Macclesfield to Bollington

Friday 10th June 2016

We have been closely following when the repairs to the Macclesfield Canal will be completed as this is very instrumental to how our route will progress. We only had one hours cruising this morning to move from the town of Macclesfield to Bollington which is just before the blockage. As it is Friday and we did not have to motor very far we opted to have a sleep in – so nice!!

The first interesting item was this bridge. The reason for the curved walkway relates back to when the boats were originally pulled by horses. The horse would walk up the stairwell with the rope from the boat still attached and then over the bridge and back onto the otherside of the canal towpath without having to detach from the boat. Often the towpath would be required to be switched from one side to the other so you would see that hitching and unhitching the horses would be very time consuming. Extremely clever. The photo demonstrates the ascent onto the roadway.

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The next interesting item are these distance markers that look like gravestones. This one gives the distance to the next location of Marple Junction which is 8 miles. During World War II all these markers were dug up and then buried as the Brits didn’t wants the Germans to know where they were when they invaded England. As we are all aware there was the strong possibility that the Germans were going to invade England in the early 1940’s. This of course never happened. Over the last number of years these markers have been located and dug up and put back in place. Not a small undertaking by any means.

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Next photo is of the actual drainage of the canal that was required to be done prior to repairs commencing. You cannot see on the photo but they had to remove 1000lb of fish prior to emptying the canal. It is all very labour intensive when this kind of breach happens. We were talking to one of the CRT employees today along this portion of the canal and we asked where the canal had leaked into. She mentioned that it has only just avoided flooding some of the homes along the canal – ooops!!

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The other industry this area was well known for was cotton manufacture. They would bring in the raw materials through Liverpool or Manchester harbours and transport them by canal boat up to places like Bollington to these mills where they would make cotton fabrics. Of course now, none of these mills are in use and many of the old mills have been repurposed into either upscale apartments (flats in England) or else light industrial units such as accounting businesses etc.

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We left the boat in fine weather to walk along the towpath to see where the breach was as well as look at some of the historic significant features. As you can see, we were dressed for the weather turning into something unpleasant. We left Maples behind on Lucy as she has stood on some stinging nettle earlier on and was unable to put her right hind leg on the ground. Actually, she did better out of it as half way through our walk it started pouring with rain and we all got absolutely drenched. Guess that is the end of the fine weather for a while.

To give your some idea of the infrastructure that went into the building of the canals this is a photo of a 20 metre high aqueduct over a roadway in the town of Bollington. This particular aqueduct is crossing a narrow valley so they built up an entire embankment along with the aqueduct to cross this valley. The engineering is quite something. This was built in the 1830’s and it is still in use today.

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Quintessential English scene of a red post box and a red phone box.

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After viewing the canal breach we started wandering around the town of Bollington. It really is very sweet with lots of pale coloured stone used in the building of the homes. We were talking to one lady who was living in an old pub that had been converted to a home. It still had the lead light window above it saying it was the Queens Arm and that the window was listed by the heritage trust so that they were unable to ever change it or even the door to the entrance of their home.

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How much is that doggy in the window?

By now the heavens had opened up something fierce. We still needed to get some milk but poor Toque was wet through to the bone and was shivering so Di decided to take her home whilst Fras went in search of milk – you can’t have a cuppa without milk. As Di was walking back along the towpath to the boat she noticed that our fellow boat neighbours BFF’s from Bremen were towing our boat along on the ropes. Apparently a boater had come along the canal at top speed which had caused the pins to pop out of the ground and dislodge our boat. It floated across to the other side of the canal and luckily for us they saw it and rescued it. This could have been a very bad case scenario if they hadn’t of dealt with it. Our BFF’s plus another boater pulled it back to the mooring and secured it for us so we needed to give them a very big thank you. This resulted in a block party on the back of one of the boats in the rain. This went on for about three hours. Vi, you will get a giggle out of this as for someone who doesn’t drink they had two glasses of white wine – they shall remain nameless.

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4 thoughts on “Macclesfield to Bollington

  1. My mother’s family lived/lives in the Bremen area. My half-brother Gus is in Weyhe. I went to Bremen in my 20’s for a few weeks and drank beer in the Markplatz. It was delicious, but more beer than I have ever had in one sitting! I was accompanied by my cousin and her daughter. They were fantastic fun and it is one of my best memories of my time in Deutschland. Glad you are making friends on the canal.

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