Higher Poynton to Bugsworth Basin – Peak Forest Canal

Sunday 12thth June 2016

The day started off overcast so decided to make the most of it and head off early to do some servicing of the boat and try to make Whaley Bridge by the evening fall. Our first task of the day was to have the poo tank emptied and fill up the diesel tank. You have to think of the nb Lucy a lot like an RV or fifth wheel. She requires filling up with water daily, diesel when required and poo tank when required. The grey water is not an issue as it empties straight into the canal. The grey water includes the water from the shower and kitchen. The black water refers to the poo tank and this is not emptied into the canal which is a blessing – we are sure in times gone by though that this was not the case. On nb Lucy we do not have gauges to tell us when our tanks need filling or emptying like you do on the newer boats. The water tank you do daily as it also helps balance the boat; the diesel – well a bit of a no brainer – you either continue going forward or not at all and the poo tank – well we have decided to calibrate this by the whiff factor. The whiff factor in this case wasn’t too bad but the opportunity was there so we made the most of it. It costs on average £20 to have it emptied but we got a bargain at £15. We have been afloat now for 16 days so we have done very well indeed – obviously we are not full of it!!



Poo Tank

Poo Tank Man

So off we chottle and on the way we come across this very interesting scene under the bridge. Some of you may know what these marks on the edge of this bridge are caused by but for those of you who do not know they are caused by the ropes that were attached to the horses which were attached to the narrowboats. This is of course all prior to the diesel engine being installed on narrowboats. You see a lot of evidence of this around the bridges and sometimes they would put metals poles on the sides of the bridges to protect them and there are even deep groove marks in the metal posts. We have seen this but not been able to capture a clear enough photo yet.



Rope wear marks

As you cruise along the canals you are often cruising along the backyards of people’s homes. Some people take a lot of pride in their gardens and there are lovely lawns with flower beds and sun rooms along with general garden decorations such as Bill the flower pot man who is fishing and not sure why but a Laurel and Hardy.

Flower Pot Man




And of course there are still a lot of these Canadian interlopers who seem well adept at breeding. This lot consisted for four adult geese and we counted 19 youngsters but it is a little difficult to see it in this photo.



We came up to the Marple Junction where we needed to turn right under the bridge to head onto the Peak Forest Canal. Turning left would put us still on the Peak Forest Canal but going down the Marple set of 16 locks. We will do this in the next couple of days. You need to prepare your head and body for this sort of event as it is hard work. When we got to the junction we found this boat in a rather unfortunate situation. He had got himself wedged onto the front of a parked boat and his stern against the wall of the canal and also lodged onto the bottom as it was very shallow near the stern end. It took him quite a while but eventually he managed to float free. We were talking to him later and he said the wind caught the front of his boat and put him in that position. We didn’t have the heart to tell him that there was no wind and that maybe he should consider taking boating lessons 101 again. It is typical though that they will either blame the wind or the shallowness of a canal rather than their lack of skill.



Then the heavens decided to open on us. This is where boating can become a little uncomfortable but you can always tie up and escape inside for a hot cuppa tea until it eases off.


Rain Man

Fraser in the rain

One of our problems we have been having with nb Lucy is that she has a distinct tilt on her. From the front it is left to right with the right being the lower end. This makes for walking down her length inside uncomfortable and the shower does not empty completely. When she is full of water, diesel and all pooed out she is relatively even but still not quite there. As the tanks empty of course she gets more of a lean on her. So, we have been on the look out for some ballast and bingo we found just what we wanted.



Now we didn’t pilfer them as they were in a disused quarry but we did borrow 31 of them. You can see from the above photo the lean that she was on so we just corrected it.



We basically added about 190lbs or the equivalent of a heavy person. We put them up in the right bow where the anchor normally sits – the spot is almost made for them. Prior to handing nb Lucy back to the hire company we will remove them but will comment to them that maybe they should look at doing something like this.

Our other bit of excitement for the day were a couple of lift bridges but also this swing bridge which we have not encountered before. It was not electrified so required some brute force to push it around. Things like lift bridges and swing bridges are locked into position so you must have a special Canal and River Trust waterways key which is provided to you by the hire boat company. The first picture shows it in the closed position.



The following two pictures show the boat coming through the open bridge. There is not a lot of room to spare either side. In this case about six inches.





Our initial intention was to pull into Whaley Bridge for the evening but when we got there, there was a QII 90th birthday celebration going on with a fun fair as well as a stage with lots of loud music and someone trying to sing a tune from Credence Clear Water. We hightailed it out of there and went up another arm to Bugsworth Basin. We are at the southern end of the Peak Forest Canal. We have attached a map below for you that might help you orientate from where we are from Manchester. The Peak Forest Canal is on the orange line and though you cannot quite see it behind the star on the map Whaley Bridge is down the very bottom on the right. The other small arm you see is the Bugsworth Basin. Manchester is in the top left corner. We are 19 miles from Manchester and still in magnificent countryside.


Map Peak Forest Canal




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