Monday, 9 September 2013

Big Trip - Day 14

We were up and about early today, because we had something of an appointment.  We left Bugsworth with the sun shining, and mist rising from the water.  At the junction, we turned left for Whaley Bridge, which is aboout half a mile away, and then moored on the water point in the basin at the end of the canal.  Adrian started a wash load and topped up the water tank, while I walked into the town.

The remote control panel for our inverter stopped working the other day, and Peter Mason at Braidbar had spoken to his suppliers, Kuranda, at Whaley Bridge.  They had a suitable panel (they aren't made any more), and I was on the doorstep when they opened at 8.30.  It has different coloured LEDs, and some of the labels are different, but it works and that's the main thing.

Setting off again we headed back towards Marple.  At the junction with the Bugsworth arm, the huge bow of the old working boat Gainsborough was coming through the bridge.  Actually, it was best place we could have met them, as the canal seemed even shallower today than yesterday.  We passed the Swizzels-Matelow factory, but the smell of sweets didn't seem that strong today.

At one bridge, a coal boat was mooring up at a house.  I edged my way past, just as a hire boat approached from the other side.  They had to reverse, as there was nowhere for them to go.

At Marple junction, we stopped on the lock landing, and a local chap gave us the benefit of his knowledge -- saying that no-one had been down the locks recently, they'd all be empty, and some of the pounds lower down the flight would be very low.  Most of it turned out to be wrong.  The top lock needed filling, but the next two were full, which at least meant we were sending a bit of water down the flight.

The top few locks are in the town itself, some with a road and houses alongside.

Further down, Oldknow's Warehouse is now offices, and people were at their desks right by the windows.

We worked out a system, where the helmsman would open the offside bottom paddle once the boat was in the lock, while the lock worker would go down a start filling the lock below.  It meant we made pretty good progress, even though most locks were against up.  It was very sunny and warm, so we both changed into shorts.  That meant it very soon started to rain.  The condition of some of the flight is shocking.  One gate had water coming not just around it but through it, and there's been a big collapse of a wall lower down the flight.

We each worked some locks and steered some.  They're deep locks -- the sixteen lower the canal 208 feet, so they're an average of 13ft deep.  At lock 4, we crossed with a boat coming up.  The couple on board both work for Wharf House Narrowboats in Braunston.  By now the rain was torrential.

Once the sixteen locks were out the way, you might think the excitement was over.  But literally just around the corner is the Marple Aqueduct, high over the River Goyt, and with a railway viaduct alongside.

Then comes the former tunnel at Rose Hill, which is now a long narrow section.

Hyde Bank tunnel follows shortly afterwards.

A couple of miles later is Woodley Tunnel.  The sign at the end says it's wide enough for two way traffic, but it isn't.  In fact, it's so tight it seems barely wide enough for one boat.

All afternoon there's been a mixture of warm sunny spells and heavy showers.  At one point, I could see by the surface of the water that it was raining hard up ahead.  I had time to put the camera away, put my hood up, and pull the slide over before the downpour hit.

We've made our way to just short of the end of the Peak Forest Canal, and have moored alongside what could be described either as a little park, or a bit of scrub land, just through the lift bridge.

We've lit the fire, and dinner is cooking.  More locks tomorrow.

15 miles, 16 locks.  (165 miles, 89 locks)

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