Macclesfield to Kent Green
14th April 2010
17 miles - 12 locks - 7 hours
A strangely interrupted night, with a torch illuminating the boat at 5.00am, closely followed by some brawling ducks which seemed intent on throwing themselves at the side of the boat just for the sheer hell of it.
Macclesfiled is OK, but I can't raise a lot of enthusiasm for the visitor moorings. We got the best of the bunch but even that was on a convex bend which made fendering difficult. We moored directly opposite the old Hovis Mill, which was rather more impressive by night than by day.
The canal continued to be both narrow and shallow but unusually, dredging was in full swing by BW's contractors at Bosley, and again in Congleton itself. Canal Boat is this month running an article on dredging which I found strangely absorbing, and was paricularly struck by the fact that each cubic metre of silt cost £50 to shift. Where there is muck there is money.
The 12 locks at Bosley were well behaved and fast, most being set for us. Aqueducts were also there a plenty, causing us to stop regularly and fill out boots with photos of rivers in the air large and small. Adam (nb Debdale) said I would have a field day in this area.
For all its shortcomings in terms of width and depth, the Macclesfield grew on me. It's high (518ft) summit pound offering great views to the north, flanked by an impressive line of hills to the south. One of these days I will take a slow trip along this canal with Belle and spend several days exploring on foot.
Due to it's late construction the canal shares many characteristics with the Shopshire Union, deep cuttings followed by soaring embankments using the cut and fill technique later used on the railways. I particularly like the 2 mile reach leading into Congleton, which is perfectly straight and each bridge frames the next, on and on into the distance like looking down the wrong end of a telescope.
We took a long pause at the Dane Aqueduct, scrambling down the the waters edge and observing the fine single arch which crosses the fast flowing river. As is often the case, trees obscure the view but we still got some good shots as a reward for our efforts.
Mooring at Ramsdell Hall
With an early passage through Harecastle planned for tomorrow we moored opposite Ramsdell Hall on the short stretch of armco piling. This is a particularly fine mooring, virtually in the hall's gardens and much better than the official ones provided by bridge 86. A quiet night of swooping owls, distant dogs and the occasional rumble of a Pendelino sighing past the back of the hall.