We had a fairly successful trip to the eye specialist and returned back to Macclesfield to be greeted by Julia as we walked over the bridge near the boat – she wanted to make sure we got back safely. We made plans to head off on Tuesday morning at a reasonable time and make it close to Marple and the junction with the Peak Forest canal by Tuesday night.
It feels a bit as if we have hurried this canal and whilst we would have liked longer our delays for treatment to Bob’s eye and getting our engine repaired have meant that the dates we have booked further along are getting closer and alas we are not!!!!! It is though a beautiful canal and our days spent cruising it have been relaxed and visually fulfilling. Being so high up is a strange experience particularly when we see valleys and rivers way below.
We moored just past Higher Poynton with Malcolm and Julia catching us up after they filled with water there. It wasn’t the most picturesque spot as Malcolm took delight in letting me know but it was only for a quick stop and I told him to “suck it up”!!! He did.
This section has some very beautiful old restored mills – Hovis and Goyt amongst them. They are variously used as apartments, small manufacturing and mixed businesses now, but it is a delight to see them still standing and still purposefully used.
It seems as if Wednesday was a day full of cranky people – trying to overtake us, telling us we were too slow or too fast, getting in our way. Didn’t they know we were on a mission? After an hour and a half wait to get onto the water point and fill up we finally joined NB Figment on the Peak Forest Canal to cruise down to Bugsworth Basin near Buxworth. We understand that the name of Buxworth was adopted to make it sound more attractive, but was originally Bugsworth and the restored basin has maintained the original name.
This canal is very narrow, very shallow and has many bridges. The lift bridge was the first obstacle but Julia had it up in no time and we cruised past. Bob was supposed to open the next one but he was fortunate in that it currently does not exist and extensive engineering works are currently being undertaken on its site. As we were now in front he tackled the next swing bridge leaving Julia to tackle the last. After a few minutes and lots of advice by passersby Bob finally used a screwdriver to open the lock as the front of the lock mechanism was missing but the bridge was still locked.
We got through and cruised on into the Basin mooring in a spot that we were informed was a private mooring for a hotel boat despite there being no signage. So with help from Pablo and Carley from NB Gladys Rose, we shifted across to behind them and settled in for a drink and a chat. This was when we learned that Pablo was Spanish and had remarked only that morning that he would like to cook a paella but since Carley was vegetarian he had no-one to cook for. Well we were well pleased to volunteer to both purchase the ingredients and consume the end product on the following night!!! Pablo didn’t know what hit him.
On Thursday, after a very slow start, Bob and Malcolm walked down to the office to apply for an extra day’s mooring and told Pablo they would be back for a quick coffee before taking him shopping for the makings of the paella. Three hours later they finally left!!!! After successfully hunting and foraging at Tesco Pablo set to work while the rest of us created an excellent picnic spot in the beautiful sunshine.
Oh what a treat. Absolutely delicious and not a grain of rice left!!! We did threaten to abduct him as our chef but there was strong opposition from his wife and their lovely old dog, Skinny!!!!! Lots of pictures of this gastronomic delight in the gallery – mouthwatering!!!!
We all decided to take a walk to Whaley Bridge at the end of the other short arm of the Peak Forest, on Friday morning and to get some supplies to have a shared bbq with our new friends that evening. Well the party got bigger as Cherryl and Ian from NB Winedown also arrived (Julia and Malcolm had travelled in tandem with them on and off for the last couple of weeks). Despite a little light rain Bob (with the help of all the other men) put together our new bbq that we had purchased in Llangollen (almost 2 months ago!) and both this and Pablo’s were lit. With the vast array of meats and vegetables prepared by those on all four boats we certainly had another night of gourmet eating. Not to mention much drinking, story telling, belly laughing and a fine and raucous rendition of “Ickley Moor Baht’at“. Videos (not of our performance you are fortunate to know) are available on Youtube!!! Pablo was totally confused by the whole thing but had us in fits of laughter as he sought assistance from his shoe phone!!!!! What a night!!
Despite the rain overnight and persistent drizzle in the morning we bid farewell to our new friends and after a water refill made our way back along the Peak Forest Canal to Marple where despite getting stuck, we finally moored for the night ready to tackle the Marple flight of 16 locks on Sunday. Bron and Julia went for a reconnaissance walk past the locks to find suitable moorings for the next few days as on Monday Bob has another eye appointment and he will be returning from London on Tuesday with his friend Darryl from Tasmania Australia. Returning an hour or so later a little wet we all showered before having a meal of leftovers and an early night.
After a full English breakfast lovingly prepared and presented by Malcolm we tackled the locks and finally moored just past the Marple Aqueduct under power lines But it is safe and comfortable and close enough for Bob to catch the train in the morning – his first trip to London alone!!!!!
Now to prepare tonight’s dinner…….