Daisypath - Anniversary

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Summer Cruise Day 16 - Gurnett to Bosley bottom Lock

Apologies for the late posting of yesterdays blog, we had a strange hiccup in mobile signal where we were moored.  The boat router was indicating it was connected to the GSM network but we could not load anything.  In addition my own mobile phone lost connection and for the last 24hrs has been stuck in an endless searching loop that continued even after removing the SIM and rebooting it.  I had to use iTunes to download and install an iOS update to clear it.

We decided that as we were close to Sutton Hall and we did not visit it last night that we would do lunch there instead.  So glad we did as it's a beautiful place.  Full of little nooks and rooms off corridors that feel like a labyrinth.  Just exploring these was a delight and must be hell for the staff to find the customers to serve their meals.  

Gurnett Aqueduct moorings,  AmyJo is just out of sight behind the furthest boat.
We eventually slipped the lines at 2pm and headed past Alton on its home mooring at Oakgrove then Chris worked the swing bridges again. 

First swing bridge no 49 at Oakgrove
The Oakgrove bridge is electrically operated and only needs a C&RT key to operate.  This is the school run bridge we mentioned in an earlier post.  When we arrived not a car was in sight but as soon as the bridge moved they appeared in their droves from nowhere.

I hover Amyjo mid stream whilst waiting for the bridge to swing

Barriers down and bridge starting to swing.

And on to the next

This hill is known as the cloud.
The view of a large hill called the cloud was ahead, its a prominent hill on the border between Cheshire and Staffordshire a couple of miles west of the Peak District National Park boundary.

At 343 metres (1,125 ft) in height, it is one of the highest hills in the area. Its heather-covered summit plateau is crowned by a trig point from which extensive views over Congleton, Biddulph, Macclesfield, Holmes Chapel, and the Greater Manchester area can be enjoyed. The Cloud sits at the northern apex of a triangle formed by the broken ridge which runs along the border between Cheshire and Staffordshire and the hills stretching south through Biddulph Moor into Staffordshire. To its north, the River Dane wraps around its lower slopes whilst the A523 road runs to its east through the village of Bosley in Southeast Cheshire.

We arrived at the Bosley top moorings at about 3:30pm but all were taken.  We estimated 2 hours to descend so went for it.   As we started our descent hire boats were coming up so all were in our favour.  At lock 3 one of the paddles was out of action and taped up so we had to wait a bit for the boat coming up to fill the lock.  

Busy moorings at the top of Bosley locks

Services at the top lock though you would need to be on moorings to use the showers here.

Chris lock wheeling the first 6 locks

Some paddles were hard work but Chris never gives up despite my offering to take over
 At one on the locks (can't recall which one) a poignant father's day pot of flowers adorned a bench seat clearly in memory of someone's deceased father.  The text was quite touching and obviously heartfelt.  The pot had tipped over in the wind so we carefully uprighted it and cleaned off the dirt from the card.  We tried to read the inscription on the bench plaque but it was so worn it was not possible but we assume the card referred to the memory of the person on the plaque.

At lock eight I took over lock wheeling to give Chris a break.  I still insist she helms at least a few locks now and again.  You never know when that skill may be needed one day, if, anything happens to me.  To be fair she's getting quite good at it now and only nudged one lock entrance though to be fair a raging by wash made things difficult.

Helmsman's view when exiting a lock chamber

Chris likes to get a photo of me when I lock wheel just to prove I did do it.

We continued down until we ran out of ascending boats at lock 6.  Luck was with us though as the locks were still all in our favour.  The boat behind had an elderly couple on board and would have to turn every lock after us so after AmyJo clear a lock and no ascending boats could be seem I turned each lock after us for them.  
We continued like this with locks still in our favour until the bottom lock which strangely was against us.  No matter I turned it in our favour and we descended.  We found one last remaining mooring big enough for AmyJo as we passed it so reversed back onto it.

As the elderly couple passed us I told them I had been setting the locks for them and hoped it helped.  They were more than grateful and did wonder who their phantom lock setter was as they knew we were ahead of them.

Just after they passed us a moored boat backed off the mooring and gestured the couple take their place and then other boat started ascending the locks, he had clearly been waiting for the last boat down so all locks would be in his favour.  The gods clearly were on the couple's side today.

We checked the time and sure enough we cleared the locks in 2 hours.  Not bad for  just the two of us and resetting locks as well.  we eventually moored up at 6pm.

The view from the side doors at our mooring at the bottom of Bosley locks

Total distance:5.11 miles Elapsed time:4h35m51s Locks:12 
Bridges:14 Average speed:1.11 mph (3.72 lock/mph) 

Summer Cruise Day 15 - Bollington Wharf to Gurnett Aqueduct

Today dawned bright with plenty of white cloud cover.  The forecast was for a dry day but this was not the case.

We set of about 9am and headed for Macclesfield.  You may recall we wanted to stop there and have a look round.  As Chris put it, it would be silly to cruise the macclesfield and not see the city.

We got to Macclesfield around 11 am hoping to pick up a mooring just before bridge 37.  These moorings are relatively new jetties and our luck was in as there was just one space left big enough to squeeze AmyJo in.  There was a boat coming the other way so I gestured to him we were pulling in and blow me he shot across my bows and took that very spot we were heading for, no apology just "I saw a mooring so I took it".  Nothing for it but to continue on.  The moorings the other side of bridge 37 are not ideal either.  We cannot get AmyJo onto them due to submerged bank stones, as we had tried coming upstream so on we continued.

Seems today was a popular day to moor in Macclesfield as there was absolutely nowhere to moor.  I'm afraid Macclesfield is going to have to wait for another time.

Leaving the Adephi Mill behind
The mill was constructed in 1856 by Martin Swindells, a local cotton spinner, who also owned Clarence Mill. The Adephi Mill was built for Swindells’ two sons – hence the name ‘Adelphi’, which is the Greek word for brothers. The mill began with the spinning of cotton but was soon converted to the production of fine silk. Within three years of the mill being built, the railway came to Bollington, running virtually alongside the mill. This soon led to a decline in canal transportation, but the Macclesfield Canal remained navigable and the UK’s very first narrow canal cruising club, the North Cheshire Cruising Club, was established there in 1943.
Quaint cottages as we leave Bollington with neatly tended gardens.

Perfection, Living on a narrowboat with you own garden including log cabin.

Once again our departure was watched, this time by the Queen it seems.
Continuing south the canal passes the deep Richmond Hill cutting, which was originally planned to be a tunnel.  Signs of recent repairs are apparent with new supporting abutments.

Our destination was revised and we stopped at the gurnett Aqueduct for lunch.  The only problem are the mooring rings.  Clearly these are spaced for smaller boats that are common here but for AmyJo they were either to close or too far to fit her 67 foot length.  No chance on using Pins as the aqueducts concrete construction lies only inches below the towpath grass.  Our solution was to set long bow and stern lines then take springs from midway along each back to the ring amidships.  This coupled with the centre line is holding AmyJo nicely when boat pass by.

Its nice here so we decided a drink in Sutton hal was on the cards this evening.  As Paul from the Manly Ferry is moored not far from here in his motor home we invited him to join us.

Visitor moorings at the Gurnett aqueduct
The rest of the day we got some much needed maintenance done.  Chris cleaned the porthole drains that were going green.  For our non boater reader our port hole glasses sit in a small channel so that when any condensation runs down the glass its caught in the channel and directed out of a small hole at the bottom to outside.  This stops the porthole water building up and overflowing the channel.  As this can be damp all the time a thin layer of green mold can build up.  Chris hates this so is constantly cleaning this away.

The cleaned Channel and drain hole on our portholes.  The two rubber block hold the glass in  place at the base.
My task for the day was to sort out the back cabin radio aerial as this has started to come loose.  I could turn it with ease and was worried it might be getting wet below it.

Our loose radio ariel
A simple task of tightening up the retaining nut inside?  Not on a narrowboat.  The holding nut is located behind this cabinet that had to be removed to access it.  

The cabinet that has to be removes
Two hours later and 16 screws removed and replaced the job was done.  I also added some silicone mastic to the base of the aerial to aid a watertight seal.

After dinner we wandered off to find the sutton Hall but on passing the Olde Kings Head we met Paul coming out.  Needless to say we all went in hand had a few beers there instead.  The Kings Head is a great pub and friendly ba staff.  I'd recommend a stop here on your travels

Ye old Kings Head

The Aqueduct viewed from below, AmyJo is moored out of shot just to the left.

Total distance:3.82 miles Elapsed time:2h38m13s Locks:0
Bridges:14 Average speed:1.45 mph (1.45 lock/mph) 

Monday, 25 July 2016

Summer Cruise Day 14 - Marple to Bollington Wharf

Today we continued retracing our step by cruising from Marple.  The weather looked iffy and in fact later in the day just after we moored the rain arrived.

On our way we passed several herds of cows many with young calves the look only a week or two old.

Two calves relax whilst mum prepares dinner in the background
 A bit further on we were surprised to see some bushes really shaking and wondered why.  As we got closer we found these two carves in the cut eating the bushes.  See, I did say avoiding cows standing in the canal added entertainment.

White Nancy atop this hill 
 Sighting White Nancy meant we were approaching Bollington.  We wanted to moor at clarence Mill again but being Sunday we did not build up hope.  Just as well as the aqueduct was chocker with boats.  Oh well we thought we'll find somewhere else.  We managed to get on the last mooring at Bollington wharf.  Again we were moored opposite breasted boats but, with light traffic it was not a problem, there was plenty of room for one boat to pass.

Total distance:8.17 miles Elapsed time:4h13m38s Locks:0
Bridges:31 Average speed:1.93 mph (1.93 lock/mph) 

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Summer Cruise - Day 13 New Mills to Marple

Today we started retracing our steps back to the Trent and Mersey.  We had planned on continuing up to Huddersfield but reading Ian and Irene's  exploits with low levels and empty pounds we knew we would not get AmyJo up there so we trimmed that bit off our plans this time round.   You can read their blog here (click)

Another pleasant day saw us past Furnace Vale Marina and the Swizzles factory with those lovely smells again.

Swizzles factory at New Mills
 Then on past Disley with these lovely maintained towpaths and banks

Even the posts had reflectors on them

An of course the Peak district is never far away.
 Remembering Chris had a bit of a struggle with the lift and swing bridges on our way up I volunteered to do them this time.  Chris is still nervous on the helm but she does herself an injustice as she maneuvered AmyJo with ease.  If she was bricking it she didn't let show especially with another boat following.

Time to work of that beer belly of mine

Chris looking rightly pleased with herself.

I do like this place, could happily settle there.
 The approach to Marple junction is preceeded in this direction by a marina.  Its not clear which way the cut goes from this viewpoint but a thoughtfully placed arrow guides one in the right direction.  I wonder how many have had to reverse out of the marina having not heeded the arrow?

The arrow is just between the cabin cruisers on the right, main line continues to the left
 It being a Saturday and rejoining the Cheshire ring we cautiously made our turn at the junction but surprisingly the way was clear, not even a boat coming up the locks.

Starting our turn left at the junction chris stood on the bow checking the way is clear

No traffic coming up Marple locks at this time
 Having passed through the gauging narrows we found a mooring just after the next bridge 'ole opposite the Ring-o-bells pub.  Hopefully it will not be too lively tonight.

After lunch and whilst I typed up today's post Chris took herself off for a wander round the town.  We needed diesel and knew Brian on Alton was due in Bugsworth tomorrow PM so I stayed aboard incase he appeared as we knew he was close.

Chris was back before Alton arrived, in fact it was 6:30pm when Alton's Claxon heralded their arrival.  Brian and his wife were aboard and whilst we filled with diesel we chatted about our plans and where we were headed.  Brian offering great places to stop all seemingly by pubs.  I wonder why.

Alton coming alongside

Fill her up please Brian.
The rest of the evening was spent enjoying a great band playing in the Ring-O-Bells pub nearby.  Pretty good they were too.

Total distance:4.67 miles Elapsed time:2h28m38s Locks:0 
Bridges:13 Average speed:1.88 mph (1.88 lock/mph)