Water forced us from our lovely Higher Poynton mooring in the end. The tank couldn’t have had much left although other than a few initial carefree gallons we were careful with our consumption – to the point that we might have pulled away with a quarter of tank but with no gauge it’s impossible to know. An in-line gauge could be on the wish list.
The weather has been ridiculously hot and we’ve trundled over the hills into Lyme Park just about every which way there is. With boats continually passing by and afternoon trips to the tuck shop for sweets straight from the 1970’s we’d have happily stayed another day, such a lovely place to be.
With no locks ahead we set off into plenty of traffic, every bridge is a winner, reversing guaranteed. On past Bollington Mill it didn’t seem long before tying up in Macclesfield and heading off in search of a supermarket. Not the closest supermarket, it’s not canalside at all, it was a rucksack mission with quite a heavy load due to the little food we had left onboard.
Finally onto the waterpoint, water rushing into the tank sounded great. The remainder of the afternoon turned into a bit of a battle to find a tv signal given there was so much good sport on. We’d moored five times in total when Suzi Perry finally stopped talking like a robot or disappearing altogether.
Sleeping with the port-hole out means daylight in the bedroom, which means being woken as the sun comes up. So we were up pretty early, it was boiling hot and Nick was feeling the queasy consequences of his Stalyvegas dip.
Three miles soon passed before arriving at the bottom of the Marple flight. I’d remembered the paddles as arm jammers but we must have toughened during our stint up north as they came in just on the stiff side of okay. A few boats coming down bought some much needed water. By the top of the flight we’d thrown a spanner in the works of some Cheshire ring plans, having broken news of the Ashton stoppage to a few boaters.
Under the bridge and onto the Macclesfield, boats suddenly appeared all over the place, bridges needed to be treated as two-way streets again, it seems a long time since that has happened. Higher Poynton was practically chock so it was lucky to turn into one of the very last moorings. Breezy as usual up here, with the doors wide open the boat has been like a fan assisted oven – payback time for condensation months. Happy days.
It was nice to wake up to the roof cracking in the heat. The drop down to Uppermill is packed with views, a few boats moving up for their tunnel bookings meant a couple of locks in our favour but left long they soon leak empty. The waterpoint is tucked next to an old wool warehouse, now home to Huddersfield Canal Society, tank filled we finished the last few locks into Uppermill. Moorings are hopeless in terms of the solar panel but boats bobbing about in dappled sunshine make for a pretty place to stay. The town centre is no distance away and after carting back a sack of dog food we headed out again to stock the fridge. Still unsure where tomorrow will end up as there’s been no update on the Ashton stoppage yet.
All walked out from the last few days but the moors are impossible to ignore when they won’t be outside the window for much longer. It was another steep climb to Pots and Pans, then a beautiful evening walk in the sunshine above Dovestone reservoir.
It’s pretty up North. The Leeds and Liverpool winds round long forgotten chimneys and worn out mills, skimming fields of cows and rows of cut hay.
Withnell Fold’s paper mill opened in 1843, expanding quickly it soon had three machines producing various widths of tissue, writing and cartridge paper. Worker’s cottages were built and the area prospered thanks to a reputation for producing the finest writing paper and supplying newsprint for Preston, Bolton and Liverpool newspapers. Things eventually took a dip when the old machines struggled to keep up with the speed of modern day production. The last sheet settled at 1pm on 23rd Dec 1967.
Aside from the beautiful scenery, everyone talks… they’re not shy in telling you they ‘Don’t like Brighton’ or that you’re a ‘Soft Southerner’, they mean it too but in a nice enough way. The roses are still warring, one a guy reluctantly agreed that ‘Skipton should be a good stop off…just shame it’s in Yorkshire but there’s nowt much we can do about that.’
A flight of seven today, following a widebeam we took our time and met a lovely couple from The Lakes, they chipped in with a bit of windlass work before climbing on for a ride up through a lock.
One thing that everyone seems to agree on is that we don’t want to stop in Blackburn…in fact it’s the first thing most people say. Can’t be that bad surely? Moored two miles out we’ll find out soon enough.
Daylight lasts longer up North…it really does.
The previous times we travelled the Shropshire Union we kept finding ourselves involved in conversations with people who enthused, ‘Oh lovely tropical paradise,’ or ‘Fantastic, Shroppie Tropics.’ We’d smiled back, secretly wondering what planet they were on…things look quite different in January, which made for a very pleasant surprise today. Foliage twisting and turning itself inside out, round and round creating a tropical snow globe. Time drifted under dappled sunlight, winter mooring spots were unrecognisable way below the undergrowth.
Finally had our leafy fill for the day, so pulled over in time for the last IPL, cake making, boat washing and a unusually successful BBQ. The solar stars have just come to life, latest recorded time so far. Evenings are beginning to stretch into night.