Tilly Sheep, 30th June

Smith’s Bridge 14 to Hill Top Footbridge 20, Peak Forest Canal

I want more than views!

No rain for a change this morning, but it still took us a while to get going. Around midday we finally pushed off our eyes set on a few possible places to stop today, hopefully with views.

The Cage

On my walk yesterday I must have had my head down due to the precipitation as I’d not seen The Cage in Lyme Park. The tower was originally built in 1580 as a hunting lodge where ladies of the estate could watch the hunt, it was also used as a banqueting hall at night. I knew it was there as we’d walked to it Christmas 2016. Just as the building itself makes a good view, it also commands views right across Manchester on a clear day.

Too fast!

Plenty to look at along the moorings. A speeding boater who’s ended up on the bank, a climbing tree.

A Cropmaster and a Fergie
Lots of interesting stuff

Two old tractors and an interesting collection of all sorts just by Bullocks Bridge 13.

NCCC arm

We pootled along through the wooded section, passing High Lane where an arm is used by the North Cheshire Cruising Club. The back gardens of the houses at this end of the Macc need some TLC, they are very poor in comparison to those further south.

He made it home then

The pushing in boat was happily sat on it’s mooring. Wonder if they made it home in time?!

A calm fella in the garden

The large carved wizard came into view along with our first choice of mooring for the day. Sadly several other boats had beaten us to it, one with a slightly tuffty nervous version of Tilly on the stern, who kept a close eye on us.

Loads of cats today

There was space for one boat, but the towpath was narrow and I suspected one of the other boats belonged to Tilly’s friend Ben, he has two cats. So for feline peace we continued onwards.

Too fluffy to be Tilly
Tilly Sheep

The next mooring was also full, a shame as opposite there were Tilly sheep, more commonly known as Zwartbles Sheep with their white feet and tipped tails.

Goyt Mill wasn’t as busy as we’d remembered it, but that’s a sign of the times now. We did however wonder how long we’d have to wait for lunch as we felt a touch peckish after passing some teenagers smoking something rather fragrant!

Hope the owners have mended their ways, it was horrible down here

Next we passed a boat that looked like it wouldn’t be floating for much longer. Sadly we witnessed a sinking boat along the moorings here four years ago, the chap was on board trying to plug the hole as the water flooded in! Attempts were made over the next few days to raise it, but sadly it just kept sinking.

Church Lane Bridge 2

We decided to carry on through Marple today as we have to return next week to wait for the locks to reopen. Yet I still managed to take around 30 photos of the two snake bridges.


The curves of these two bridges are very pleasing, most probably helped by the curving ramp being wider. Very few boats were moored up on the visitor moorings leaving ample space, but we carried on.

The end of the Macc

Under the last bridge of the Macclesfield Canal, hanging a right onto the Peak Forest Canal. Two boats were moored up here, maybe sitting out the wait for the locks next week.

Bye bye to the Macc

We pootled along hoping for a view and enough depth below Oleanna to be able to pull in. The B6101 hugs the canal for a while, admittedly a lot lower as we continued to follow the contour around the hill. As it started to move away and houses with gardens took over we considered stopping.

The Marple flight

Just a touch further on and all of a sudden there was a gap in the trees, the other side of the wall wasn’t too steep, the towpath wider than normal. But was the depth sufficient? Thankfully it was, which meant for the remainder of the day we got to enjoy the fantastic view across the valley to Mellor Moor.

Our view from the hatch

Tilly headed out to explore, finding winged friends still a touch too difficult to keep hold of thank goodness. The local Crows, Magpies and Jays shouted their displeasure at her. Blimey the towpath was busy, don’t blame the walkers as the canal has so many good views.

Spelt, a first for me

A request for bread had me get out the packet of Spelt flour we’d been sent as a substitute on one of our deliveries. I’ve not used Spelt before so followed the instructions, mixing everything together and then ‘pressing’ it 100 times. I took this to mean one action of kneading. It came together very quickly and was very glutenous.

It was left to rise then another 100 presses before being put in a tin to rise again. Not sure if the boat had been quite warm enough to get a full rise, as the side hatch and back doors were open. When it came out of the oven it didn’t seem to have risen anymore. We’ll have to see what it’s like when it’s cut into tomorrow.

All the rain we’ve been having has helped to fill reservoirs on the Leeds Liverpool, today the news came through that Wigan and the other locks will be opening earlier than planned, so from Friday the canal will be open again.

We also had the news today that the River Soar is being locked down through Leicester for the next couple of weeks due to the increase of Covid-19 cases. All boats between Turnover Lock 27 on the Leicester Line and The Hope and Anchor on Wanlip Road can now only move for essentials again.

0 locks, 4.11 miles, 1 right, 0 Olga or Betty in view, 2 many cats, 1 barging narrowboat, 1 dry day! 2 boaters with munchies, 1 mooring with a great view, £20! 50mbps download, 34 mbps upload, 1 canal open early, 1 canal closed.