Daisypath - Anniversary

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Summer Cruise Day 39 Disley to Higher Poynton

We woke to the sun streaming in through the port holes and for once Smudge was still out for the count.  It took him a while to come too.  Must have been a good deep sleep for him to be like that.

A relatively short run was planned for today as we wanted to stop in Marple.  We set off at our usual 9:30pm and chugged along taking in the lovely scenery around here.  It rates as one of our favorite bits of canal round here.

Almost a picture postcard view.

Just before Marple Junction we came across nb Brammle.  We know this boat as it used to belong to one of our mooring neighbours at Tattenhall Marina but they sold her earlier in the year to move ashore.  She looks as if her new owners are taking good care of her.

Still well maintained nb Brammle looks as good as she did when we last saw her

Approaching Marple junction

At Marple Junction we swung under the bridge and onto the Macclesfield canal.  We found a free spot just after the next bridge to moor up and then walked into town.

Narrows immediately after the turn.  Presumably boats would have been
measured here and a toll levied based on the tonnage of cargo carried.

Whilst in town I managed to buy a new tool box.  Up to now all my tools had been crammed into a very small Halfords tool bag.  Every time I needed something I had to empty the entire contents to find the tool I wanted.  The new 16 inch box has lift out shelves and means my tools can be accessed much easier now. Just need to find a home onboard for it now!

After a cuppa back on AmyJo we got under way again as it was a lovely day for cruising.  We decided we would stop wherever took our fancy rather than stay all day at Marple.

Passing through Hawk Green is located  the Goyt Mill.  A rather magnificent building of red and cream bricks.  Built in 1905 by Johnathan Partland LTD and designed by Manchester architects Stott and sons.

As a spinning Mill it housed 82000 mule spindles, the largest number in the country at the time.  Spinning ceased in the 60s and so the mill was used to store plastics and foam.  The mill finally closed in 1980, just about avoided demolition and is now divided into several business units.

Impressive Goyt Mill

Plenty of boats on the move today.

We eventually found some nice Armco and rings to moor at Poynton, home of Braidbar boats yard.  Ahead of us is moored this rather odd looking craft.  It is, in fact, a Caracraft (click), a cross between a caravan and a boat.  If the website is anything to go by these look quite comfortable inside.  When moving on land the Caracraft is simply pulled onto a road base and can then be used as a normal caravan.  Oddly they are made in Australia so I wonder how this one got over to the UK?

The caracraft caravan boat

Our mooring tonight, Braidbar's yard is further on round the corner

Total distance:3.73 miles Elapsed time:2h27m54s Locks:0 Bridges:16 
Average speed:1.66 mph (1.66 lock/mph) 

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Summer Cruise Day 38 Bugsworth to Disley

We spent a total of 4 nights in Bugsworth in all.  We so love that place its hard to leave.  On Friday several of the boats moored there including Derwent6 and Mochyn Du, all left so the basin was now looking empty.  Perhaps we should have held back a day.

The tow path at the basin is quite low so it makes it perfect for Gunwale painting.  AmyJo was in need of some fresh paint.  So, with a lovely dry day, I set too and rubbed down the Starboard (right) Gunwale. 

I also took the opportunity to treat some rust blistering the paint around the starboard bow fare-lead, which when removed, we discovered was not sealed fully and a small amount of moisture getting in.   I treated the rust with Furtan and let it soak over night.

Primer on and setting

I also dealt with the area where I hit the wall.
Saturday dawned wet an miserable and stayed that way pretty much all morning.  By mid afternoon the weather perked up enough for me to wet and dry back the primer and get some undercoat on.

Sunday was a polar opposite with wall to wall sunshine from the start.  By 11am Chris and I had the finish coat on the gunwale and moved AmyJo across the arm to rub down the Port (left) gunwale.  

By mid day the gunwale was far to hot to paint so we got the chairs out and just chilled with an ice cream.  At 3pm the cloud had built sufficiently to hide the sun and let the gunwale cool down.  Working as fast as we could we got the finish coat of paint on the gunwale and the bow touch ups.

All done and gleaming as new.

Today we left at 9:30am after topping up with water and emptying the Portapotti.

We only met one boat on the way out but as the levels were well down we kept running aground.  At one point I had to use the pole to get AmyJo back into deeper water.

We met the only boat going the other way just after this was taken and ran hard aground

The levels were really low so we barely got over tick over most of the way.  At swing bridge 30 as we passed through another boat appeared astern.  It looked like he had been waiting for someone to go through the bridge  "no problem" I said "you can get the next one.  "I'll be mooring up shortly" he grinned back"

Bridge 30
We made a pit stop at New Mills Marina for a pump out and to top up with diesel.  At 69p for the diesel and £16 for a pump out it was good value considering there is no competition on this arm.

The Twizzle sweet factory at Newtown, what lovely smells emanate from there!

Just before Swing bridge 25 we passed the boat we let through earlier, moored up.  Chris set the bridge open and I went through just as another boat appeared and followed.  To our surprise the first boat untied his lines and motored through too grinning from ear to ear.  

Never tire of views like this

OK I thought perhaps he stopped to look round maybe.  It was not until we found him moored once more at the next swing bridge we realised he was playing us for fools and letting us do his work for him despite having 4 crew to himself.  The other boat let us through first and sure enough he and a further boat pulled out and followed us through.

We tried several times to moor up after this but the low levels meant we could not get in on most of the moorings.  We eventually got in some Armco near Disley but are aground with the stern out 4 feet.

Our shirker went past us not long after and his smile quickly vanished when he saw us moored in a perfect spot and no free Armco left.  I waved and quipped "Hello again" but this time I was ignored!  I wonder why :-)

Hope this is still not the case

Our mooring for the night

Total distance:4.56 miles Elapsed time:3h8m0s Locks:0 Bridges:16 
Average speed:1.45 mph (1.45 lock/mph) 

Monday, 14 August 2017

Day 34 Marple Locks to Bugsworth Basin

9am and a knock on the cabin.  Our engineer from RCR had arrived armed with two new throttle cables.  Fortunately one of the cables was long enough.  Within 30 minutes the new one was installed and we were ready to move on.

Our over night mooring in the pound above lock 7

Lock 9 passes under the busy A626.  Just after rush hour now but it still took Chris a while to cross over to reach the lock.

The A626 and post rush hour traffic

At the lock we found this roller mounted on the bridge wall, clearly located so as not to chafe the ropes when horses pulled the boats out of the lock.  Its the first one we have seen set this way and not vertically.

Unusual roller placing presumably to stop the bridge wearing out the ropes.

From here on up the locks the view is really pretty. With the sun shining the locks are a great place to be.  We really enjoyed these locks even if they are deep and hard to work.

Looking into Lock 9

An a pleasant view ahead.  The scenery is not bad either.

Crossing the pound to lock 10
At lock 12, I think it was, the local kids were enjoying a skate park only they were not on skates but mini scooters.  Kids of all ages were playing together here, the older ones helping the younger ones to learn their tricks.  Some were really good doing high jumps and kicks.  I was so engrossed watching them I failed to notice Chris had opened the lock gate until she called out to me.

Kids at the skate park.  The lad on the top of the ramp was helping a younger one to learn to ride it

At the last four locks we were joined by a growing number of Gongoozlers.  Poor Chris was constantly having to shoo them away from the gates so she could open or close them.  All the while answering a barrage of questions from the interested gongoozlers.  One actually asked if she was the lock guide as Chris manage to answer most of the questions thrown at her.  When the lock was full and I was exiting it with AmyJo I had plenty of willing hands to close the gate behind me.

Waiting for the lock to finish filling and some of the gongoozlers that did not move to the next lock with Chris

Finally we locked out of the top lock and needing water we swung on the Macclesfield canal at the junction.  We then winded to return to the water point at the C&RT services.  The water pressure here is quite low and it took nearly an hour to fill.  We took this time to grab a bit of lunch and a cuppa.

Once full with water we returned to Marple junction and turned right towards Bugsworth.  We so so love this arm.  It so beautiful and the views excellent, being so high the canal runs alongside a valley.  One can see hills for miles.

The start of the Bugsworth arm

Just one of the stunning views along the way

There are three lift bridges along the way, mostly electrified now.  This one obviously has the single hander in mind as the controls are on the opposite side to the bridge on the tow path side making it easy to get through.

Chris is standing by the control box,  The white beam is the cable and power run to the other side of the bridge.
After about an hour we reached the junction to Bugsworth and Whaley Bridge.  This time we're headed for Bugsworth.

The junction and the bridge we just passed under

On arrival at the basin we found our friends Del, Al, Mark and Sian were there with Derwent6 and Mochyn Du too.  The basin was really busy with so many moored boats and not much room left for AmyJo, we even ran aground 6 foot from the bank on what looked like a suitable mooring.  The first arm where Derwent6 was moored was almost empty but a pair of hotel boats breasted up were partially blocking the entrance.  With nowhere else to get in we had no choice but to attempt to get past them.  

We tried gently reversing AmyJo in and almost got past the pair but could not quite get right round them getting wedged between a boat opposite moored with full sized car wheels out as fenders, like our anti shelf wheels, and the butty of the hotel boat.  Del then asked the hotel boat owner if he would be good enough move the butty to allow us in but at first he refused arguing he needed the boats breasted up.  

As you can imagine I was not impressed with the guy for being so selfish but held my tongue, though I did make it clear it was stupid to block so many empty mooring spaces in the arm when nowhere else was available.  It was not until Del informed him Derwent6 would be leaving at 7am in the morning and he would be forced to move them then, that he begrudgingly moved the butty along allowing us, and other boats later on, to get onto a mooring.  Sadly we were the topic of conversation in the Navigator that night, most embarrassing.  As it happened Derwent6 was not the only boat that left early next morning so the hotel boats would still have been disturbed either way.

Total distance:8 miles Elapsed time:6h59m59s Locks:9 Bridges:29 
Average speed:1.63 mph (1.63 lock/mph)

Friday, 11 August 2017

Day 33 Marple aqueduct to not very far at all

It had rained all night and finally stopped at 5am this morning.  I lay awake until 7am then got up (I do so hate laying there staring at the ceiling), washed and took Smudge for his morning walk.  On my return I took advantage of the fact AmyJo was dripping wet from the over night rain and gave her towpath side and roof a good scrub down and chammy leather dry.

As we set off the cloud was thinning and the first signs of sunshine was showing itself, in fact, as the day progressed it improved and warmed considerably.

Just before the aqueduct is a narrow cutting.  It reminded me some what of Grub street cutting on the Shroppy, like that, this too was dark and gloomy.

After crossing a wide pound we came to the aqueduct.  From the canal one could easily think we were crossing Chirk aqueduct, the two are almost identical.

Even this sign read similar to the one at Chirk
An elevate railway bridge runs parallel just like the one at Chrik

After a sort cruise we arrived at the first of the 16 Marple locks.  Our timing was off as the boat passing us going the other way had not come down the locks but had set of from the moorings below.  We found all the locks against us. Not that it worried us, we have a routine where Chris turns the lock in our favour. I motor in and Chris opens the paddles.  When safe for me to step off Chris goes up to the next lock to set it and I motor out of my lock, l close the paddles and gate by which time the next lock is ready to take AmyJo.

Waiting for the next lock to be ready.
 The pounds between the locks are quite small so with no other boats about I waited in the lock until called up but used that time to chammy down the other side of AmyJo.

These locks are deep at around 13ft each and are in a lovely setting so different to the last few days, I was finally relaxing again, so good to be back out in the countryside.  The depth of the locks makes the bottom paddles hard going when the lock is full.  Chris has found by placing the windlass up right and pulling down half  a turn then moving the windlass back and repeating she could open the paddles without too much strenuous effort.

Deep locks, yes AmyJo and I are in there at the bottom, you can just see my head..
 Added to the deep locks are the heavy gates that are needed to support the water.  These really work up a sweat to close and do not swing easily.  Bless him, Smudge could see Chris Struggling so without any prompt lent his weight to help.

Smudge helps Chris to open the gate
but keeps a watchful eye on me as well

Single handing the lock from Chris's view point

At lock 5 contractors were out cutting the grass.  The lad strimming worked the offside whilst another cut the towpath side with a mower.  I hovered in the pound until they finished for which I was thanked.  A passer by did stop the strimmer, shouting he should have stopped as Chris was within 15 meters of him.  I was not aware of that requirement when strimming!

Blissfully unaware Chris is stood nearby
 All was going well until mid day at lock 7.  I motored in, the lock filled and as the lock was almost full another boat appeared out of lock 8.  We were so glad knowing that now all the locks should be in our favour.  I put on the power to exit the lock and nothing happened, no higher revs and no added movement from the prop apart from a gentle wash.  Back to neutral and tried again, still nothing.  I quickly guessed the throttle cable had snapped so we only had tick over speed.  I managed to creep slowly out of the lock and moor up in the pound.

Tied up and no way to move.
 At 12:15 we phoned RCR and sat and waited.......and waited...... and waited, not a word from them.  Boats came and went all afternoon.  At 6pm I phoned again to be told the engineer is stuck in Church Minshall on another job.  He has just phoned at 9:15pm apologising and that it would be at least 10pm before he could get to me.  In all fairness we had been sat comfortably all day so I reluctantly told the engineer to leave it until morning but made him assure me we would be first call in the morning.  At least I got to polish the Chromium and tidy out the engine room.  In all its taken all day to travel just one mile!

We've been monitoring the pound level all day and it has hardly dropped so we think we should be OK over night.  I've deployed the anti shelf wheels and left the lines slack as a precaution.  The two locks above us leak badly and are filling up on their own.  I figure if needed in the night I can let these down to restore the pound level again.

Whilst waiting I contrived to jury rig the broken cable so that I can manually operate the throttle.  Luckily it broke by the throttle lever so still plenty of usable length left. I slid the cable out of its sheaving and threaded it up through a gap between the back door and the floor panel.   I just gently pull on the loop I fashioned using an electrical connection block and voila we have revs!  Its not neat but it works and may just get me out of trouble should I really need to move.  At least its better than calling for revs to the engine room crew (that would have to be Chris of course!)

Jury rigged throttle cable hanging ready from the throttle lever.  Thank god for electrical connection blocks.

So now we spend another anxious night worrying that the pound level does not drop too much, although, the location is quite pleasant it has to be said.  Still one good thing really, the cable broke here and not on the Rochdale 9 or Ashton Locks so I guess thats the silver lining to all this!  Someone is watching over us after all.

Total distance:0.94 miles Elapsed time:4h5m32s Locks:7 Bridges:5 
Average speed:0.23 mph (1.94 lock/mph) 

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Summer Cruise Day 33 Portland Basin to Marple Aqueduct

Unlike yesterday today was grey and overcast and feeling a lot cooler.  The jumper was brought out of the drawer for the first time this summer.  

We set of at a more convenient time of 9:30am and first made the turn onto the Peak Forest Canal via another aqueduct over the river Tame.  This is quite narrow so lining up for the turn has to be precise.

The junction is opposite the basin and is the start of the Peak Forest Canal

After making the turn AmyJo proceeds over the aqueduct

As the morning went on the rain got progressively heavier until mid day we were sheltering under the pram hood again.  The route is for the most part tree lined  but now and again urban development intrudes.

Warble Marine Services

We came upon the 176 yard long Woodley Tunnel.  This is quite narrow due to the tow path through it.  At times the top box wings were barely an inch from the walls.  I took it fairly slow so as not to wander all over the place.

Woodley Tunnel approach, you can see the tow path handrail and just how tight it is
 At Romiley we stopped briefly so Chris could nip to the local Aldi for some supplies whist I stayed aboard.  All the time teenagers walked by looking at AmyJo and then typing away on their phones.  I'm sure all very innocent and probably replying to text from their mates but one did wonder.  Manchester clearly has me on edge.  I also took the time to go down the weed hatch again but all was clear.

The rain was now becoming most resistant and the tow path looking more and more muddy.  We passed through a much wider Hyde bank tunnel, 308 yards long.

Finally after bridge 15 we found a nice stretch of armco with only one boat moored.  We decided as we could see the aqueduct ahead we would stop here for the night.  It was as well we did as within an hour all the moorings were filled with boats coming down from the Marple locks and it was clear there were no moorings available ahead of us.

After dinner we took smudge for a his walk and took a look at the aqueduct.  Looking very much Like Chirk Aqueduct it too has a rail bridge close by that is higher.   It is the largest all masonry arched  aqueduct in England.  The tow paths were now really muddy so my walking boots were pressed into service once more.

Our mooring for the night

A view of those masonry arches

Total distance:6.56 miles Elapsed time:4h40m31s Locks:0 Bridges:27 
Average speed:1.40 mph (1.40 lock/mph)