval bridges are a feature of the Macclesfield & there are plenty of them, here 61& 62 very close together, as you can see the canal narrows under the bridges which has been quite good for improving my steering, hopefully narrow locks will be a doddle for me now!

Threatening skies but apart from a few spots the rain held off ( for once)

There are 48hr visitor moorings nearer the town but they are in a cutting opposite a factory, very dark & dreary, no surprise that they are not well used whilst the aqueduct is very popular, most boats seem to be just overnighters but we are stopping until at least Wednesday as Sid is booked in to the vets on Tuesday for the snip. We noticed that his adult canines have come through along side the 'baby'ones & his gums look sore & swollen so whilst he is asleep it can be investigated. 

The town is an attractive & welcoming, I popped into the tourist information for a street map & left with an armful of leaflets telling us everything we could ever wish to know. Plenty of shops, including a Morrison's in a fairly small area, I shall have to show some restraint though as there does seem to be a fair few bun shops bakeries !

Bek & Katie came for the day yesterday, after lunch on board we had a pleasant walk down the disused railway track that is now the Biddulph Valley Way  & a potter round the town.
We were just about to walk back up the hill to the canal when the heavens opened so spotting the handy bus station we saved ourselves a soaking & rode back.

We walked into the town this morning for some bits & bobs, booked Sid into the vets then returned to Poppy for an afternoon with the papers & not done a lot else. Tomorrow, a dry day is forecast & we plan to walk up The Cloud, I will be taking my cagoule.....

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Higher Poynton to Bosley

Last Wednesday we moved just 4 miles to Bollington & moored just passed the imposing Clarence Mill almost on the equally imposing aqueduct, 

 Bollington Aqueduct

Clarence Mill

We were impressed with  Bollington, it is an attractive, well kept village nestling in the hilly countryside, it's just a shame that the weather was continuing to be unsettled, as we would have liked to do more walking. We did manage to get to the top of Kerridge Hill, my abiding memory will probably be huddled down on the lee side of White Nancy sheltering from the wind & rain!

As we left Bollington heading for Macclesfield we passed nbLazydays, I did wonder as  they disappeared round the bend  if it was fellow bloggers & sure enough it was, Alan & Frances left a comment on my last blog mentioning that they would be in Bollington but of course we were heading south & missed the chance to say hello, another time perhaps, anyway Alan & Frances also enjoyed Bollington & they describe it much better than me plus some lovely pictures so check out Lazy days Blog. 

We found a nice spot on the Gurnett Aqueduct, having decided that the moorings in Macclesfield itself were decidedly unattractive. It was a 30 minute walk into Macclesfield so just enough exercise to warrant coffee & buns, which we did a couple of times. 
On Sunday I needed some bits from B&Q so I walked into town again, leaving Mark watching the Grand Prix - no buns that trip & on Monday we walked into town for the last time, this time to stock up in Tesco &  a taxi got us back to the canal.

 Yesterday we got off at 9am & made full use of the new services at Bosley top lock, by the time we got there at 10.30am lots of boats were on the move.  As we used the services a boat came out of the top lock & a boat came up behind us wanting  to go down so we suggested they take the lock as we were not quite ready which of course meant that when we did follow them the locks were against us, still, we weren't in a hurry & although the day had started wet the sun  was now out. 
Before too long we met boats coming up so it was one in, one out, passing in the small pounds

Exiting the bottom lock we found a nice spot on the 48hour moorings just before the Dane Aqueduct, plenty of space here & some great views. The hill overlooking us is 'The Cloud' a fell over 1000ft high ( according to Nicholsons) topped with ancient earth works.....

Looking toward 'The Cloud'

Weather permitting we would like to have a walk up there but if today is anything to go by it doesn't bode well! Tomorrow it's a just a short hop to Congleton & another aqueduct for some family time as  Bek & Katie are coming out to join us for the day on Friday.