Past The Point Of No Return. 22nd June

Tilly Railings to Stanier 1st Bridge 62

No shore leave this morning, this didn’t go down too well with the second mate, but at the moment we need to keep moving.

Dad and his lads

Mick made a phone call to Enterprise car hire. We’d booked a car from Congleton for two days to be able to get to York Hospital for an appointment on Wednesday. But yesterday we found out that the Congleton office is currently closed despite it suggesting otherwise on their website. The next few days have been planned like a military operation and our chosen mooring for the car was selected with locks, shopping, tea and hospital all in mind.

A good name

Our hire was moved to the Macclesfield office and luckily the chap today said that they would be able to drop the car off for us, but this would be sometime between 8:30 and 1pm. Returning the car would also have a similar window. This could cause problems on Thursday morning. We’d wanted to get rid of the car as early as possible to then make our way to the bottom of the Bosley flight to join the queue for the locks, a window of only a few hours! Two solutions were suggested, the keys could be picked up as early as they could manage, then the car would be retrieved when ever, or Mick could drive it to Macclesfield and get a cab back for which they would wave the fuel. Things looked more possible, time to move ourselves.

As we had our breakfast three boats went past. Will we be the last in line for the locks when we arrive on Thursday morning? Will we get through or have to wait until the locks reopen three days a week next month?

NB Cuba our locking friends from the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal

We pushed off saying goodbye to the huge bull and his diddy offspring in the field opposite. Before reaching Congleton we passed NB Cuba, was this the boat we shared the locks up to Sheffield with a couple of years ago? A quick look back at the blog and there was the same boat. Sadly no body was in view as we passed so we couldn’t say hello to Rob and Sue.


The foxgloves are doing well along here, sprouting out in gardens and long the towpath edge. Why is it that wild flowers such as foxgloves and rhododendrons are nearly always pink? I remember having white foxgloves in the garden in York.

It used to be a swing bridge as you can see from the curved stonework

Under Billy Tights Footbridge, does anyone know why it has this name? It used to be a swing bridge and the footbridge carries footpaths from one side of the canal to the other. But just who was Billy Tights? Answers on a postcard please.

Not as elegant as they will get

Approaching Congleton we came across our first snake bridge, also known as roving bridges. These are bridges where the towpath changes sides of the canal and so that the rope didn’t have to be detached from the horse, the bridges snake round on both sides of the canal. You get them elsewhere, but the chaps who built the Macc did it with more style. However the first few of these bridges don’t flow quite so beautifully as those in Marple.

Not bad

The curve up from the towpath meets the bridge at an angle, rather than continuing the curve, you’ll see what I mean in a couple of weeks when we reach Marple and I end up taking too many photos!

A mini Nantwich aquaduct

Across the aqueduct, a small version of the one in Nantwich, then the next snake bridge which is a touch more rounded, but still not quite there.

Bridge after bridge all different shapes and sizes

There then follows numerous bridges, high, rounded, square as you work your way past Congleton Railway Station. We took a train from here to Sheffield the day Oleanna got her name painted onto her side.

More bridges and a boat infront

Then round the long bend with a good view of the viaduct, onto the long straight. Bridge after bridge after bridge line themselves up to pass under.

Not very socialble

Alongside Buglawton gardens back onto the towpath, but each with a high hedge. One house looks like they have spent quite a bit of lockdown erecting new fencing on two tiers so nobody can see in or out!

Point of no return

About a mile further on we reached the last winding hole before Bosley Locks, the point of no return! If we didn’t make it up the locks on Thursday we’d have to reverse back to this point to wind, not an attractive proposition!

Before Stanier 1st Bridge 62 we pulled in, nudging back and forth to find suitably deep enough water for Oleanna to sit comfortably. Just a short distance away the busy A54 crosses the canal and here a handy layby to have a car delivered to tomorrow morning.

Not impressed !

Tilly wasn’t that impressed as the sideways trees backed onto a track quite a long way down from the towpath. Alongside our mooring the water teamed with life.

Tadpole city

The waterline was made up more of tadpoles than anything else all busy feeding on weed, we hoped they’d turn round and have a munch on the long growth on Oleanna’s hull. Some only had tails, others legs, stumpy tails, some already had markings despite being no longer then a centimetre long.

Then I spied something else below the water line. An armour plated alien creature. Checking on this ‘thing’ during the afternoon it must have turned round to show us it’s large clawed front legs. Was this a Signal Crayfish or a native crayfish? Only way to tell would be to lift it out of the water to check on colouring. Neither of us were too keen on doing this, so just let it be. If it had turned out to be a Signal Crayfish then we wouldn’t be allowed to return it to the water.

0 locks, 6.02 miles, 1 viaduct, 4 hours shore leave, 1 hire sorted, 1 order finalised, 53743 tadpoles, 1 alien about to chomp our toes, 3 masks finished.

5 thoughts on “Past The Point Of No Return. 22nd June

  1. Sandra Walsh

    Blimey, so many tadpoles and froglets! We were given a couple of bags full of signal crayfish on the Oxford Canal in 2010 – they’d fished them out and as you say, it’s illegal to put them back. I spent ages cooking them and obtaining tiny morsels of meat. Quite delicious but what a palaver!

    1. pipandmick Post author

      Mick isn’t partial to sea food, because they sift, most probably eating pooh. I however love it every now and again, but I’m not sure I’d be too keen on Canal crayfish!

      1. Sandra Walsh

        Just checked with Barry. We were on the River Thames not the canal so hopefully they were okay ?. No tummy problems afterwards. Looking forward to some proper crayfish freshly caught in NZ soon …

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