Sunday, 31 March 2013

Decisions - when to go and when not to go

Thursday 28th March to Saturday 30th March 2013

5 miles during this period

Totals: 1482 Miles, 1198 Locks, 47 Tunnels, 24 Lift Bridges, 97 Swing Bridges

How deceptive it can be when you only look at what is happening around and not further on.

We woke on Thursday to a glorious day – a bit cold with a slight breeze – but what the heck, it was sunny and dry.

Just a little bit of very thin ice on the canal surface – only 5 miles to Marple, so we thought we would leave early-ish and be able to moor up easily at the top of the Marple flight.

Mmm – it all started to go off script as soon as we cleared the linear moorings and rounded the bend – what is that strange noise – it couldn’t be the mill way over there – nope – it was the louder sound of ice crunching from the bow and along the sides – that’s not so good.

We persevered for about a mile and a bit before we decided that it might be better to moor up for a little while and let the sun do it’s work.

After about an hour and a half we (banjo and I) ventured out for a bit of a walk – it was still icy but definitely not as thick as earlier and this time we did go far enough to see ice-free water and also the bridge signifying that we were almost at Higher Poynton – where we wanted to fill the water tank.

So, the decision was made even before getting back to see the management – we would move up at least to the water point. By the time we were ready (less than 5 minutes) there was a boat moving our way from where we wanted to go – excellent – whatever ice had remained was no broken and a pathway available.

In less than 15 minutes we were filling with water – a slow water point it is – but very enjoyable – looking at the CaRT people doing some work on the mooring outside The Trading Post; a  number of people wandering path, with a couple stopping for a bit of a chat and relating their life stories as tends to happen – having the Australian flag on the back and “Melbourne” on the back panel gives them a starting point and an understanding that we are not locals and therefore it was safe to tell us everything – don’t get me wrong these chats are very enjoyable from our side as well and we  quite like hearing about their histories.

Whilst there, one of the moored boats that we had already passed decided to reverse through the bridge, past us and many more moored boats to a pontoon about 500m further up – he did an excellent job of it all.

approaching Marple
Water filled and we were away – nothing of any note occurred for the rest of the trip until we were about a mile or so from the junction – quietly passing moored boats and then on nb Moon Shadow there was some “crazy” woman madly gesticulating and pointing towards our boat and herself – not sure what she was trying to say to us.

Little did we know that we would be in contact again.

Despite all of our thoughts about it, all moorings south of the junction were full – at least those where it was possible to get close to the side – the usual Macclesfield problem; so we had no choice but turn at the junction and head a little way along the Peak Forest and find a place where the plank would reach – just 200m down and we were fine – able to get close enough.

A couple of hours later we were joined by Dot and Gordon who had cruised all of the way from Macclesfield despite some heavy ice (they were fortunate to have a hire boat break through the worst of it for them). Good to have them back again.

They abandoned their aim to get to Bugsworth Basin – ice was a problem again the next morning – and decided to stay put.

under the hood at the back the thermometer was
showing the temperature at 35C - admittedly
it was in direct sun on a black container top -
summer is nearly here
To give Gordon some breathing space whilst he relaid the kitchen floor, we took Dot for a bit of a walk down to the old Marple Village (that we had been advised as a lovely place to see).

Marple village

River Goyt
It was nice and I had originally thought – down the hill to see the village and then back up the hill – unlikely once the two D’s were together –

“Is there another way back up to Marple?” they said

“Why oh yes” says the man in the bookshop. (It transpired later that this same person had neither visited the lakes nor had he walked out even part of the course he had given instructions about - we were in good hands with this)

With directions clearly stated we were off – up and down hill – via the Mellor Mill and the Roman Lakes – morning tea included as well – then up the side of Mt Everest to the road and a short hike along the towpath and we were back – in less time than a football match with overtime and penalty shootout.

But wait that’s not all – we then were off for last part of the original morning assignment – to do some shopping in Marple.

across the valley
After all of this and much later in the afternoon there was a tap on the back of the boat – we investigated and it was Peter off nb Moon Shadow (the other half of the “crazy” flapping woman - Meagan) – two fellow Australians – ahh that explains the gesticulations – it was to do with the flag.

We were not long away from heading to the Ring O’Bells pub for a drink so suggested that they join us with Dot and Gordon.

It was a lovely evening chatting about all of the usual things that come up when a group of boaters get together – especially when two are new to the rest of us – but by the end of the evening (not too late) we had had a great time together.

Dot, Meagan Gordon and Peter
Peter and Meagan have been continuous cruisers for about 2 years and came over from Sydney having been residents of the northern beaches area there.

Their intentions are to head over the Leeds and Liverpool canal and we have no doubt that between here and Wigan we will be spending a bit more time together.

Looking forward to some more dinking and conversations.

Saturday was a much more quiet day and we did not do very much at all – but peace was to be disturbed in the early evening – a message from Paul and Elaine – they were moored just up from us and just intending to using the CaRT services – we really weren’t going to the pub tonight – oh well – these things are all meant to be changed at short notice; so once again the Ring O’Bells was the venue – numbers had swelled to 8 – but it was not too long a night and we were all back on our boats before 10 (or is that 11 with summer time included) – plans had been firmed up between the upper management of each boat – which means that I await my orders.

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