Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Rivers, Viaducts, Mills and Miscellaneous..

We moored yesterday on the high canal embankment overlooking the Goyt Valley close to New Mills on the Derbyshire/Cheshire border. There is an excellent linear country park through the valley bottom and many people were out taking advantage of yesterday's unexpectedly fine weather.  Things were not so pleasant today as far as the weather went but by late morning the rain appeared to have passed through, Joe had gone of to catch a train into Buxton, so I set out to do a more extended walk with the two dogs.

The view from the canal embankment looking towards New Mills featuring one of the Viaducts
There is a public footpath leading down the hillside to the valley bottom from the towpath near bridge 29. Once at the bottom a gated footbridge takes you across the R. Goyt and leads you around some farm buildings and sheep pasture and back to a riverside path. 

 One of my Misc. shots, a Canada Goose and her clutch of eggs

 These little people out for some fresh air with their nursery class had stopped to see the lambs and the lambs had obliged by running across their pasture to see the children...cue very gleeful children!

 There are a number of Llamas kept in the same field and here be one

 And here be number two

 Wild garlic now in flower
Olympic Stick Throwing tag team...
Joe throws the stick into the river, Fletcher retrieves it

Stick retrieval,  Simples
As you approach the town of New Mills, following the route of the Goyt river you enter a deep gorge of Sandstone and Gritstone known as The Torrs.  It is in the gorge that Mill construction was undertaken, the first mills being water powered.  Mill building started in 1788 and in 1810 there were 9 Cotton Mills, 3 Weaving Mills and more than 3 Printworks.    The mills were later  converted to steam power, plenty of water and coal seams nearby to facilitate the change. 
The town was served by the Peak Forest Canal and at one time, three Rail lines.
 To celebrate the Millennium in 2000 a stunning walkway was erected that takes you through part of the gorge high above the level of the river; details here Millennium Walkway New Mills Derbyshire

 Sections of the gorge sides are set aside for climbers to use
 He was about 80 feet up...
rather him than me thank you

 Another Viaduct and mill race

The remains of another race?

Monday, 21 April 2014

All of ...not quite two miles

We slipped away from Bugsworth Basins this morning having overstayed by 12 hours; but with permission granted.  First point of call was the service block where we did the usual stuff of filling and emptying different tanks  but we also took the opportunity to give the side of the boat a quick wash down to remove the layer of white/grey dust that she was sporting..

Yarwood on the services at Bugsworth Basins
I noticed just as we were about to move off again that the 'door mat' had been left behind on our weekend mooring so I scuttled back toot sweet to recover it.  It doesn't save that much mess getting in the boat because of the four of us that live on Yarwood, only two of us bother to wipe our feet..
 but every little helps.

 So off we go, through the gauging stop past the former Wharfinger's office and cottage where tolls would have been calculated and collected, and on to the junction where we managed to get on the last mooring so I could visit the Tesco store which is immediately adjacent. Twenty minutes later we are off again with supplies of fresh milk, bread and salad leaves sitting in the galley waiting to be put away later.

Yarwood turning back on to the Upper Peak Forest Canal

 Close up of the willow that has been planted and woven to provide bank edging
 Willow banking along here
 Another Andy Russell signed boat
Carr swing bridge just past Furness Vale Marina, open and awaiting Yarwood's transit
And shortly after coming through Carr Swing Bridge we moor up above the Torrs Riverside Park on the outskirts of New Mills.
The River Goyt flows through the valley beneath our mooring and then on  through New Mills where it was once an important source of energy for powering the cotton mills built along its banks.   After a light lunch - fast day again - we took a walk through the park and into the town and tomorrow I will go off exploring with the dogs while Joe hops a train from Furness Vale into Buxton.  

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Along the Tramway

Bugsworth Basins are now a peaceful oasis resting beneath surrounded by high hills but two hundred years ago these basins were at the heart of a noisy, noisome industrial enterprise.  In 1808 some 2000 boats departed from these basins laden with limestone, quick lime and gritstone setts (cobbles...cobbled streets)  for use in agriculture and building.   Lime kilns and stone crushing mills were part of the immediate infrastructure and a horse drawn tramway transported the raw materials from the surrounding quarries at Dove Holes to the basins for processing and transhipment.  This morning I walked the route of the former tramway, now a public right of way that is accompanied by the Black Brook to the left and the A6 to the right.

 Weir on the Black Brook
 An abundance of wild Garlic
 There once was an ugly ducking..
At an former Mill en route there is a 'lake', home to four black Swans and a number of ducks


 The remains of the former Tramway
Floyd's kind of 'stile'
I have harvested some of the wild garlic and it is soaking in the galley ready to be added to the spinach that will form part of tonight's Sag Prawn curry and  I will gather more tomorrow whilst it is in season to add to salads.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

The Sunshine Cruise

Good Friday and we were up with the lark and preparing the boat for a trip on the upper Peak Forest canal, destination Bugsworth Basin.   We had had a text message from Andy on Nb. Festina Lente telling us that the basin was lacking any boats; they were the only boat moored there on Thursday night and there was us thinking that the place would be rammed over the Easter weekend.

Ice on the solar panels as we start the cruise to Bugsworth Basin
 Thursday had been a cold and windy day, we had sat tight in Marple, well in a warm boat in Marple if you get my drift and enjoyed the aforementioned Chinese take-away.  Friday was forecast to be the best day of the coming weekend for weather and we wanted to be settled for a F1 Grand Prix weekend so we got ourselves up and set off sharpish.

 Yarwood passing through the former gauging station at Marple before turning right onto the Peak Forest Canal.  It is here that the Macclesfield Canal intersected/joined with the Peak Forest Canal and it is here that the separate canal companies would have exacted their tolls.

 Church Lane bridge - and the cottage reflected in the canal

This first of two sunken boats we come across on our cruise.  This small narrowboat was spewing oil/diesel into the canal despite the boom and engine room mats it was festooned with.  Unlike the kind of catastrophes that can overtake a vessel on flooding rivers or 'blue water'  canals don't offer the same dangers. Sunken boats on canals are as a result of gross stupidity or severe lack of maintenance with the later the usual culprit.   You can bet your pension that this boat has been abandoned and that C&RT will eventually have to bite the bullet and remove it, all at great cost. I question the 'wisdom' of letting things get to crisis point, i.e, sinking, before action is taken. How long had this sad vessel sat there in a dilapidated state and been ignored?  Surely it would be cheaper and more expedient to tow it away whilst it is still floating?? 
 Moving through the 'peaks' of the Peak Forest canal and enjoying the views

 We have two lift bridges and two swing bridges to negotiate on our journey and this is the first at Turf Lane...53 turns of the windlass on the way up and....53 turns on the way down!

 New 'lift bridge moorings' under construction
 Wood End lift bridge, the second of the day and 70 turns of the windlass up and ..
yes you get the maths..

 The first of the two swing bridges at Higgins Clough

 Bank collapse
 And our second sunken boat - a plywood cruiser that has disintegrated

 Yarwood encountering the sunken cruiser
I am hurrying on the next swing bridge as Yarwood approaches the sunken hazard and while I wait at an open swing bridge unbeknown to me Yarwood has fouled the roof of the cruiser.  I dog walker wanting to cross the bridge I have opened tells me that he has passed a boat, a green and red boat, struggling with a sunken boat. Great.  I close the bridge and jog back to Joe to find he has just got through past the boat but the boat pole has been well utilised.

 The last swing bridge dealt with Yarwood moves on past the moorings at Furness Vale

 This pair had just launched their canoe and were getting the hang of it as Yarwood was catching them up!!!! 

 Yarwood turning into Bugsworth Basin
 And here we be moored up in glorious sunshine in a perfect mooring with our own lawned garden and drystone wall!

Thursday, 17 April 2014


After a couple of days at Higher Poynton it was time to move on so as we were up at the crack of dawn we slipped under the bridge on to the water point and topped the tank. The early start must have helped because there was some water pressure unlike when NB. Festina Lente filled the previous day and took an hour and a half to do so.

 Braidbar Boats have two fit-outs under way but the reason I took the shot was because of the paint job on Nb. Carina.  This boat has been painted by Andy Russell and the quality of the finish is simply stunning!

 As soon as we had filled with water off we go towards Marple.  Our experience of Marple from some five years ago were that the moorings are limited so we thought to look for a spot before the services because we know there is nowhere after that point.

 Goyt Mill looms over the canal as you enter Marple a fine relic of an industrial past long gone.  The Mill spun cotton and was built in 1905.  It operated until 1960 and in its hay day employed almost 500 people operating approximately 127,000 spindles.
Passing the mill we start to look for a mooring but no joy.  We press on to the offside service block and empty the nasties and top up the water again.  Fortunately of the three occupied moorings opposite the services one of them is occupied by Nb. Festina Lente and they are moving off to Bugsworth, result! 
Joe and Andy complete a bit of boat ballet and we swap places.

Boats swapped, Yarwood tucked into the space between two other boats and Festina Lente on the services getting ready to go off to Bugsworth.
We have had a wander around the town and got some money out of a hole-in-the-wall and tonight I am promised a Chinese takeaway from a place we tried with Jill and Graham years ago.  Salt an Chilli prawns coming up!