Heading South –  20th June 2022

We awoke to a gorgeous day – blue sky and no rain!! That can only mean but one thing – do the washing and get it hung out in time to dry. We did take the opportunity to sit out in the sun and enjoy our morning cuppa which we normally never seem to have time to do.

With the large grassy space, it was also a great spot to get Wolfgang’s drone out and try to use it. Unfortunately, all the instructions are in German, so it is all about trial and error.

We were pretty impressed how far we got it this time and in fairly good control. A later flight took it over the canal, and it crash landed in some bushes thankfully.

All the geese around were not impressed with this flying spaceship and were keeping a very close eye on it.

Whilst we were filling up with water and dropping off rubbish and the obligatory black water tanks, we had a short wander to where the Bugsworth Basin community had a small museum in some sea containers.

This was the basin at the heights of its industrial era. It was opened in 1796. The main objective of the canal was to improve the transportation of bulk manufactured goods and raw materials, particularly limestone from the quarries at Dove Holes, high up in the Peak Forest.

This photo was taken at exactly the same location after the demise of the basin.

With the coming of the railways, the canal began to lose its business and in the 1920s the Basin closed.

Bugsworth Basin remained derelict until re-opened to navigation in 2003 after professional restoration work which was undertaken by British Waterways.

Today, this is how it looks. If we had of had more time we would have stayed another night and explored the town of Whaley Bridge. Unfortunately, we have to be up the top of the Bosley Locks on the Macclesfield Canal by Thursday as they are closing the canal due to water shortages.

We dropped into the local Tesco at Whaley Bridge to stock up a few necessaries and then headed back along the Peak Forest Canal towards Marple. We then took a sharp left and headed south onto the Macclesfield Canal.

The Macclesfield Canal runs from Marple in Cheshire to Hall Green, near the northern end of Harecastle Tunnel on the Trent & Mersey Canal – a distance of 26 miles.

It was one of the last narrow-gauge canals (locks 7ft wide) to be built, and the audacious ‘cut and fill’ techniques, high embankments and ambitious cuttings are all indicative of Thomas Telford’s hand. As this was a late canal, the lessons of earlier works were incorporated: locks, for example, are all grouped closely together for efficiency of operation.

It was hoped that the Macclesfield Canal would decrease journey times, and therefore reduce costs, between Manchester, the Potteries and the Midlands. It also served mills, quarries and mines around Macclesfield, Congleton and the Peak District. However, it was not very successful, and the canal passed into railway ownership in 1846. Although suffering the effects of competition, it was still being used for freight carriage until the 1960s.

Just as you cruise onto the Macclesfield, you come across the very dominant Goyt Mill.

This was the last cotton mill to be built in the Marple area and is the only building of that kind left standing locally today. From what we could tell, it was being used for a mixture of business. Anything from a furniture manufacturing company to printing and dance studio.

We spent a relaxing three hours cruising taking in the sights.  Of course, you get everything along the canals from the derelict clunkers to marinas full of well loved boats.

We pulled in at 5.30pm near a little town called Higher Poynton for the night. Tomorrow we will go and explore the area as we have two days to cruise to the top of the Bosley flight and only four hours of cruising. So, the foot can be taken off the gas pedal for the next two days.

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