Water Forces Move

Hovis Mil - MacclesfieldWater forced us from our lovely Higher Poynton mooring in the end. The tank couldn’t canalside shop Higher Poyntonhave had much left although other than a few initial caremoored at Higher Poyntonfree 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 oveBollington Mill - Macclesfield canalr 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.Macclesfield canal

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 foodsnake bridge Macclesfield canal we had left onboard.

Finally onto the waterpoint, Macclesfield canalwater 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.


Boat Land

Macclesfield CanalSleeping 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 spannMarple flighter in the works of some Cheshire ring plans, having broken news of the Ashton stoppage to a few boaters.

Under the bridge and onto thMarple flighte 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.



Huddersfield NarrowIt 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 woomoored in Uppermilll 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 doservices Huddersfield Narrowg food we headed  out again to stock the fridge. Still unsure where tomorrow will end up asSaddleworth moors over Dovestone reservoir 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 DovestoDovestone reservoir Saddleworthne reservoir.


Calder and HebbleAfter a night in the middle of nowhere we woke to more sunshine.Calder and Hebble

Two unusually ungrabby locks led to a mixture of cuttings and wide open water. Shepley Bridge was cluttered with boats of all shapes and sizes, pulling in for an oddly angled water fill we added to the mish mash. Just two bridges on, lay paradise – Lidl with customer moorings – a cucumber for 22p, how much did you pay for yours in this week’s Ocado delivery SFwater fill at Shepley BridgeR?!

Six miles abowsnd six locks took a while, not the moving part especially, more the lock operating – a working ground paddle is cause for celebration just lCalder and Hebbleately. Mooring right before the scoot round to the Huddersfield Broad Canal, we got talking to the guy in frospike nt who shunned the troublesome ground paddles and paid the price, the gates sent a wave of water straight through his boat and by the time we rolled up the insides of his boat were spewed up and over the roof, baking in the sun.



Sunny River

North YorkshireAire and CalderTurning out from the Selby Canal onto the Aire and Calder it was lovely to be free of weedy water. The wind was gusting and motoring upstream the whole big water experience felt quite exhilarating, with sunshine thrown in too we finally moored and lit the barbecue feeling as though we’d been whipped through an outward bound water world. As the sun went down we realised the factory opposite was probably going to run all night and also spotted quite a few air riffle shots on the Canal and River Trust sign, but after forcing our eyes to stay open for the penalty shoot outs we fell asleep and didn’t hear a thing.

Shorts again today – read it and weep you soft southernerCastlefords! Another long river run before returning through the flood gates at Castleford and crossing over to new waters. Passing a lock now only used by permanent moorers at The White Rose Boat Club we quickly tied at the lock landing to make lunch, Nick disappeared and after a while I began peering around the base of the boat on the off-chance he’d taken a tumble and was bobbing about down there while I was eating crisps. No nasty slips, Nick reappeared from the boat club with a Calder and Hebble spike, the very kind people haCalder and Hebble spiked got their chain saw out, sliced a chunk of wood to shape and refused to take a penny for their trouble. Will try not to loose this one.Aire and Calder

The Aire and Calder continues to be brilliant for water points and most locks come complete with a long stretch of beautifully maintained visitor moorings. By 3pm having just risen through another big lock under blue sky and sunshine we decided to pull over for some roof top sunbathing. Still water and sun-baked fresh bedding tonight, winter radiator drying feels a world away.


old paper mill at Withnell Fold

old paper mill at Withnell Fold

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 paper mill workers 1875

Withnell Fold paper mill workers 1875

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, BoltoLeeds and Liverpooln and Liverpool newspapers. Things eventually took a dip when the old machines struggled to Leeds and Liverpoolkeep up with the speed of modern day production. The last sheet settled at 1pm on 23rd Dec 1967.dumb canoeist

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 buLeeds and Liverpoolt 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.

Green And Twisted

Shropshire UnionThe previous times we travelled the Shropshire Union we kept finding ourselvesShropshire Union 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 unrecognisableShropshire Union crossing Watling Street way below the undergrowth.

A water and lunch stop below the only lock of the day, when Murk wandered up, puked on my Birkenstocks – before wandering off agShropshire Unionain, job done.

Finally had our leafyShropshire Union 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.