Monday, 2 June 2014

A Flight of Twelve Locks in the Depth of the Countryside.

Monday 2nd June, 2014 at Fourlane-Ends.
M drew back the curtains and, to her consternation, the sun appeared to be rising in the west.  Had the world turned upside down overnight?  However, she soon realised that it was just due to the looping twists of the Macclesfield canal - so all was well!
After breakfast, we girded our loins for the Bosley twelve lock flight immediately ahead. Between the first and second lock you can see the disused railway bridge in the background; we had walked over it last night. It once part of the Churnet railway line, which runs alongside the Caldon Canal, and must have been a most scenic railway journey.  Yet another casualty of the Beeching axe......
Sitting in the third lock, R had the opportunity to re-set the bow fender, which had been pushed to one side. He sat on the lock gate and managed not to fall in - nor to drop any of his tools into the lock!
It is a very pretty and very rural flight and for the first eight locks, all of which were against us, we were completely on our own in the middle of quiet countryside with not another soul to be seen or heard. M, as ever, was auditing the plantlife, including one of her favourites - a trefoil, commonly known as "Eggs and Bacon" because of its orange and yellow colouring.
The paddles were all very stiff, but M (aka "Hercules") did a great job.  However, she was very relieved when, at the ninth lock, someone came the other way (hooray!) and there were C&RT volunteers who set each of the last four locks in our favour (double hooray!). M asked them to look out for the Canadians, who would no doubt be coming up the lock flight later in the day.
Lunch was on Gurnett Aqueduct, a lovely spot in the sunshine.
We had read in the guide books about a cottage in the village just below the aqueduct where James Brindley had served his seven-year apprenticeship (1733-1740) before going on to become one of the most famous canal engineers ever.

At Macclesfield, we passed by the Hovis Mill, a most impressive building. Bread is no longer made there, but Hovis still uses it as a print works for all its packaging.
Further on, we saw a very rare sight on the canals - not a good place to go swimming.  Very odd, some of the "ornaments" one sees in canalside gardens!

We passed through Bollington, renowned for its magnificent former textile mills. Both cotton and silk were spun and woven in this area. The huge Bollington Silk Mill is now occupied by offices and small business units.
Later in the afternoon it started to rain heavily and we moored near Grimshaws Bridge, having done 12 miles and 12 locks today.
Today: 12 miles, 12 locks and 7.3 hours.
Trip: 38 miles, 28 locks and 21.2 hours.

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