Day 16

Up and raring to go when at about 07.45 a CRT guy came round to give the safety briefing and check my light and horn. Off into the Harecastle Tunnel shortly after 08.00. Steering in tunnels is strange, I keep thinking I’ve got it straight down the middle and all under control when suddenly we’re veering to the side. About halfway through I really lost it and scraped the side of my new roof, very noisy but not much damage. After the tunnel it’s a mile or so to the Hardings Wood Junction with the Macclesfield Canal. Slightly odd this one, like a motorway junction, you turn left then run parallel to the T&M for a mile. The T&M goes down two locks then the Macc takes a sharp left to cross the T&M on an aqueduct.

Near Congleton looking north

Another mile or two to Hall Lane lock which is one of those ‘stop locks’ with a rise of about a foot. Then about three hours straightforward cruising through increasingly interesting scenery to Bosley Locks. Just before Congleton you start getting views of actual hills to the right and distant vistas across Cheshire to the left. Last night at Harecastle there had been an advisory note about restricted lock hours at Bosley and Marple. I think this is a water saving measure, the Toddbrook Reservoir whose spillway broke up dramatically in August 2019 feeds into the end of the Peak Forest Canal and that runs into the summit level of the Macc. With Toddbrook drained for repairs water is in short supply up here, 500′ above sea level. Bosely is open 08.00 to 13.00, I made it by 12.00.

There are 12 locks in the Bosely flight, once again I met several boats travelling in the opposite direction who were happy to leave the bottom gates open for me, and some happy for me to leave the top open for them to come in. Never both at the same lock though. There was a CRT volunteer at lock 1 (top) who operated the lock for me then locked up as I left at about 14.00.

After all the excitement I had a brief rest and brew then on to Macclesfield itself. I worked here for a week in 1971 but don’t really know the town. Still don’t, the centre is a way from the canal and I’m too tired to walk. I made it to a small Co-Op and chippy and that’ll do. Nice to hear Manc accents again though.

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