Whilst Karen did some gardening I set about sorting out the rear fender. We have two on the back as we have extra length to protect the bikes that we store on the back when cruising. Over the last year they had become misplaced and the outer one was hanging partly in the water. The chains holding them on needed shortening. Removing links is an easy job on dry land but when you have to take the weight of a heavy fender and do the job over water it’s a different matter. It’s the sort of job where you’re likely to lose a tool, a chain link, or yourself or all three in the water, but I was fortunate and finally got the job done admittedly with a bit of help from Karen.
We decided to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and have another barbecue.
Waiting for the sticky chilli chicken and ratatouille to cook - now that’s what I call chilling 😉
I don’t think it’s been mentioned before but, although we are on the move, Karen still likes to find a Slimming World meeting every Tuesday to keep up her weekly weigh ins: this of course adds to the complexity of our journey planning. Fortunately it’s a very popular club and all towns and a lot of villages have many sessions a week. For this Tuesday we needed to get to the cricket club at Congleton for a 9.30 meeting.
Half sun was promised all day, so it was shorts and tee shirt weather and we were off for Congleton by 7.30. We took the last spot at the visitor moorings and walked into town. Karen is never long at these sessions, so Buddy and I bought some picture hooks and had a trip to the post office whilst we waited. On the way back to the boat we exchanged some old £10 notes and got some photos of the children printed.
When we got home, the visitor moorings were no longer packed, and we set off for Bosley where we planned to have lunch before ascending the flight of 12 locks there.
Leaving the rapidly emptying visitor moorings at Bosley
Goodbye Congleton – going over Dog Lane aqueduct
So much for half sun, it was another day of cloudless skies and we were soon remembering how much we enjoyed the rural Macclesfield canal last time we came. It really does go through some stunning countryside and we were soon passing The Cloud, another hill that we want to walk up.
After climbing Kinder Scout at the weekend and we’re waiting for the Marple flight to reopen on the 24th May we may cruise back down here and walk up then.
As planned we stopped for lunch at the bottom of the Bosley flight on the aqueduct over the River Dane.
Our lunchtime view – we didn’t have to get our chairs out as there was a handy bench by the mooring
Buddy spent most of lunch looking through the railings of the aqueduct. He could see sheep and lambs sheltering in the shade:
Buddy’s lunchtime view
Over lunch we both realised that we had had the same feeling about the last five days moored at Ramsden Hall. Although we have spent most of the last two years not moving much because of Karen’s job, we had both felt like we had had a mini holiday not cruising for a few days😊
After lunch I cleaned the windows whilst Karen did some preparations for dinner. The windows get very dirty with mud splashed from runners and cyclists, leaky locks and general rope marks when cruising. They hadn’t been cleaned for a while and, as always, there was a noticeable difference afterwards. It always occurs to me that perhaps I should leave it longer between cleaning them, so the difference is even more marked 😉
The Macclesfield is a relatively modern canal (1830s), like the Shropshire Union, and hence has many embankments and cuttings in order to drive the navigation in a straight line. The ascent between Kidsgrove at the southern end and Marple in the north is all focussed on the Bosley locks which raise the canal 110’ to the summit at 500’.
We had noticed that the clouds had thickened on the horizon during lunch but it was still very sunny and hot, so we set off on the ascent.
The locks here are quite unusual as they are stone lined rather than the usual brick and have a pair of top gates rather than the usual one.
After the second lock we felt spots of rain and by the time we were doing the third it was pouring so we had to get our wet weather gear out.
|Ten minutes earlier Karen was in sandals, shorts and tee-shirt ☹|
It didn’t stop all the way up and it kept going until we moored up about ½ mile from the top of the locks. At the top lock we got rid of our rubbish and filled up with water.
In the evening we watched the Swansea – Southampton game and we don’t think we’ve had a more stressful two hours in our life 😉 At least the result left us feeling elated unlike when we watched the game against Everton a week ago which felt good until the dying seconds (Everton scored an equaliser) but left us deflated for the rest of the day ☹
We have travelled 105 miles through 52 locks since leaving Flecknoe two weeks ago
During the day we cruised eight miles through 12 locks and now have just 18 lock-free miles to travel to get to Bugsworth basin by Thursday afternoon.