Pub Crawl around Marple –  16th June 2022

You know how we said all good plans of mice and men go astray – well it has happened again. Fraser’s nephew Alistair is flying from Sydney to Manchester via Doha, to spend two nights with us on the boat to get an abridged experience of why his aunt and uncle do this weird pastime.

Unfortunately, and all part of current travel vagaries, they have delayed his flight out of Sydney and increased his time in Doha, therefore meaning he arrives early on Saturday morning as opposed to Friday afternoon. So, he is really going to get an abridged version of the canal experience providing the poor lad can stay awake.

The Marple flight of 16 locks gets its name from the town of Marple whose center is up near the top lock. The first mention of the area was in 1122 in a deed for the sale of land. We are back in the county of Cheshire which puts the price of real estate back in the unrealistic barrel.

The town center is nothing much to write about but wandering around the suburbs was most rewarding. The graveyard in this photo was the neatest and most well maintained we have come across.

This very neat stone house along the side of the canal was selling half a dozen eggs in an honesty box. Bugger, we had just bought some eggs the other day otherwise we would definitely have picked some up.

As our time with Alistair is now reduced to one night, we want him to experience a bit of rural England as on Sunday he heads down to London for a few days before heading off to France. So, a must experience is to visit a typical pub. We vetted the locals about which was their pub of choice and we just about set off a war. They of course all had their own favourites, so it was up to us to go and check them all out. Tough job on such a warm day but a bevvy at each location solved the dehydration problem.

We just had to do some sampling of the food available, so we helped ourselves to a ploughman’s lunch.

Next stop was The Regent cinema which is very well known amongst canal bloggers.  It remains open as one of the few independent cinemas in the UK. We checked out the movies and we like the look of the movie Lancaster. LANCASTER is the story of the iconic bomber of the Second World War told through the words of those wartime crew members; an epic and poignant tale of courage, fear, friendship and the moral complexities of war. 

Further wanderings brought us back to the canals edge where we found this tunnel which the horses would have walked through whilst pulling the boats. The rope was removed from the back of the horse and reattached on the other side.

When the canal was built in 1804, this area would have been rural. That is not to say it would have been wooded like this as the trees close to the towpaths were removed to allow uninhibited passage for the horses. We have seen some old archival photos and often the areas around the canals were barren of all vegetation. Back then the towpaths were just packed dirt but come wet weather they would have been bogs. We see that even today on a lot of the towpaths.

It was important for us to throw this photo in to show you how low the water is along certain portions of the canal. Normally the water level would be almost to the top of the bank. What is encouraging to see, is the fact that there is no shopping trolleys for us to have to negotiate our way through.

Another area our walk took us, was along the ridge top which looks over the Peak Forest district and you might just be able to make out a canal in the photo. This part of the canal is a spur line up towards Whaley Bridge and Bugsworth Basin which we will add on to our trip on Sunday after we drop Alistair off at the Manchester train station. By the time we got back to the boat today, our feet were very sore and our bodies weary.

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