Thursday 30 April 2015

Still in Bugsworth

As Wednesday looked like being very windy we decided to have a lazy day.  We have been in the basin since Sunday and have been watching a Canada Goose from our kitchen window sitting on her nest.  The male seems to sleep with her during the night and patrols the area during the day.  The male even tries to see off people and dogs if they get close to the edge of the canal.  These geese mate for life and live in family groups apart from the nesting season when they split up and rejoin the family group once the gosling(s) are self sufficient.  The gestation period is 28 days.  Sorry about the facts but it helps us to remember and recall things.

We walked to Whaley Bridge in the morning and had a browse around.  When we got back we lit a fire and investigated where we should cruise to next.  

There are three canal routes that run across the Pennines in Lancashire and Yorkshire.  We knew we couldn't take the most northern route, the Leeds & Liverpool canal, as our boat is too long for most of the locks, We had been assuming we would take either the Rochdale or Hunddersfield Narrow canal.  All three canals meet up just east of Wakefield where we were going to head north up to York and Ripon. Anyway, we have just found out that this pinch point at Wakefield has some locks that are too short for us so we will have to go back down South and across to Nottingham to go up the Trent to get to places like York and Ripon.

My parents live at the northern tip of the Leeds and Liverpool at Gargrave and we have always found it ironic that theirs is the only canal we cannot go on because of our length.  We were quite upset when we realised about the Wakefield constriction.

Our initial thoughts are that we will go up the Huddersfield Narrow canal through the longest canal tunnel in the UK, at Standedge, which is about 3 1/2 miles long. We would then turn back and head through Manchester and then go slowly back to Nottingham taking in some of the arms and loops that we wouldn't normally go down.  Just south of Manchester at Anderton is a boat lift that lifts boats from the Trent & Mersey to and from the River Weaver.  It has a 50 foot drop and is the only other boat lift in the country other than the Falkirk Wheel near Glasgow.  This is a must for us to travel on!

This gives us an outline plan of getting to Nottingham for the middle of July for Catherine's graduation.  We then lazed around and read for the afternoon.  All in all a lovely peaceful day.

Wednesday 29 April 2015

Kinder Scout

I have always wanted to climb up Kinder Scout (the highest point in the Peak District) so we decided to do it on Tuesday.  We woke to wind and sleet but with a forecast of sunny spells in the afternoon so we kept to our plan.  We had to get a train one stop towards Sheffield to Edale.  We had a 1 ½ walk to the station and somehow got our timings wrong and ended up having to run to catch the train so we were pretty exhausted before we had even started.

This was Buddy’s first train trip but he was fine.  He has seen many close up when we have dropped Karen off or met her from a station.

The walk we had planned was eight miles that would take between four and six hours. It was circular and went up to the east of Edale, across the Kinder plateau at over 2,000 feet to join the Pennine Way and back down to the west of Edale.  There was snow on the tops and as we set off it started snowing in the village.

The main part of the ascent was following Grinds Brook.  This was the hardest part as it meant scrabbling up rocks for 1 1/2 miles.

It was dry for most of the walk but every so often it clouded over and snowed – the wind meant the snow hurt our faces as we were walking into it.  The views were fantastic when the sun came out but our photographs cannot do them justice.  At the top we lost our way a few times as the snow covered the path in places.

The summit is not a striking place like mountains such as Snowdon as it is a slight rise on the plateau.  This is us standing at the highest point.

The rock formations, made of millstone grit, were interesting especially as they were at the very tops.  Most formations are named such as Pagoda Rocks, Noe Stool, Pym's Chair, Letterbox and the Woolpacks. Some say the Woolpacks were an inspiration to Henry Moore.

The plateau is mainly peat with heather.  To help preserve the peat, these pathways are being constructed.  The slabs are lifted up by helicopter and there is plan to work from April to September building more this year.  We only came across them in places but when completed should make a marked difference.

On the way back down Karen found this old man eating his packed lunch in a barn.

At one point there is a choice of paths and we decided on the slightly shorter but much steeper Jacob's ladder. This path was named after a farmer, Jacob Marshall, the last owner of a farm at Edale Head.

The Pennine Way starts in Edale.

When we got back to our station we popped in to see our friend Gemma for a welcome cup of tea.  We then had a slow walk for the last 1 ½ miles back to the boat.A tiring day but we felt really satisfied that we had made it!

Tuesday 28 April 2015

A walk up Eccles Pike

We fancied a walk on Monday so decided to stay put in the basin.  We walked up Eccles Pike which gave us great views over Manchester and the Peak District.

This metal disc at the summit indicated the various landmarks we could see.

Buddy was pleased to be in hilly country and rushed round and round us on a steep bit.  This confirmed to us that going up hills is not so noticeable to him as it is to us.  The village in the picture is Chinley, the next village along from Bugsworth and where we met our friends yesterday.  We will probably catch a train from there tomorrow up to Edale as we would like to climb up Kinder Scout, weather permitting.

We suspected this slit in the stone wall was deliberately made so that fat people cannot go on walks and get into trouble.

On the way back down we walked to Whaley Bridge which has a much smaller basin that Bugsworth.

Buddy has started getting a bit braver with water but still won’t swim.

We passed this massive dog thing on the tow path.  It always strikes us as odd that people have many and/or large dogs on boats.

We had a walk around the various wharf ways where we are moored at Bugsworth.  This model shows the extent of the complex.

As we had been out with our friends yesterday we had our Sunday roast on Monday evening – even more enjoyable as it clouded over in the evening and got colder.

Here are a few shots of the basin.

Monday 27 April 2015

Marple & Bugsworth

Rain was forecast later on Saturday so we set out to travel until the rain started in the afternoon.  Just as we set off we passed this colourful male Mandarin duck.

As we hit Marple we passed Goyt Mill which was originally a cotton spinning mill.

After filling up with water in the centre of Marple we reached the end of the Macclesfield canal and turned right onto the Peak Forest canal to travel to its end at Bugsworth basin.  Couldn't believe we were 14 miles from Manchester!

The Peak Forest canal has been closed for a couple of weeks as there was a breach at this point.

Here is some of the clay that was used to puddle the breach in the canal bottom.

The section of the canal that had the breach had been sectioned off by stanking planks and the section drained.  The stanking planks had been removed on Friday and were just piled up on the side.

There were several lift bridges that Karen had to operate.

The bridge plaques on the Peak Forest canal are yellow on blue; all previous ones on other canals have been white on black or black on white.

Progress is very slow as the canal is so narrow and twisty as you can see here – that is a heron flying over the bridge and Buddy on the towpath.

There are stone milestones like on the Macclesfield but most are illegible.  I love seeing dry stone walls.

Buddy working out how to get across this bridge.

Down in the valley is Matlow’s factory where sweets like Parma Violets, Lovehearts and Swizzles are made.  Locals told us that if the wind is in the right direction the smell is incredibly sweet.

We moored for the night with a view of the foothills of the Peak District.

We were catching up with our friends Gemma and Cerys and their young son, Tristan, for a walk and lunch on Sunday so set out early to get to Bugsworth basin in time to meet them.  Unlike the London marathon we had clear blue skies all day but with a chill wind.

The canal continued to be narrow and we made slow progress but it feels so peaceful to be travelling at 2mph.

Half a mile before Bugsworth the canal splits and an arm goes off to the right to Whaley Bridge.

We met our friends at Bugsworth and walked along an old tramway to their village.  There were several tramways leading down from places like Buxton.  Wagons full of millstone grit and limestone used to run down to Bugsworth basin on these tramlines unaided where they were unloaded onto waiting boats.  Horses used to pull the wagons back to the mines and quarries.

Folklore has it that the local village used to be called Bugsworth but was changed as it was unsavoury.

On reflection we had a lovely weekend.  We seem to have been on the move every day for a while so think we may well stay in the basin for a couple of days and do some fell walking etc. 

The basin splits into several areas; this is a view coming into the basin and you can see us moored on the right hand arm.   

This is looking back down our arm with us in the far distance - I imagine it must be packed with boats in the summer.

This is the end of the middle basin. 

And here we are in the setting sun.