Welcome to the story of Hale and Hearty travelling the canals of Great Britian

Saturday, 27 August 2011

A week in The Peaks

And so a week in The Peaks. After spending time with Martin’s uncle and aunt on Sunday Graham kindly drove us up the Snake Pass and dropped us at the top so that we could have a walk down to Old Glossop. It was a beautiful day, clear and dry, and the views were quite breathtaking. Ten minutes with our feet in the stream at Mossy Lea readied us for a tour of Howard’s Town micro brewery. Tuesday again dawned well, not as forecast, and Viv and Graham joined us for the ongoing journey. We stopped for lunch with their daughter and grandchild at New Mills and then on to Bugsworth Basin – a large and nicely restored transhipment basin for lime and stone from the hills. Saying that does not do justice to the massive amount of work that has been done to reclaim the canal and environs and make it a lovely mooring place. We were so lucky with the weather as the front that was hitting further south just about missed us so we had a few good days. Martin did a bit more walking and found the most wonderfully located cricket pitch, with hills all around. Before heading back down ‘The Macc’ we visited Whaley Bridge,  and had an overnight stop at New Mills where we found the Millennium Walkway, an amazing piece of engineering carrying a walk around a gorge, high above the river and leading to the Goyt Way taking in the mill history of the area. Goyt Mill at Marple still stands intact and massive and is where Martin’s great aunt worked for all her life. These huge edifices, where they have not been demolished, now stand as reminders of the important industrial past of the area and it is good to see where they have either been reopened as work units or flats, some never actually went out of use as for many the mill itself only used the top floor and the lower floors were always let out as individual businesses.
The weather finally hit on Friday and we travelled onward in heavy rain arriving wet and cold (we are at 518 feet above sea level here) so we lit our little stove to dry out – very effective.  Now we have stopped again at Higher Poynton and despite travelling in rain the day improved and we walked again up towards Lyme Park, remembering to take the binoculars this time!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Onwards and upwards

We have spent 10 days in Gloucestershire, where we spent lots of nice time with Martin’s mum and dad and also had outings to south Wales, visiting a lovely nature reserve and a Roman town, where a villager was selling excess produce, which included figs, grown perhaps on a descendant from Roman times, Newark Park NT property and looked for fossils at Aust Cliff, on the Severn, where they abound in the layers of rock that are gradually eroding. We caught up with old friends and found living in a house tiring, so much walking about and the kettle more than five paces away!
Now we are back aboard our lovely boat, safe and sound and continuing our adventures. We revictualled in Macclesfield where there is a cracking fish shop, long may it last, and headed off into the Peaks. Towns and villages now have the distinctive stone build look of the Peak district and the canal passes by many huge textile mills, now used to house other businesses. The canal is 518 feet above sea level and one of the highest in the country. As we go further into the undulations of the land the views become ever more extensive, wonderful. To maintain the contour the canal is carried along on embankments and over aqueducts, feats of engineering hard to envisage the scale of manpower needed. At Higher Poynton Martin visited the Anson Engine Museum, which provides a complete history of the internal combustion engine with working examples going back to the 1880’s. We walked to Lyme Park (alias Pemberly in Pride and Prejudice), a long but rewarding climb to over 800 feet with fantastic views en route over the Cheshire plain, Manchester and the Pennines beyond. The house is a magnificent pile with lovely grounds and parkland, but regrettably no sign of Mr Darcy and his wet shirt! We shared our mooring place with flocks of geese which arrived at dusk with a great show. And so we find ourselves in Marple, moored on the Peak Forest Canal, having travelled the full length of the Macclesfield, and looking across the valley to the high Peaks. Martin’s uncle and aunt live close by and we have been able to meet up with them. We are still excited and awed to find ourselves moored amongst so much natural beauty and magnificent history.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Just a couple of photos

Salt to silk

Martin decided to use the peaceful mooring as an opportunity to repack the stern gland – some kind of operation to stop the boat sinking I hope. The Swan was very interested, much to his consternation as they were eye to eye for a while. We headed back to Middlewich where Monday lunchtime was lock chaos and then on down the Trent and Mersey, passing by the sites of the old salt workings and the current salt factory, stopping overnight at Kidsgrove, after the 21 locks of ‘Heartbreak Hill’ and before turning up the Macclesfield canal. This route is lovely and rural and similar to the Llangollen canal in its beauty and situation as one cruises gently into the Peak District. We visited Little Moreton Hall (NT) a pleasant and sunny walk from the canal and a lovely place. This was followed by Congleton – pie and peas and a haircut for Martin. After an overnight stop where we saw no one  but had a lovely view of The Cloud, a Peak, we set off up the Boseley flight, 12 locks in one mile which we completed in one and a half hours, and arrived Macclesfield just after lunch. Another nice Cheshire town with a very interesting museum of the silk industry that once made the town prosperous. Here we have left the boat and are now in Gloucestershire staying at Martin’s sister’s house to spend some time with his parents. But the adventure has not stopped – yesterday we had an exciting trip to Newport and went on the transporter bridge,