Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Onwards, down and meeting friends.

Do you loose track of the days of the week?  We do often and sitting down to write this I really had to back track to establish just what day it was.  Must be my age!

Anyway. Monday saw us leaving the mooring in Congleton for our final day on the Macc. It really is a lovely canal, if a little shallow and overgrown in places.  We wended our way down through some beautiful countryside in warm sunshine.  The last lock soon appeared and just before it a water point. We filled here as the services at Red Bull on the T&M can be busy.  This lock is not very deep and we were soon through and beginning what seems like a descent onto the T&M.  this is an optical illusion, or the mind playing tricks as we know water finds it's level!  Still seems to be descending though.

Lots of weed where the cows had been on the edge of the canal eating it and breaking it up

Someones passion - a beautiful garden that can't be seen from the house,
so it only benefits everyone passing on the canal or towpath.

Poole Aqueduct from above looking down onto the Trent & Mersey Canal

and from below looking up to the Macclesfield Canal

Sharp left turn and we were at lock 41 of the T&M, down this and under the Poole aqueduct.  This is the start of "Heartbreak hill".  The majority of the locks are duplicated in order to speed the passage. However, at certain points only one chamber remains and this can cause a bottleneck.  Lock 43 Next to the Red Bull P.H. is one such and as the services are directly below it in a relatively short pound, it can be congested.  And so it was....

Three boats waiting to descend and similar numbers waiting to ascend.  Just to add to the confusion, a chap on the services was doing a pump out, (which wasn't working correctly)  Nice!  We managed to divest ourselves of the contents of the bin and cassette.  There was a mooring space in this pound, but Ali decided to walk to the next pound, to see if there were any further moorings, which there was and low and behold, coming out of the lock was N.B. Leo. So they moored up and we dropped down the lock and moored nose to nose with them and had the ample moorings all to ourselves.

Great to see Ian and Helen once again.  Almost a year now since we shared the journey into Bristol with them.  After a catch up, that evening we decamped to the Red Bull and had a very pleasant evening. Feel like we have known them for years. The meal was good as well.  We walked back to the boat and had a final drink aboard Trisky, before saying our goodnights. They are heading for the Macc and then toward the HNC, the brave souls.

Miles 5
Locks 5

Today saw us ready to roll by 0830. A quick goodbye to Helen & Ian and we were off on the great descent.

It was a fine morning but with the promise of rain in the afternoon.  There was a steady flow of boats heading south, but nothing in sight ahead or behind us.  I think the whole day we never had to fill a lock in order to descend, and there was no waiting at locks. It is however, far easier to descend these locks, than to ascend them!

This certainly saw us making rapid progress. As the morning progressed the clouds rolled in, but with nothing more than a few spots to mar the day.  By 1300, we decided to call it a day and found our favoured mooring was free between Maltkilns Bank and Wheelock.  So two locks to do first thing  tomorrow and then onwards to Middlewich.

Two buzzards

Cheshire Plain

Mow Cop fading into the distance

As we passed through Rode Heath 
a narrow boat was  about to be launched

The busy M6

Now 1530 and still no sign of the threatened rain...... and no blackberries either, this was a great spot for them previously, but all the undergrowth has been hacked back along the public footpath taking with it all the lovely blackberries!

Our mooring tonight

Miles 5
Locks 20

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