Wednesday 31 May 2023

A damned near disaster

 We went into Whaley Bridge, that in itself was a bit of a mission with David dismissing the googlemaps instruction to turn left out of the basin, he turned right in the car, "I've been this way before I know where I'm going"  two minutes later the lane was closed, it was such a narrow lane that it proved difficult to turn around so we drove to the town via Eccles Pike, Portobello and Horwich End a most interesting drive.  
Suddenly there was a Road called Goyt Road (there's a lot of Goyts up here)  We took the road and parked.  It lead to a pretty park and then to the reservoir, Toddbrook Reservoir.
Heard of that one?

On August 1st 2019 the reservoir began to fail.

We walked around the area being directed by locals who advised us the best place to get the full picture, that turned out to be on Reservoir Road.

The chatted to a lady who has vivid memories of that day.  The previous day water had been pouring over the top of the dam, it had attracted many people to walk along the walkway on the very top.  This had resulted after many days rain in the wider area.  

Someone spotted a crack and alerted the Police but it took quite a few hours for the word to go out to take your medicines and pets and GET OUT OF TOWN.  This lady took her dog and hand bag.   She was gone to her sister's in New Mills for about a week.  Some people refused to leave their homes, interesting decision as it became apparent later that the expert engineers were convinced it would go.  
Body bags were delivered to a nearby hall, the owner of the hall is still traumatised by the events.

Much later we were back in the centre of town, the Primary School is situated almost immediately under the reservoir wall.  The thought of this happening in term time quite literally made both our blood run cold in our veins.

So that was all almost four years ago and its not going to be mended for at least another two years.
Evidently there were warnings given prior as to the state of Toddbrook and the high risk of failure of the dam....  Bet someone wished they'd listened.

Now Reader you are going to have to excuse the lack of quality of these photos below.  Its happened because I used David's iPhone to take them then I tried to send them to my phone and laptop but whichever way I tried Blogger refused to use them, copyright? He said I could.  
Not at all annoying, but I am now too tired and too stupid to overcome issues like this so these finally are photos from my phone of his phone.

If you can see the top right hand corner, that is where the wall began to fail.

This is the inside of the reservoir with all those pipes pumping out water keeping the levels low.

The water usually comes up to just below where I took this photo from. 

The top of the reservoir, usually all water.  When they refill it I hope after the water birds have nested and their young fledged (Apart from Canadian geese that is.

No water to be seen.

Clearer one of the wall 

So this summer the Bosley and Marple Locks are on restricted opening hours.  That is to say the two flights are opened form 8:30am to 1pm.  No boats entering the top or bottom locks after 1pm (I'd advise Boaters not to arrive at 12:55 either)  They are manned by volunteers who are charming and helpful, so lets all be so back to them.  The main reason for this is the Toddbrook is being kept at very low capacity while its being mended, water for the locks is partially being pumped from the River Goyt, but there's not enough of it so Reader don't waste valuable water hereabouts.  

I'll finish this posting by linking a film by the crew of NB Silver Fox who made this film and very good it is too.

Sunday 28 May 2023

To Bugsworth and Beyond

I've been remiss, I'm sorry but back now.

All good things must come to an end and so did our time on one of the best spots on this canal.  We toddled off one bright but chilly morning.  We'd had a brilliant time on this spot, many walkers use this section, most of them friendly, engaging, ready and willing to pass on information of things to see.

I found a house for sale with glorious views, walking distance to a train station but David is reluctant to relocate, something to do with being cold and wet in winter...

I'm used to small places but this is tiny, it had a Range Rover parked outside it much of the time.

Nice-ish house but surrounded by far too many trees for me.

Poxy Canadian Geese hatching everywhere now, prolific breeders and good parenting is a big problem.

As we approached this chappie had his head down, he was right alongside the canal and I couldn't make out what it was.  Too slow with the camera but he was super cute.

Now don't ask me what this structure is but it was alongside a fishing shack.  Someone had a sense of humour.

Now this did amuse me.  Here at New Mills is the somewhat famous or well known sweet factory, evidently making Love Hearts we all ate as children.  There is a pervasive sweet smell in the air that I can only feel the locals are used to but after five minutes I'd had enough of it.  Right opposite the factory, that we were told runs at night too, plus weekends, they are building houses right along the canal.  The noise from the factory was pretty loud and the view for the houses is all factory.  
I wonder if these will sell fast. 

New builds on the left, non stop noise on the left from unattractive factory on the right.

We arrived at Bugsworth Basin, a few boats here, but only a few.

An interesting occurrence when we arrived.  We wanted water and moored at the water point.  parked up alongside the tap was a Volvo estate car, on the back of the estate was a trailer with a 1,000 litre water tank.  
His hose was filling the tank.  
As we stood there not seeing the driver immediately pondering what to do,  Reader I was on the verge of detaching the hose, filling us up and reattaching the hose when the unseen driver got out with a yappy snappy dog and made to walk off.  
I asked if we could fill while he was away from his car.  Lets just say his response was negative....
He told me that he was a boater of twenty years and was filling his tank...  I tried to say that the rules were 30 minutes filling and move on if other boats were waiting.  He repeated his twenty years as a boater (We are now Boaters of eleven years as if that is relevant) 
By now I would describe him as aggressive and rude, he said he'd be another 20 minutes, it takes him 90 minutes to fill it.  His boat he says is 5 hours round trip away from this water point so he fills it here. 

Well he walked off with his wee scabby dog (In the words of Billy Connolly) but not before telling David that I should calm down and be quiet.  
I didn't detach the hose, but I felt pretty angry about it.  He drove off 35 minutes later.

So fellow Boaters what do you say?  

After that we went walking.  Through the basin, over the footbridge spanning the main road, through the other half of Buxworth village and up up up.

Fabulous moss covered natural rock and man made wall on our way up.

If you look carefully in the photo below you might just make out a smidge of red that is WaL in Bugsworth Basin, the main road A6 cut though the village with the houses on the left being the other half. 

The views from up this relatively low hill or Peak called Eccles Pike but gave tremendous all around views.

Bugsworth Basin from Eccles Pike

On the hike up to Eccles Pike, a Derbyshire stile over the wall, I'm more used to a wooden stile over a barbed wire fence.  These stone walls never loose their attraction to me.  If I owned one I'd be out rebuilding it every day.  Or perhaps I'd get David Lewis onto it.

This was on the way down, we stood and watched a few overs being bowled, it was Buxworth v Chapel-en-le-Firth.  Another joy to us, village cricket.


Combe Reservoir from Eccles Pike

It might not look it but it was a gorgeous day, warm at the top and boiling back down in the basin.

We called into The Navigation Pub in the basin.  A warm and welcoming establishment, slightly tired furnishings and décor that I hope is going to survive and not be taken over by chain.  We were included in the group chat in the bar by locals.  I love that, almost a thing of the past.

Supper was Sainsbury's fish cakes, sweet potato wedges and salad and dessert was a Magnum each, purchased from The Navigation.

Thursday 18 May 2023

Sun shopping and salmon

The next day was rainy.  Again.  
It stopped briefly and then rained again.  

Thanks to those lovely dog walking folk who were so helpful we had made a late lunch reservation at a highly recommended gastro pub literally over the hill, ten minute walk away from footbridge 20.  The Crown at Hawk Green. 

It rained steadily while we were in there and as the locals left, hardly anyone even put a rain coat on.  So hardy.   
Fabulous it was and afterwards we took the scenic walk back to the canal via a natural bluebell wood.

Almost at canal level again, a wee stream.  All quite romantic.

The wonderful thing about this canal is that there are viewpoints all around.  You don't have to walk up a mountain or get in a car.  So hard to capture a view on film but here is my best efforts.  Of course May is my favourite month of the entire year with the bright green leaves just shooting out.

Let's just call it the Peak District, possibly towards Mellor again....?

The attractive church yard has footpaths going in all directions.  Another chappie who stopped on the towpath to chew the fat told us of this grave to the nurse of King Edward VII, now he was a boy, bit naughty, married to the beautiful Queen Alexandria, but had a long long affair with Mrs Kepple.  Now we all know who Mrs Kepple is related to don't we....?
Answers on a postcard.

"Annie" was reputed to be the only person who the king would listen to.

I was given the choice of the holiday activities the next day.  I chanced my luck a bit but David said yes.  
We went to Manchester on the train.  At Marple station, a station often used by a certain Mrs Agatha Christie to stay with her married sister who lived near-ish by.  A family friend was called Jane and there is how the name, Miss Jane Marple came from although the character was based on her maternal grandmother I think that TV documentary told us.  
There were hoardings on the platforms with photos and information all about Ms Christie.  All very interesting.

I had to pace myself for the day ahead so we got a taxi straight to 
The Whitworth Art Gallery.  First stop coffee.

So below here we are, not in a park or gardens but in the cafe, almost entirely of glass.  Signs on the tables saying no working between 11am and 1pm.  If I was a student Id be in her every day.

Brilliantly designed, we are on the first floor so it feels like you are surrounded by trees. 

We didn't spend too long here but walked back into town along Student Central that is Oxford Road.  Two of our daughters came to Manchester to Uni, I used to come up for weekends too so it was a little like going back down memory lane.

Next stop the Manchester Gallery to see the now permanent collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings that have moved here since I was last in the gallery from the Whitworth.  Enroute was a Lady.  Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst.  My feminist daughter has named her daughter after her.  At every election I sigh when I hear that women don't bother to vote.  Women died for us to have the vote and women still around the world would like it now.

Some section of canal we passed over... Coming in by train suited me.

Almost at the end of the visit and we spied the Lowry Room, just a handful of his works here, he has his own gallery at Salford Quays in Manchester.  David's favourite and also my mothers.  

After David's fill of all the art he could take we walked further into the centre of town.  I deposited David at Sinclair's Oyster Bar for a well earned pint in the sun while I just nipped into Selfridges for ten minutes shopping....
Sinclair's was the exact spot that I watched the 2002 Commonwealth Games with my mum and my youngest as Jonathon Edwards won the gold medal at the triple jump on a big screen.  We'd been to other sports too  It had been hot that day and this day, despite my eldest girl who studied here saying memorably that it rained every day of her four years here.

A great day (for me anyway), a real treat.  Somewhat sore feet got us back to Piccadilly and the next train in minutes back to Marple.

 Supper was salmon and salad in the cratch looking at that view...


Tuesday 16 May 2023

Heroes, Holly and cupcakes

Left over from last evenings walk, WaL almost in sunshine after an afternoons rain.  We walked towards WaL's right. 

This is WaL when we set off last night.

This is the nearby bridge that took us off to where I'm not sure, but it was pretty.

Early start today, rain coming in again this afternoon, of course it is.

Echoes of a former life. 

Just a delightful run up to the junction, properties old mixing nicely with the new ones.  

The waterpoint just short of the junction is currently coming through the wire fence of a former BW yard now built on.  I hope the water point remains when the building is completed.  I feel without any research or knowledge, apart from my own experience that when water points are being taken out of service for what ever reason and not necessarily replaced.  Feels like that.

We gently hooted as we came around the junction, it had to be gentle as the horn is on its last legs.  We have a new one onboard but the fittings are different so it is still in it's box.

We turned right and towards Bugsworth Basin.  The sun was shining, the gods looked favourably on us when, as we came out of some trees was a mooring available with a clear view all the way to New Mills and a low hedge.
"Moor up HERE" and for once he did.  

Tremendous mooring, I would have lopped down a couple of trees but they were in a private garden so I'll wait until after dark.

 It was still early as he fiddled with ropes and dangles.  Several dog walkers went past, we chatted to all of them and they imparted some very useful local knowledge.
So very friendly up here, you'd think they'd get hacked off with boaters.  One couple had driven out from Bury to walk this particular spot.  They had come to see Holly The Café Boat, more about that later.

In the course of time we wandered off back towards Marple,  We brought coffee and Coronation Cupcakes from Jo and Vic who run Holly the Café Narrow boat.

If you haven't heard of this couple, they live on one boat called NB Zero and run a Café from another boat called Holly.  They are vloggers and they are the only vlog I watch.  A great couple and a great vlog.   HERE

The coffee was really good and feast your eyes on these;

Truly the most delicious cupcakes.

  We got talking to the couple in the queue in front of David, lovely couple sorry I didn't remember your names.  They would dearly love a narrow boat and came back later to have a gander at ours.  If you found this blog both of you, we wish you luck in the search and the future onboard.

Fully refreshed we toddled off to Marple for a snoop and a quick flit to ASDA.

Walking back from the dreaded Asda, we happened upon the Memorial Park, now a park for Marple but formally the gardens of the local mill owner and his family who lived here.

The sons of the mill owner and their cousins went off to fight and out of six boys only two were to survive the war.  

In front of the house is the display board recording all those who were lost from Marple and it also included the story of the local people completely opposed to war, the Conscientious Objectors.  

Overall the park on this Coronation Day, was busy with families, activities, flowers, stalls and the sun shone.  It was such a very touching display in a wonderfully well tended  park.

The family were benefactors to Marple donating land and buildings and even the cinema, one of the last few remaining independent cinemas in the UK.

Supper was to have been Coronation Chicken, but some idiot (me) forgot to get the chicken out of the freezer so it was fishcakes and French beans, not quite the same, the sparkle will have to stay on ice too, but we did watch the high lights of the Coronation.  

Monday 15 May 2023

David that map must be upside down.

The next day we jollied along towards the junction and the Peak Forest Canal.  We had intended on making the junction, filling up with water at Poynton, the home of Braidbar Boats and a wee shop on the tow path selling pretty wonderful ice-creams.  Recently at a theatre in London, I nipped off in the interval to get a couple of ice-cream tubs, they were nice however they were £4.50 each. (I didn't tell David of course).
These ice-creams went into the new freezer, it's running beautifully well, quiet and taking hardly anything out of the batteries.  
David is thrilled.

Anyway, hot and sunny at Poynton, an hour later they grey clouds surrounded us again.  Quickly stopping, mooring up, tonneau cover on the back, just in time for todays downpour.

Living on the south coast, the weather men may say "Chance of showers", it rarely means rain.  But in the Midlands or (surely we are in the north now? East Cheshire I think officially) When the weather man says "Chance of showers" its sure to bucket down all morning.

We snuggled up and got the books out, maybe some snacks and a glass of I can't remember but that was likely.

Much later in the evening the sun peeped out and we ventured out too.  Walking over, well frankly Reader even with the map out I'm not sure of the name, but lets say towards Strines.  
But coming back, from a not very high point we got this view....

This was on the otherside of the slope.  We believe this is Mellor.

Central Manchester

We were in the middle of a gorgeous hay meadow (on a footpath I hasten to add) We watched several planes dip below the clouds as they descended to Manchester airport. 

This is Goyt Mill.  Everything is Goyt here, the river, the aqueduct, road names etc etc

Peak Forest canal is just down there behind the wooden fence. 

I am a great admirer of these stone walls.

Possibly Hawthorne, possibly not.

We followed the map and hoped it was a circular route, we finished up walking through a section of a private garden, I was horrified but yes it was the Public Footpath, I could see what they were watching on TV!

Supper was very little tonight, we were still full from our feast with Carol and George yesterday.

Friday 12 May 2023

Always lovely to see good friends.

 I was excited this morning to get going, heading for Macclesfield which David said was a short distance away to meet friends for lunch.

We set off in a somewhat stiff breeze but sunny.  Soon the sun went behind clouds and we were boating with the stiff breeze straight into our faces.  I put a woolly hat on and then soon after my hood up over the hat.

Just past the Gurnett aqueduct immediately south of Macclesfield there is a sizeable straight section of canal due north into what felt a gale direct from the arctic.  
Good grief my eyes were watering.

"Just get out of this wind and moor up"  said I kindly, there were the Macclesfield Town Visitor Moorings.  these are a bit of a joke.  A bit,  there's a sloping edge worthy of the Shroppie Shelf and its positioned between a very high wall and some apartments.  Very limited solar.
The slope made it a daft place to moor so we crept on, I was half remembering floating pontoons and there they were.  One happy and friendly boater was pressure washing the pontoons  of Canadian goose poo (does anyone even like these poxy geese?)

Well despite the strong wind we avoided crash landing, secured the ropes after the customary "No this ring, no go back to that ring, I've changed my mind I'll tie up to that ring after all" 

Ferns waking up and beginning to unfurl.

This was a lift and push variety, I'm not sure if these are getting harder or I'm getting older.

Peaks in the distance but this was the wind tunnel from the north pole.  Looks cold doesn't it?

White Bells presumably. 

Well I had a bit of time before the fine company arrived to tidy up and polish the light switches.

The lovely George and Carol.

We had the most sumptuous lunch   HERE   Its primarily a furniture shop but it has the most brilliant Cafe-Bar just a stones throw down from the canal.  

For those of you who know George and Carol they are very well and very chirpy.  For those of you who don't Carol was a blogger on their narrow boat   HERE   and  their wide beam  HERE.  

We old folks had fun playing on the electric chairs at 
Arighi Bianchi, the ones that go up and down, but really they are fantastic and David wants one.

Back to Wal for teas and coffees after playing on chairs and several hours later they departed.  Sad to see them go but half baked plans to meet them later in the summer, lets hope it comes off.

Lunch was lasagne followed by pecan pie, an enormous slice and it was the last of it!!  Really fabulous.