Day 43 – Bosley Locks
After a collapsed day it was time to go again. The beginning of our video shows nothing but if you look closely it shows one of the best things about boater life. I headed up to walk up to the first lock to set it and strolled past a boat that had Saul Junction signwritten on the side (my home mooring). Cue a lovely conversation with the guy about the boats journey from there to its new home that digressed into paint effects which then his mate came over and the dog, then Richard joined in, all merrily chatting away until we realised that we all needed to be heading off and off we went!! We had 12 locks back to back to get through today and as a glutton for punishment I agreed to do them while Richard was at the helm.
A few boats going up and down made it speedy going, I was definitely grateful for this seeing as the rain was pretty relentless. Stopped at the services block up to the top to empty the loo tank and top up the water and carried on a little further to a nice spot for the afternoon.
Day 44 – Bosley to Gurnet Aqueduct
Woke up to a much nicer day! This stretch was full of fun things and a stunning vista in the middle of it. First up was a swing bridge which was key operated, we didn’t have a second to pause on the lock landing before the boat behind us was marching up to ask who was operating. Her mannerism was so Hyacinth Bucket that I had to stem the giggle rising up. We let them crack on seeing as they were in such a rush but after she opening she waved us through first and then closed up after her boat was through. A little while later and there was another swing bridge so we opened and let them through. Shame they didn’t think to slow down whilst passing me, the tug on my rope was so much I nearly fell in! Was just pulling over the other side when a speeding cruiser had to do a sharp change of direction and we kept the bridge open for him to come through. Thankfully that was the last of the swing bridges today!
Came out of the tree tunnel and through a bridge and I could see the countryside and hills opening up in front of me. Took my breath away.
Day 45 – Gurnet Aqueduct to High Lane
Another sunny day, a weekend, was always going to spell some busy waterways! Today was all about the little ribs. I always try and pull over to let them past when I can but today had us in stitches as we realised that no-one knows how to drive the damn things properly.
First started with us pulling off the mooring and someone coming out of nowhere straight away so we got to a good spot to let them past, just as a whole bunch of kayakers came past. Through the narrow bridges in Macclesfield centre. Lots of twists and turns and a whole lot of bridges but it was nice to not have to be doing locks every 5 minutes. Lots of places here i’d like to come back and explore for longer. Lots of old mills and beautiful countryside.
Boats, boats and more boats was the order of the day of all sizes, certainly kept me on my toes! The rib that was stuck doing doughnuts in front of the bridge really got me giggling (4:00 on the vid) then another that i waved on for them to overtake then have their engine cut out in front another oncoming narrowboat! total dodgems day. We got there in the end and had a deserved cold one.
Day 46 – High Lane to New Mills
Getting closer to the lovely Bex & Alex! Feels so good to have gotten so far up the country.
Slow going past lots of moored boats, we made it to the junction. Marple and Manchester to the left, New Mills and Bugsworth to the right. In time I’ll be back to explore the left hand turn but with so many stoppages and an impending event to get back for its a right turn for now.
The beauty of this canal as it twists and turns around the curve of the hills, giving you a great view off the side of the edge. Rolling green hills far into the distance with the little rooftops of hamlets and farms along the way. A couple of lift bridges along the way to keep us on our toes. The smell hit me before I could see the factory. A sickly sweet blackcurrant scent took over the air as the Swizzles factory came into view. Best known for making Love Hearts, Drumsticks and Parma Violets, I don’t think i’ve ever smelt something so intense.
Cruising past the marina to be a little bit disappointed that the visitor mooring had been change to long term mooring and therefore not an option. A lot of that is happening on the waterways. Hey ho, on we go and actually managed to find a great mooring a little further up with fab views of the hills and the viaduct.
Day 47 – New Mills – Bugsworth – Whaley Bridge – New Mills
Bex was coming aboard today to try her hand at boating as we planned to get to the end of the navigation and back again for dinner. She did great and it was so good to have her on the boat, the first of my friends to do so since I made the move in 2018!
After a few metres it was a swing bridge which looked pretty weighty (I was at the helm busy chatting so left that one to Richard!). Went past the home of the Trotter Traders boat conversion, seen this boat pop up on loads of posts so did smile when I saw it.
Came to the junction and took the left to head down to Bugsworth. Bex got her own little boat story when the boat was a little right of the main channel and we grounded out. Richard was straight on it with the pole to get us off, and onwards we went. Moored up in the basin and headed for a little walk and a cheeky pub lunch. The chatty guy in front kept on chatting when we got back, once of those you just cant away from no matter how many times you try to end the conversation. We then got chatting to the Portuguese chap in the cafe boat opposite. Pedro was lovely as he told us he used to moor near my home mooring and we caught him up on the gossip from the marina and known folk from the G&S.
Time to cast off and head down to Whaley – I found turning round in the Bugsworth basin a right old challenge but I got there in the end. Whaley was a bit of something and nothing as mainly moored boats but hey, I’m a completist so I wasn’t going to go all that way and not go down the arm!
Day 48 – New Mills – High Lane
Was sad to be leaving so soon but had a fab day time with both Bex & Alex, with good food and good chats. Time to start the journey home, having a mild grump as although I’m happy to be back to events, I’ve grown to love this freedom to boat and work and explore the hidden gems of the waterways.
Day 49 – High Lane – Macclesfield
A lovely straight run back down the Macclesfield, fully taking advantage of a lock free canal for a little while. Apart from the moored boats it was a fairly quiet day on the canal in the sunshine, a total tonic!