On Friday morning, when having a wander around the basin, we noticed signs saying that mooring is restricted to 48 hours which was news to us. We wanted to stay at least four days and reckoned it wouldn’t be a problem as there are plenty of mooring spots and we have to wait for the Marple lock flight to reopen on 25th May. If we move out on Monday, we can then take ten days to get to Marple which is six miles away. Clearly, if loads of boats start turning up and moorings become tight then we would move out earlier.
We took it easy during the day on Friday with a short walk to Whaley Bridge and just pottering around the boat. We passed a field of black pigs on the way to Whaley Bridge and, although Buddy was really interested, they didn’t give him a second glance:
Later in the afternoon my sister Judith, and Nigel arrived for the weekend. We were meeting up with a couple of friends from Chinley, the next village, for an early dinner so we all set off along the old High Peak tramway to meet them at the Old Hall. It was really good to catch up with Gemma and Cerys and their son Tristan as it’s been a while since we’ve seen them. Their choice of restaurant was brilliant, and we even had a private room for the seven of us 😊
We had an early start on Saturday, so we were sensible when we got home and were in bed by 11 (and didn’t drink too much 😉). The four of us and Buddy were walking up Kinder Scout, the highest hill in the Peak District at a little of 2,000 feet. We did the walk when we were up here three years ago and then the tops were covered in snow and it was snowing during a lot of the walk. Mind you that was in March, so it wasn’t surprising.
First, we walked to Chinley station to catch a train to Edale where we took a circular route up to the top and back to Edale. It’s a boulder/rock scramble on the way up with a long plateau at the top and a gentle walk back down. In all we walked 13 miles and the weather was perfect; it was clear and sunny but not too hot. There were a lot of people out on the hills and many youngsters which was great to see. When Karen and I walked up in the snow we only saw one other walker on the whole route!
There are many groups of rocks at the top, all with different names which sometimes reflected their strange shapes; however, we couldn’t find the name of this animal head shaped one:
We stopped for a well-earned lunch at the group of rocks called Crowden Tower:
On the way home, we stopped at The Navigation, the pub at Bugsworth basin, for some welcome drinks before spending the evening on the boat.
Judith and Nigel left on Sunday morning and we had another easy day around the boat. We need to start touching up all the scratches that have appeared before they start getting deep and rusty. Obviously, the boat needs to be clean before we can start finding all the spots and we have learnt not to clean too much in one go because last time we did it we both put our backs out. We decided just to clean the roof first, so we took everything off the roof and gave it a good wash.
Later on Sunday we took the gamble that the delayed opening of the Marple flight will actually happen on 25th May after eight months of maintenance. This will give us five days to get through Manchester and to the outskirts of Liverpool where we will be leaving the boat for ten days or so whilst we do loads of family things like a wedding in Reading, a degree show in Edinburgh and climbing Ben Nevis. It’s only 40 miles and 50 locks but we will need to travel for five or six hours a day which is a lot for us.
If we didn’t take the gamble then we would have to leave now to go the much longer way round, retracing our steps to Kidsgrove and then up to Manchester through Middlewich.
By taking the gamble we now have nearly a fortnight to kill so we will get the chance to walk up The Cloud at Congleton which we passed on our way up last week. We will take a few days to go back the 19 miles and 12 locks through Macclesfield to Congleton, walk up The Cloud next weekend and get back to Marple for the reopening.
The heron that was fishing opposite the boat on Friday hasn't returned all weekend but a barnacle goose keeps hanging around. We don't think we've seen one on a canal before, they prefer wetlands, and the poor thing keeps getting chased away by the aggressive Canada geese.