Sunday, 14 September 2014

Back Home. Our UK home.

Friday 5 September. 4 3/4 miles, 1 lock.

Beautiful day on a lovely canal. Set off from Kidsgrove in a warm overcast with a light haze day through country side with many beautiful bridges. Reminded us of the Shropshire canal. Pulled into Congleton for lunch then off into town to sort out (try anyway) Diana's phone. I think we are about to give up on T-mobile and ee  networks. Went to Marian and Alan's for tea and then they took us to the birthplace of Reginald Mitchel, then the cloud, the highest point in the area. Couldn't see much because of the haze. They then showed us the flight of 12 locks we need to climb to complete our journey. Apple and blackberry crumble for pudding then back to the boat.

The Aqueduct at Congleton

Saturday 6 September. Nil

We were picked up and taken to Quarry Bank, a National trust Textile Mill. The interesting bit was a tour of the Apprentice House where 60 girls and 20 boys lived while working in the mill for 13 hours a day 6 days a week for board and keep. No wages. Back on the boat by 1700.

Inside the Quarry Bank Mill
The Apprentice House
Went home via Jodrell Bank
Sunday 7 September. Nil

Diana went to Marian's to do some sewing while I fiddled with Molly Rose. In the evening we took Alan & Marian and enjoyed a Sunday Roast at their local pub.

Monday 8 September. 7 miles, 12 locks, 1 swing bridge.

Left Congleton before lunch heading towards Macclesfield. Had lunch at the bottom of the Bosley locks then up the last 12 of this trip. Flat water from here. Planned to stop at a pub for tea but after mooring up found it closed and for sale.

Entering the last lock
The last lock is closed behind us.

Tuesday 9 September, 3 mies 1 swing bridge.

Through countryside until reaching the Macclesfield moorings. A bit disappointing. They were rough, couldn't get into the bank and then there were signs everywhere restricting us to 24 hours and not allowed to run the engine. Bit tough when short of power.All in all not welcoming. Into town and got no joy out of T-mobile even though the shop assistant was doing her best. Changed providers to "3" so Diana now has a new number.

Wednesday 10 September,4 miles.

Went into Macclesfield and visited the Silk museum and had a tour around the Paradise mill. The guide explained all the machinery and turned them on as we went. Lunch in a delli. Diana to the opp shops and I went back to the boat via the hardware shop. Motored on over a high embankment overlooking Bollington and stopped in a country setting further on.

Thursday 11 september, 3 1/2 miles.

Walked back into Bollington and checked out the lower part. Had lunch in a cafe and then checked out the upper part of town which was the nicer of the two. Motored north thinking we may walk into Lyme Park another National trust estate but the house is closed on thursdays. traveled on a bit further then moored up opposite a line of residential moorings.

The Aqueduct at Bollington

Friday 12 September. 8 miles, 2 lift & 2 swing bridges.

Stopped at Marple to do some shopping. We were last here on 14th May at the start of this years adventure. Reaching Marple also completes the Cheshire Ring, which we first got onto on 11th June 2010. Now down the Peak forest canal and back to Furness Vale to moor up in preparation to going home. Tonight the Furness Vale Boat Club were having a meeting so we went along to meet the locals. Some worthwhile contacts here.

Saturday 13 September. Nil.

Worked on tidying and cleaning the boat until about 1600 then off to a BBQ with the boat club.

Sunday 14 September. Nil

Bit of maintenance on the boat. Being sunday we went to the local pub for Sunday Roast in the evening.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

On the Macclesfield

Monday 1 September. 2 ½ miles

Back up to Tunstall (10 min) to try and other supermarket for the bits we didn't get yesterday. Lunch on the boat then headed south and turned up the Caldon canal, filled with water, turned around then walked to Emma Bridgewater pottery, From there we went to the centre of Hanley. Had to have diner in the Reginald Mitchell pub. If you have an interest in aviation history you will know who he was, if not it doesn't matter.

Tuesday 2 September. Nil

Into Hanley to the Potteries museum. Spent a good 3 hours looking at the history, process and a large collection of pottery artefacts. Probably the best collection we have seen. There was a Reginald Mitchell gallery with a spitfire under restoration. A quick look through a large shopping centre then back to the boat.

Outside the Museum
Inside the Museum
Model of a Bottle kiln

Wednesday 3 September. 2 ½ miles.

Set off north heading for home. Stopped for water, visited the Royal Dalton and Wedgwood factory shop, a revisit to Burleigh shop, bought some diesel and moored up for the night.

Thursday 4 September. 3 miles, 1 tunnel.

A short run to the south portal of the Harecastle tunnel where we left the boat and walked to Churchill pottery factory shop, last one! Didn't stay long before walking back to the boat and then through the tunnel. The other times I have been through I was the lead boat, this time I was number 2 in behind a very slow boat so it was idle most of the way and even into neutral several times so I didn't run into him. We were in the tunnel for an hour. Normal time is 35 to 45 min. In the past I did it in 30. we are now on the Macclesfield canal, new territory for us.

Boats leaving the south end of th Harecastle

Monday, 1 September 2014

Back in the potteries

Tuesday 26th August. 4 miles, 14 locks.

No sun yet, no rain either but they day looks bleak Did my first oil change. No problem but took twice as long to clean up than do the change. I should get better next year or organise the changes when the temporary crew are mechanics. A good day of locks with plenty of boats coming the other way. Of the 14 locks only 2 needed emptying and at most there was someone else to open the gates. The OAP's we meet on Saturday came looking for us today and joined as for afternoon tea.

Wednesday 27th August. Nil

A day out with Alan and Marian, the OAP's.

We were picked up at 1030 and delivered home at 2130. first up to a National Trust property, Little Moreton Hall. A Moated Elizabethan house built to impress, to show wealth and gain status. It has been in the Moreton family until given to NT in 1938. The family left the property a century or two ago and the tenants were not allowed to make alterations so the NT inherited an almost original house. They have done a great job with it. Next was Mow Cop via the Astbury church which features on all Cheshire calendars. Mow Cop a ruined castle was built in 1754 on the top of a hill and can be seen for miles around. It looks like the ruins of a castle but was built that way. From this hill we could see almost all of the places we had travelled so far. Next stop was Biddulph Grange Garden, NT. With a quick stop on the way to visit James Brindley's grave. He was known as the father of the canal system.
Biddulph Grange was the Victorian Mansion of James Bateman, who had collected plants from all around the world and laid out the garden in countries. There was the Himalayan Glen, Chinese, Italian and Egyptian gardens along with the Victorian garden. The Mansion had been developed into 5 star apartments and the developer had given the gardens to the NT to return to their original form. Win/Win, apartment owners have a beautiful garden looked after by NT and the people have a delightful garden to enjoy. The real highlight of the this visit was that the manor had been used as a hospital and Marian had trained there and was courted by Alan at that time. Many stories to tell. We finished the day with takeaways at their place and then went and watched Alan play a match of Crown Bowls. Similar but different to lawn bowls.

Thursday 28 August. 3 miles, 13 locks

Finished of the last of the Heartbreak hill locks arriving at the Harecastle tunnel to late to transit so moored at the entrance for the night. At one of the last locks alongside a pub we meet a man with a Barn Owl and got to hold and stroke her.

Friday 29th August. 2 Miles, one of which was underground.

First through the tunnel and moored up by 0930. Set off for the potteries and saw that “Areandare” was a couple of boat lengths in front of us. We have communicated with Barry & Sandra from time to time since meeting Sandra on a tow path a few day over 4 years ago in 2010. We have now meet Barry, who comes from Gisborne. Sandra was away with her sister. First pottery to visit was William Edwards, a boutique pottery we visited last time and thought his work and concept were delightful. The shop was closed but on enquiry a staff member came and opened it up. While talking with her she offered to show us around. Her expertise was to mix the glasses required to match the artists colours. She took us through the whole process from the designs being perfected on the computer, making the screens and printing the transfers. Then a quick look in the factory to see the transfers being hand placed onto the clay objects. Next door is Burleigh Pottery. Last time we were here it was “potters holiday” where all the factories are closed so no tours. This time we found that they now have 2 holidays a year and you guessed it this was the week. The site of the Burleigh pottery is now owned by the Princes trust (Charles) and a few million has been spent on a visitor centre. The factory has been leased out to a commercial operator. After our hard luck story on timing a private tour was arranged and we spent a good 2 hours going through every nook and cranny. Phil the guide, who's Grandfather was there during the war, was so enthusiastic and knowledgeable I'm sure we had the best tour going.

Saturday 30 August. Nil

A day off. Didn't leave the boat all day. Did bits and pieces and a bit of cleaning.

Sunday 31 August. Nil

Wet morning. In the afternoon we walked to Tunstall and found a pub for “Sunday Roast” Best slice of Beef I have tasted this trip. A bit of supermarket shopping then back to the boat where we socialised for a while with the couple from the next boat.