Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Friday 30 September 2011

A busy day

Yet another beautiful, sunny and hot day. We got going at 8.30 as we had a lot of locks ahead of us. This stretch of the Trent and Mersey canal is known as Heartbreak Hill with 31 locks in 8 miles.
We had done 6 of them yesterday, so the rest to do today taking us to Middlewich.

We took turns to work the locks/drive the boat, and both have taken photos of the split foot bridges at the bottom of the locks. The gap is to allow the horses tow rope to pass through. 
Coming down into Middlewich, we passed the Sandbach salt works.  We could see this loader scooping up the salt, moving it about. There were big mounds of salt behind him and bags of it stacked up ready to be taken out on lorrys. Sadly not boats.
We turned onto the Middlewich arm of the Shropshire Union Canal and met nb Alton coming out of the first lock. nb Alton is part of the Renaissance Canal Carrying Company delivering coal, logs, paraffin, diesel to those on the canal. So we stopped them and here is Alton alongside Tacet.
"Two bags of Taybrite, please".  Lifted across......
A rare sight!  (he,he)          Money exchanges hands....
All done, easy.  Thanks Brian and Ann-Marie.
A peaceful scene from today's cruise,
and another autumn scene.  We are now moored above Stanthorne lock  just a little way out of the town, in beautiful countryside. Lovely day.
9 miles,  27 locks

Thursday 29 September 2011

Mow Cop

Another beautiful day and we decided to take a walk up Mow (as in cow) Cop. This is a hill nearly 1100 feet above sea level, today the view was a bit hazy, but you look out over the Cheshire Plain, and into Wales. 

The building on the top of Mow Cop, was built originally in the 1754 by the local squire, Randle Wilbraham, who lived at Rode Hall. It was built in the style of a castle and the family used it as a summerhouse for picnics and entertaining friends.
Close to Mow Cop Castle is this large lump of gritstone left standing after gritstone was quarried here.

It is known as The Old Man O Mow, and from this angle I suppose it does look like a man.

On the way down, this old tree, making a lovely sight, mostly dead but what a great size and shape against the blue sky.
Then we walked along to Little Moreton Hall a fantastic example of a Tudor black and white timbered, moated house, once belonging to the Moreton Family and built between in the 15th century with impprovements added over the years. 
The timbers would have originally been left their natural colour, weathered to silvery grey. The black and white was a Victorian improvement.
The house was built with green oak, easier to carve and to work making the joints etc, which has meant it has moved into the irregular shapes you see now.
Inside the courtyard these wonderful windows, a later addition (1559) can be admired. Tiny panes of glass in oak frames, with lovely carving around.
Richard Dale the carpenter left his mark for all to see.
The doorway into the great hall, also beautifully carved,

Hard to believe these have been here for over 500 years.

Outside, the knot garden surrounded by yew hedges, with box hedges making the knot pattern,
being trimmed by Alan the gardener, it takes him 80 hours to cut the box hedges alone.
In the orchard a Medlar tree, ooh I'd have loved to have a go at Medlar Jelly with some of these!

Once we got back to the boat, we moved on along the Macclesfield to the junction with the Trent and Mersey, at Hardings Wood.
The Macclesfield Canal crossing the Red Bull Aqueduct, before it takes a sharp turn and onto the Trent and Mersey going down through 2 locks before passing back under the Red Bull Aqueduct. (I think that makes sense!)

Narrow locks, but in pairs, this is the second lock taken from the Red Bull aqueduct.

Here you can just make out the higher level Macclesfield and the lower level, Trent and Mersey.

and again, its hard to get the two levels of canal in the same picture.
Today's autumn picture, Horse Chestnut trees.
4 miles, 7 locks

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Bridges, Bears and Blue Sky

We are moving once again, the days have been beautiful, sunny and hot, a real bonus for the last week in September. This week also marks 6 months of our 'gap' 18 months. It's gone so quickly, and are we still enjoying it? You bet! Do we want to go back? not yet!
Yesterday we passed the two mills at Bollington, not used as flats, offices and small business units.

Clarence Mill
and Adelphi Mill

Today we worked down the Bosley flight of locks, the only locks on the Macclesfield Canal.  They are well kept and in good working order, so it took just a couple of hours to get through the 12 locks.
Can you believe the blue sky! 
The top lock, No.1, with good service building. There is a little arm the other side to pull alongside and access the services. As well as the usual water, pump-out, elsan point, there are toilets, shower, washing machine and drier.

nice curved steps to the lock

looking down, a bit hazy as we were going towards the sun.

looking back at the start of the autumn colours.
The stone bridges on the Macclesfield are distinctive, with lovely curved parapets and curved right down the the ground. But on the way into Congleton there is a change...

Bridge 74, with 75 and 76 beyond.
A higher than usual road bridge, made of stone but with tall straight sides.

No. 75 is actually 3 bridges, a higher level road bridge, the original road bridge and railway bridge.

and no.76, looking back the other way to get the winding approach, known on this canal as a snake bridge. Sometimes known as a turnover bridge,this arrangement takes the towpath from one side of the canal to the other, allowing the horse to travel across without the rope having to be untied and rehitched.
We took a walk down into Congleton itself, finding a typical Cheshire black and white building,

and street of shops.

there's a good range of independent shops in the high street, the sweet shop

and the florist being my favourite.

The impressive town hall.

One of the many bears to be found around the Congleton, also known as Beartown.
Congleton history records that cockfighting and bearbaiting were popular sports. On one occasion the town bear died suddenly just before the annual holiday when the bear baiting would take place. The town had been saving to buy a new bible, but lent 16 shillings from the fund to buy a new bear. Hence the (inaccurate) rhyme;
Congleton, rare, Congleton rare,
Sold the Bible to buy a bear.
This market town was built around the textile industry, starting with a silk mill, then ribbon weaving, and then also cotton spinning.
Been foraging again, lovely crab apples that will make tasty jelly.

20 miles, 12 locks, 2 bridges (2 days)

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Pottering in Poynton

Just along the road from the canal is the Anson Engine Museum housed on an old colliery site. There were a lot of coal pits around here. The engine museum has all kinds of engines large and small, steam, gas, diesel. I don't pretend to know much about them, here are the photos Ian took.

I do know this one was taken for the tilley lamp FL6 at the back!

Whilst we were waiting for 'the engine man' to do things to the injector thingummys we went for a walk in the lovely sunshine, there are lots of field paths, an old railway line, the Middlewood Way as well as the towpath to enjoy.
Looking towards Manchester

The Cheshire Plain
Dry stone wall repairs

The long wall, part of the Lyme Park estate, it is quite tall, to keep the deer in.
Great little shepherds hut.
We got a new chimney here at the Trading Post, Lord Vernon's Wharf, to replace the one lost in the canal some time ago.
The 'new to us' button fender in place.
The old squished one it has replaced.