Ultra Busy –  21st June 2022

What was meant to be a day of just two hours cruising to Macclesfield ended up with us becoming side tracked and not getting to Bollington until 7.30pm. Bollington is about an hour short of Macclesfield, so we are going to end up having to cruise about 5-6 hours tomorrow.

Our first side track was to go down to the local green and do some further playing around with the drone. Our end aim with the drone is to be able to fly it over and around the boat to give a different perspective on a video. We won’t attach the video today of our attempts but let us just say that Fraser is getting a lot better. He flew it over a soccer goal and back under the bar but alas it did come a cropper on the side pole. A metallic clunk didn’t sound good as it came in contact with the pole but we are pleased to say that it did survive – in one piece, thankfully.

Whilst on the green we came across an area where either, moles, voles or gophers had had a field day with the lawn. It would break your heart as a gardener if you came out in the morning and saw your lawn looking like this.

We then proceeded to the visitor’s centre of Higher Poynton where we learnt that this was a huge underground coal mining district. At the height of the mining boom, there were 74 colliers here.

We found this explained the intensity of the mining very well. Where the pole is, is exactly the spot where we were. In a ¼ mile radius was where the 74 colliers were. Now that is saturation.

Next location was the old Higher Poynton railway station or what was the railway station. The station was opened in 1869…….

and closed in 1970 – 101 years of service just gone. We think we got close to taking a before and after photo from the same spot. The station is gone of course but we used the pub in the distance as a marker.

The pub in question.

We thought it clever to turn the old railway line into a picnic area. All the lines were lifted, and it is now a walking path from Marple to Macclesfield as well as for bikers and horse riders. We are in wealthy horsey territory here as well have seen a lot of small holdings with show jumping arenas set up as we have cruised along the cut.

Next on the wanderers list was The Anson Engine Museum. When we got there, the volunteers told us it wasn’t opened until Friday and so they decided that they would take us on a personalised tour.

What a huge amount of fun as well as learning so much about the various engines. The area around Greater Manchester was very instrumental in building engines as well as engineering and refining them.

The museum now has one of the largest collections of engines in Europe. The museum site also includes a working blacksmith’s smithy and carpentry shop and a café. The Anson Engine Museum is situated on the site of the old Anson colliery.

What was great was talking to all the volunteers. Some of them had a working life where they use to work for the different engine manufacturers in the area whereas some of them worked in totally unrelated fields. They were all older retired men but keen to share their passion with us. On the site there was also a blacksmith and wood turners. A person who did wood turning use to be called a wood bodger – how the meaning of the word bodger came to mean what it does today, does seem unfortunate.

Back to the boat for a quick bite to eat and then off for the next adventure. It was a 40 minute walk up hill along farmers lanes which involved dodging lots of sheep shit and sheep.

The estate was granted to Sir Thomas Danyers in 1346 and passed to the Leghs of Lyme by marriage in 1388. It remained in the possession of the Legh family until 1946 when it was given to the National Trust. The house dates from the latter part of the 16th century. 

It was the largest house in Cheshire.

We opted to just do the gardens and not the interior of the mansion as at it was too expensive and we hope to do Blenheim Palace later on and would rather spend the money on that.

This is the folly on the property which was used as a spotting place for deer hunting.

1995 TV production of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehrle was filmed – with the famous scene where Mr Darcy emerges from the lake.

We can’t find out why Lym Park was handed to the National Trust but we can have a good guess as to why. Death duties after the second world war went as high as 65% and many of these stately homes just could not afford to pay them. If there was the odd Rembrandt or Constable floating around on the wall, they would often sell these to pay the duties. Another way was to sell off some of the surrounding land. As each generation died, you could see how this would finally reduce the stately home to no land and no other means as to how to pay the death duties. After WW1 and WW11, many stately homes were bulldozed as the owners just walked away. Death taxes today are at 40% but there is a threshold of 325,000 pounds. Even so, it is a cruel tax.

Right, back to the boat we did go and got underway at 4.30pm. Coming into Bollington we came passed Clarence Mill.  

Clarence Mill is a five-storey former cotton spinning mill in Bollington. It was built between 1834 and 1877 for the Swindells family of Bollington. It was built alongside the Macclesfield Canal, which opened in 1831.

So that is the history lessons for today. To say that we are shattered at the end of today is not an understatement. Tomorrow we promise ourselves it will just be plain sailing (ha ha).

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