Thursday 14 July 2016

Summer Cruise Day 4 - Rough Bridge to Kent Green and Waters New.

Last Night's mooring
This morning was bright and sunny promising to be a nice day.  It was still a bit chilly at first but once underway it warmed as the morning progressed.

Today we continued our ascent of heartbreak hill and were fortunate most boats were traveling the other way so each time we emerged from a lock another boat was leaving the next.  Only once did we have to turn a lock and that was only because both locks of the pair were full.

Old bridges over the lock with slot for horse ropes to pass through
 We were making good progress in the now lovely sunny weather.  It was getting so warm the jumpers soon came off.  At the Lawton Treble locks the bottom paddle had fallen off the towpath side chamber and C&RT were on hand trying to fix it.  The poor chap up to his waste in the chamber was quite vocal in a cheerful way and made entertaining listening whilst we worked it's twin lock.

How many C&RT people does it take to fix a paddle - answer one.  The rest watch or supervise :-)
 Alongside many of the locks were rows of little cottages or modern houses.  One owner of this cottage decided to make the best of her view and decorated the by wash chamber with pot plants.  Looked lovely in the sunshine.

How to spruce up an ugly fish pond at the end of ones garden.
 One by one we ticked of the locks continuing up the sets.  Amazingly still meeting boats coming down yet none goin our way either ahead or behind!  Mind you we were going against the flow so this could be the reason.

A typical approach to the duplicate locks
 Some of the lock cottages were really pretty and well maintained, as was the areas around the locks.

This cottage garden was full to overflowing with flowers.

Some of the other cottages lining the canal made for quite pleasant surroundings

We made a brief stop to take on water at the Red Bull Offices as the washing machine had been pressed into service so we wanted to be sure we had enough on board for showers.

C&RT Red Bull Offices
 As we rose in lock 43 opposite the Red Bull pub the sight of the food and drinks in the lockside garden was just too much.  We simply could not resist so pulled up in the pound and stopped for lunch and a well earned drink, especially for Chris who had done the majority of lock wheeling though she did helm through some of the locks.

By now it was clear we were approaching Harding's Wood Junction and Harecastle tunnel by the colour of the water, steeped from iron ore deposits from within in the tunnel

Familiar orange water synonymous with Harecastle tunnel
 Passing under a deep walled bridge we suddenly realised we were passing under the Macclesfield Canal.  Chris nipped up to the top of the bridge and took a photo looking down to the last but one lock before Harding's wood junction.

Passing under the Macclesfield Canal

And the view from the bridge above as AmyJo enters the lock
 The junction was soon upon us and as expected was busy.  I exited the lock and made a perfect right turn onto the Macc.

Preparing to leave the last lock before turning off the Trent and Mersey.

Looking back at the junction

And the sign post seen through the bridge 'ole
 Next follows a short section running parallel to the Trent and Mersey then a sharp turn right before just before a wharf carries you over the T&M and on up towards Macclesfield.

You can just see the turn to the right of frame

The view over the same bridge we earlier passed under as you cruise over the T&M
 Admittedly we have only travelled a short distance on the Macclesfield but so far its been a delight.  Plenty of pretty countryside and the delightful Hall Green stop lock with twin lock cottages.  Approach to which is through a long narrows immediately before the lock gates that appears to be slightly narrower than the lock itself.

Hall green Stop lock
 Now why a stop lock so far from the junction you might ask?  Well the answer is the canal up to the lock was actually built by the Trent and Mersey company in its paranoia in dealing with potential rivals.  According to Pearsons far from welcoming trade which the new Macclesfield canal might have brought the owners of the T&M only saw threat.  Feeling they would be in a stronger position if the Macclesfield could not reach the main line they started to build a connecting canal out to meet the Macclefield at Hall Green.  This is the reason also why the lock has two lock keeper cottages.  One for the T&M lock keeper and one for the Macclesfield Lock keeper.  I wonder if they got on with each other?

The bridges and scenery so far have been very pleasant.  The bridges look more at home in the Cotswolds than here with their gently curves and stone architecture.

Bridge 91 though due to the foliage only the number 9 can be seen.just above the right hand solar panel

Almost oil painting material.
 Just before we moored up by Sherbourne wharf we spotted this rather quaint stately hall bedecked with teapots.  I wonder if, when it rains, you get a curtain of water from all the spouts?

Tomorrow we continue our cruise along the Macc and into the City.  Really looking forward to this and, to pass through Bollywood AKA Bollington, made famous by Paul and Elaine of blog The Manly Ferry (click).  Elaine has not been good of late so we do wish her well.  We'd love to stop by and say hi.  Paul if you read this we'll let you know when we're in town and you can by us a drink in your local :-)

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