Crow Holt’s Bridge to Clarence Mill Footbridge 26A
So much for a day of rest and staying put! Instead the alarm had been set as we needed to be on our way, come rain or shine. It was most certainly a rainy start. Coats were soon put on over our shorts and light rain accompanied us.
One trip on NB Winding Down had us seeking out a good vantage point overlooking Macclesfield on a Bonfire Night, sadly we ended up giving up and moored in front of a house, setting off our one rocket and swizzling sparklers around in the dark. That house is for sale right now, shyly hiding behind it’s huge hedge. Luckily the estate agent took a drone with them to get a good photo for the house details! Details here.
At Royal Oak Swing Bridge I hopped off, crossed the bridge, popped a birthday card in the post, had a little look at the lovely old cars in the pub car park and returned ready with the key of power. Only one car held up today, I suspect a couple more had seen the barriers and changed their route accordingly.
The brolly came out for us to have some shelter. In the past the next swing bridge has been a bit of a pain to move. Today it moved fine once I’d jiggled my key around in the lock to find that it required a full turn anti-clockwise rather than the 3/4 suggested by the instructions!
I hopped off again at Lyme Green. A visit to Pets at Home required for our second mate. Despite the rain we had to carry on, luckily it gradually dried up.
The hills came into view as we rounded the next bend, these will be with us for the next week or so as we follow the 518 ft contour line northwards to Marple and Bugsworth Basin.
Passing over the Gurnett Aqueduct we approached Macclesfield. A snake bridge backed by a road bridge guided us towards the big wall that holds the higher side of Macclesfield back and stopping it from falling into the canal.
Maybe it should have been extended as someone’s garden has fallen onto the towpath closing quite a long stretch.
Passing the big mill we could see the back of a well photographed boat through the next bridge hole. We met NB Alfie in Market Harborough quite a few years ago in our yellow days, but we tend not to get recognised now that we blend into the masses.
The pontoon moorings were just about full, NB Winton’s Folly sat at the far end. The view has improved since we were last here. We remembered a site meeting with several chaps wading through weeds, but now instead of scrub land The Bridges stands tall alongside the canal. Manicured gardens surround the winding hole. Quite nice retirement apartments if you have enough cash to spend on one!
Back out into the countryside. There’s a length of new (to us) stonework, was this where the towpath was falling into the cut or was this where the cut had been trying to escape through the towpath?
Clarke Lane Bridge 29 another snake bridge, still not as curvy as it could be. A bit further, past Kerridge Dry Dock and on to Adelphi Mill, Bollington. The canal was filled with boats, only space for one at a time through here. We were now most definitely back in Alton Land.
Back in 2016/17 Brian and Ann Marie who ran NB Alton, the coal boat up here, had just purchased Bollington Wharf. At one point we’d considered launching Oleanna here, but sadly she was delayed. But today we were paying a visit for a touch of work.
A couple of summers ago our gas locker hinges had broken, Johnathan at Tyler Wilson replaced them for us when we were in Sheffield last. But sadly somehow one of them had given up on us again a few months ago. So the locker lid has been hanging on by one hinge all winter and needed seeing to.
We knew that Bollington Wharf would be capable of doing the job for us, so Mick had called them yesterday. Photos had been sent through and last night Ann Marie had emailed back asking if we could be at the wharf between 1 and 2pm today, a three to four hour cruise from last nights mooring. Then Steve would have a closer look and see what he could do for us.
The sun was out and we were greeted with cheery smiles all round as we tied up. We’d messaged ahead a week ago for a new V fender as ours is starting to look tatty, shackles and fixings were also needed. A top of diesel too.
Yesterday Mick had mentioned that an overhanging branch at one of the locks had left a mark. I’d taken it that he had meant the gunnels, well that’s easy enough to touch up. But when I stepped off the boat I could see what he meant. A wavering scrape all down the starboard side, a second one in places too. Blimey, it looked like someone had attacked us with a key! Hopefully some coloured polish will help.
Steve came and managed with quite a lot of difficulty to get the locker lid off, he took it away to see if he could push the pin out. But sadly this wasn’t going to be that easy and the other side of the hinge would be even harder, the pillar drill would need to be used to drill out the pin, so the offending bits were angle ground off and taken away.
A new stainless steel pin was added then the hinge welded back on. A couple of hours later the locker lid was working again. We said we’d try and time our next trip onto the Macc with the other hinge giving up.
Because the locks have been closed for a while the wharf hasn’t been as busy as it should have been, so we’d timed our phone call very well. Thank you to all for the speedy repair.
We pootled on a short distance further and found ourselves a space at the embankment, underneath the big red brick chimney of Clarence Mill and settled in for the rest of the day. Thunderstorms had been forecast so I refrained from getting some primer on the new hinges, sadly the rain didn’t arrive.
This is when I noticed another mark on the cabin side. A bridge had bitten us on the port side this morning. Looks like Oleanna will be getting a wash and polish soon.
Tilly headed off across the lane alongside of the embankment and spent quite a bit of time there until she was called back for dingding. Once dingding is served the back doors are kept closed and shore leave is at an end for the day.
Sometime later I could hear the alarm call of some birds in the trees nearby. It sounded like they were telling Tilly off! Then the penny dropped. After Mick had had a shower he’d left the bedroom door open. When it’s hot we leave the front doors open but close the bathroom door, the bedroom keeps cool, but Tilly can’t get out. She must have just sauntered out for a bit more friend finding.
Fortunately for all concerned, apart from Tilly, I’d heard the commotion. She’d found a friend and was being busy. I provided a distraction just long enough for a quick escape, once Tilly realised her friend had gone she gave up and came home with me, leaving the towpath nice and calm again.
0 locks, 8.01 miles, 1 more alarm clock, 4 queue boats passed, 1 birthday card, 1 new collar, 64 litres, 1 huge bag charcoal, 1 V, 3 shackles, 1 bag sticks, 1 mended hinge, 2 hours sorted, 2 scratches, 1 escapee, 1 friend rescued, 1 little thug.