Ok so I maybe I am a bit to blame but I got myself well and truly caught out today, stranded on the wrong side of the canal while Eric cruised away without me.
Being bank holiday Monday the canal was the busiest we’ve seen. We set off nice and early from Bugsworth back along the Peak Forest Canal. I knew there was a boat behind us but obviously as we got to the swing bridge first I was the one to open it. And being a kind person I waved the following boat through, and the next and the next. In all 7 boats went through before I was able to close the bridge, and Eric, not realising I’d got stuck, had cruised all the way to New Mills before he pulled over to wait for me, Good job I can walk faster than a narrowboat and it was only a mile further on. Of course the up side of playing narrowboat leap frog is that we were no longer the first in the caravan and the following three bridges were opened for us.
Swing and lift bridges are typically found on farm land where it isn’t appropriate to have a proper bridge. You either need a windlass or a key to operate them and, unless you fancy swimming across the canal, you need to close them I order to get back onto the tow path.
We made it back to High Lane in time for a late lunch and the grey skies and rain of the bank holiday have lifted, ready for another interesting day tomorrow.
We made an early getaway for the bank holiday weekend to take advantage of the last of the dry weather for a few days. Travelling north this time.
Evening sunshine certainly brings out the best in a dark grey cloud.
We’ve moored up at Marple, by the golf course,
Looking straight towards the setting sun
I’ve been advised that the best views around were from the Bowstones. So once it stopped raining I donned my boots and set off up the hill and down the dale and back up the next hill more or less following the boundary of Lyme Park.
The Bowstones are two carved Saxon pillars that are believed to be the shafts of two stone crosses. Sadly although their history is legendary, they are dwarfed by the scenery around them.
Looking back towards the canal to the west and north it feels like the whole world is stretching out before you, I think to my left is Chester and the north wales mountains then as I span round to my right it takes in Liverpool Manchester Stockport and to the northern reaches of the Peak District. It wouldn’t surprise me if the mountains in the distance were the Lakeland fells but alas it is all too vast and hazy for me to capture in a photograph
Then to the east I could see out towards New Mills and beyond into the central Peak District
Along the way I stopped to chat
We’re back at our Braidbar Base and whilst we were filling up with water our favoured mooring spot in the wides was occupied by someone else, but no worries we’ve moved down a bit and now have this amazing view from the bow. And in the evening the sunshine makes it glow.
This Weekends cruise has brought us about 5 miles south to Bollington.
We came though here in March on our way to Macclesfield and I snapped a view from the canal. As we’re moored in almost the exact location I was able to go and have a look from below. This is one of those times when I am in absolute awe of the people that built the canals. We are moored up there on the aqueduct, and we’d never guess, and neither would the town below know it was a canal going over them.
A lot of the country has been enjoying blue skies all week but the clouds only dispersed on Friday here in Cheshire so Saturday was the first time we completely removed the cratch covers from the conservatory, I sat and drank pink fizz while Eric polished the portholes. Win win, I’d say.
Bollington has some pretty parks but Daisy’s on a lawn are hard to beat.
Just beyond Braidbar is an area know as the Wides. The canal channel only runs down one side and is a popular mooring spot, but you venture further out into the mere at your peril, for there be dragons and all manner of dangerous creatures. I think the only thing I haven’t seen yet is a crocodile. Maybe tomorrow.
But although it looks tranquil and idyllic, the geese seem to have other ideas and at this time of year they are fiercely territorial, they all look the same to me but they each seem to have found a soul mate and paired off to build their nests and do whatever geese do in the spring. It seems to me that attacking other geese and honking 24 hours a day. Ah well I guess I did choose to live on a boat so what can I expect.
This is ‘our’ goose, he likes to hang out outside our conservatory in the hope that I’ll feed him.
His missus is sitting on their nest on the far side.
I’ve seen the kingfisher flitting up and down several times but it’s a bit too far away to see it perched. And I reckon there must be perch in the water as well. In the evening we sit and watch the fish jumping for flies and there’s some whoppers out there.
Laurence came for lunch today, so did someone else from the foot prints left on the roof.
Having had a cup of tea at 5:30 am because we woke early, come breakfast we had no 240V power – oh well no coffee.
Opps – we had run the batteries flat and the Inverter had powered down as it should. I knew the batteries were low, but declined to run the generator the afternoon before because our neighbours were enjoying the sun and the peace fishing off the bow of their boat, and I thought we would do it today instead, and let them enjoy their afternoon.
We ran 3 cells out of 32 – 100% flat – opps not the best thing to do for longevity, but once in a while is OK with our batteries, but something I intend to ensure does not happen again.
It has given me the chance to check the state of all the cells, and assess the state of balance, and we now have a fully charged battery, and I have lots of measurements for each cell.
I am installing electronics that will monitor the batteries all the time, and will eventually start the genset automatically if they get too flat, but I have not installed that yet – ironically I was going to make a start today. This will also keep an track of exactly how much power we have left.
Normally it is best to keep LiFePO4 batteries between 10% and 90% charged. The normal practise of charging Lead Acid batteries to 100% and float charging them is a really bad thing to do to Lithium Batteries, so I have been very careful not to charge them too much.
Still it has been a nice day – and we have a nice view over the wide’s – with pairs of Geese being very territorial, and chasing the swan away.
We set off from Braidbar for our weekend cruise aiming for Marple, but I spotted a pleasing view just before we arrived. Eric dutifully pulled over and we tied up. It was only then that I realised it was the identical spot where we had moored when we took the Braidbar hire boat out in 2014.
I could hear the cows but couldn’t see them until I went for a walk and saw they were housed in one of the sheds.
From our mooring here we can look right over to the sprawling conurbations of Stockport and Manchester.
And finally, we had an enjoyable afternoon on Thursday when we saw Jo bringing her newly launched hull into the yard at Braidbar. We remember that overwhelming sense of excitement seeing Firecrest for the first time in her raw naked state and and I wonder if we’ll ever loose that. It shouldn’t be too much longer before we’ve ticked all the boxes and can begin to travel freely.
It’s been a week of contentment, enjoying the peacefulness. Early mornings when it’s all still are magical. And so is the excitement of emerging from a bridge.
Or looking down into a valley, this is Bollington and when we stop here I’ll try and get a view looking up from the valley below.
On my walks I’ve seen a pair of greater spotted woodpeckers and a cormerant to add to my new bird spotting hobby.
Macclesfield used to be known as Treacletown because of an accident centuries ago when a horse cart toppled over and spilt its cargo of treacle all over the cobbles. everywhere was sticky but the local poor quickly scooped up what they could and had a feast.
The treacle market is a monthly celebration of real good food and arty crafts
Macclesfield has a fascinating history, We had to climb the 108 steps, which apparently where mentioned in the doomsday book. The legend is that if you can run up without getting out of breath you can make a wish and it will come true. I wish I were fitter.
Once we got our breath back it was a lovely atmosphere. The stalls were set around the 14th century church, st Michels,
And the Butter Market town hall
There was loads to see
Packed in like kippers
It was a glorious warm day
With buskers and entertainment
I’m not sure this stall held only local specialities
If we go back next month I must remember not to go shopping the day before cause there really was an abundance of delicious produce to buy. including sticky treacle pudding.
As we’re discovering when you think of places to visit in England, Macclesfield might not be your number one choice but it really has a lot of character and a proud history. On 13th April, they are holding the potato riot re enactment and feast. See you there?