Bugsworth (a heron joined us for dinner)

Moored at Disley for lunch on Thursday

We only had four miles left until we reached the end of the Macclesfield canal when we set off at about 10 on Thursday morning.  Although the sun was out intermittently, the temperature seemed to have dropped by about ten degrees.  I must admit that I put my coat and gloves on at a couple of times during the morning. 

We had been moored at Higher Poynton on Thursday night where there are a few extra wide stretches of water to pass through.  These were caused by subsidence from the coal mines underneath and the canal bed has had to be raised several times during its life.

One of the wider stretches at Higher Poynton

It was another very rural cruise all the way to the end at Marple, apart from a small settlement at High Lane.  An arm, called High Lane arm, used to go off here serving some of the local coal pits.  Most of it has now gone but the first bit is used by the North Cheshire Cruising Club.

Passing the entrance to High Lane arm

Entering Marple the view is dominated by Goyt Mill, built in 1905 for the Goyt Spinning Company.  With the decline of the cotton industry it closed in 1959 but at least it is now occupied by many manufacturing and business units.  Interestingly, the steam operated mill took its water from the canal.

Goyt Mill

I planned to stop for water at Marple junction and, although we had seen no boats on the move all morning, a boat was taking on water when we got there.  There was nowhere to moor whilst we waited so I just hovered slightly to the left of the main channel in case boats came past.

Waiting for the water point at Marple

We didn’t have to wait too long but when I came to move off I realised we were grounded.  No wonder we had been able to sit there without any throttle or tiller corrections!  So, it was a matter of reversing off the obstruction and pulling back into the centre before going forward to get onto the water point.

The bridge in the picture above marks the end of the Maccy and the canal running across is the Peak Forest canal.  To the left is a flight of locks that have been closed for maintenance since last September.  Going down that flight is the shortest way to Manchester and then onto Liverpool which is where we need to get to by the middle of June.  If the flight doesn’t open in time we will have to go back down the Maccy and then up to Manchester via the Trent & Mersey and Bridgewater canals – an extra 70 miles which is a lot in a boat 😊

To Liverpool the long way in blue but hopefully we will take the red short cut

The opening date for the flight has been delayed and the latest date is the 24th June which will just give us enough time to get to Liverpool for our booked berth in the docks.  We will decide on Monday whether to trust the new date or go the long way around.

Next to the water point are all the coping stones that were removed from the second lock down the flight.  The whole lock structure has had to be rebuilt.  All the stones were removed and then the layers of brickwork underneath.  One of the reasons for the delayed opening is that they had to remove more stones and bricks than they originally thought before they could find a stable base to start rebuilding from.

Coping stones by the water point – note the stone with the ‘cill’ marker

It’s amazing to think those stones were originally cut, transported and laid without mechanical aids.

After filling up we drove to the junction and turned right.

Getting ready to enter the Peak Forest canal under another of those wonderful snake bridges

Pulling right onto the Peak Forest canal with the first of the closed locks at the top of the pictutre

The Peak Forest canal has a mixture of lift and swing bridges as well as the standard static bridges.

Karen and Buddy off to get Turf Lea lift bridge ready

Leaving Turf Lea lift bridge

After a couple of lift bridges, we stopped for lunch at a place called Disley.  Because this canal is very shallow there are very few places to moor and many of those are taken by bridge hoppers (as we were called for the last two years 😉).  The place we stopped at for lunch looked ideal for staying at whilst we while away our time for the next couple of weeks - there are plenty of walks in this area to keep us occupied.

Moored at Disley for lunch

The canal, being at 500 feet above sea level, has some amazing scenery but the views of the Peak District hills just cannot be brought to life on a camera phone…

…but I have to include one picture just to prove we’re here 😉

We only had a couple of miles to travel after lunch, so Karen walked with Buddy alongside.

We last saw this boat about 10 years ago on the K&A at Aldermaston

About ½ mile from the end of the canal it splits into two: the right-hand branch goes to Whaley Bridge and the left-hand branch to Bugsworth basin. 

We turned left at the junction

There is quite a big Tesco at the junction, so we moored up for a while to get some more compost and some of those other larger items that can only really be bought when you’re moored close enough to a store.

Signpost at the junction – the unreadable arm says ‘Bugsworth ½ mile’

We were soon at the entrance to the basin – technically there are three basins and we headed for the one on the right as there were already boats moored in the left hand one and the middle one is closed off.

Entrance to the basins

There were very few boats in the basins which has been put down to the lengthy lock closures.  We wanted to moor where we had moored last time we were here on the original Chalkhill Blue, but the spot was taken.

Moored in the longest basin
We’re on the left – the boat further on is where we had wanted to moor – Buddy has found some bread when I wasn’t watching

The left-hand basin – almost empty apart from the two permanent boats nearest the camera, they belong to people who work at the site:

Whilst having dinner we spent a happy 20 minutes watching a heron opposite us.  It was also having dinner, well, we saw it catch one fish 😊


Tomorrow we will take it easy as we are walking up Kinder Scout on Saturday with my sister, Judith, and Nigel who are coming up to stay for the weekend.  We are also going out with friends from the local village tomorrow evening which we are looking forward to.

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