Tuesday 26th July 2016 nb:Black Bart & crew are rightly recovering this morn after yesterday’s ridiculous cruise. When eventually arisen & abluted Bart is readying for the off. Lister chugs into life on the first time of asking. As always. This old gem has only failed seldom & then, only due to incorrect human intervention or failings.
We have cruised for an hour swimming the latter eastern stretches of the Ashton Canal, shepherding our craft to Ashton-under-Lyne where we flow into Portland basin at Dukinfield Junction where we change tack, now heading South over the River Tame aqueduct & join the shallow waters of the Peak Forest Canal.
Soo Many Trees. Every which way we turn. Wonderful. So Many shades of Green. Soon after joining this waterway wonder crew is called upon to raise a big lift bridge. Only a tittle windlass is required to turn the winding mechanism. Hard work. Fantastic job. Cheers !!
Stay in line guys.
pigeon is watching.
Butch looking fella ain’t he. Woodn’t mess with him.
Do like a quality bit of brickwork with some fine stone masonry thrown in for good measure.
Love the stonework construction of these wonderful bridges on the Peak forest Canal. So curvy wurvy. Delightful !! Lovely looking girl too.
The green leafiness & canal architecture just keeps getting better & better. Quite simply Enchanting !!
Woodley Tunnel is an almost tiny 167 yards short. Single line one way traffic only. Handy with the towpath continuing through the tunnel. Quite rare on the canals & tunnels traversed by Bart up to date. Just as we exit the darkness back into the green-ness there is an almighty thump below the stern.
Water sploshes up,
coming through the ‘key’ hole
towards the back of the
weed hatch access plate in the apron.
(the steelwork below helmsperson’s feet)
(photo not from immediately after the incident)
We still have propulsion & steerage. Bart pulls-over for investigation. With the apron plate removed we find the clamping cross-bar holding the actual weed hatch plate in position above the propellor is loose. Summit has gone wrong here. Skip has visited this ‘venue’ a fair few times in recent days. It was certainly tightened last time. The securing screw is still tight. Weird ! The screw & cross-bar are removed. Nothing blatantly obvious incorrect here. Even stranger. nothing down in the water. Nothing obstructing the prop, shaft or the rudder. All checked & re-assembly commences. All back in position, screw tightened up. Cross-bar still loose. Weirder !! Taken off again. Cross bar appears OK. Soon realise the thread on the screw which is cut only soo far down the screw shaft runs out before the screw locks the cross-bar into position. Summit has obviously been moved/bent a tittle. The cross-bar was always bent and positioned ‘bend down’ to ‘aid’ clamping, pushing against the bend. What ever was down there in the water thumped it very hard, as we heard, & felt. The cross-bar is turned over & re-assembled again. This time we have some positive clamping. Good. slightly concerned that the screw wants to keep screwing, not wanting to go really tight as expected. As usual. Decide to stop screwing, just in case we damage the thread. That would not be good. Tis a bit of a loose thread anyway. Not manufactured to the highest of tolerances. Technically, wot we call a sloppy fit. Hold of breath & we reconvene our cruise. No unpleasant noises or feelings at the helm. No water trying to burst up from below. That would happen if the weed hatch plate is not secured properly. Could have unpleasant results if all is not right & correct down there below one’s feet (& toes of course). Onward my friends & bloggets, we go. Forward. Oh !! & stop holding that breath Skip. Relax. Breath out.
A very wide bridge. Almost an’udder tunnel. Just a tittle one. Bart has had enough. We have been travelling longer than expected after our long old jaunt & climbings-a-many of yesterday. Need to find a good mooring position. Narrow & bendy this lovely water certainly is. Tree lined. Engulfed really. Not ideal mooring options throwing themselves at nb:Black Bart & crew.
Bart creeps roand yet another bend in the growing gloom of the overhanging monsters. Suddenly there be light. An opening in the foliage all encompassing above. A lovely, ideal straight with good towpath, decent grass, firm (concrete) bank. Ideal. The ground is plenty firm too. Good for Bart’s hefty metal ‘Pins’. Four Mooring pins hammered in & lines secured. Perfeck ! !! !!! Romiley is aboat where we is tonight.
Wednesday 27th July We decide to cruise for a third day in a row. Unusual for Bart World 2016. Not always the case in the past.Slow start though. Previous days have taken their toll. We are organised & ready for mid-morn. Just before Lister is awoken we is talking to a chap in his garden, tuther side of the canal. We ‘ave a right-old chitty chat. Nice fella. Some while later, Lister fires up & Bart is propulsioned steadily forward. Within only a few minutes Bart is cruising 308 yards of Hide Bank Tunnel darkness
And soonly after the brighter ‘roofless’ Rose Hill Tunnel. A land slip caused the roof to collapse at an unrecorded date between 1849 and 1888. A previous, ‘major earth slip’ occurred in 1833 near Rose Hill Tunnel, known as the Gaskell Wood Slip. Bank reconstruction and the building of supports to counter any further slips obviously failed to provide the long term support hoped for. We like the ‘new’ ‘airy’ format. Tis very narrow though. Sumwot cosy. We is not too perturbed by such details.
Almost immediately after the tunnel, the Marvellous Marple Aqueduct stretches out before us. The highest canal aqueduct in England and the highest masonry-arch aqueduct in Britain. Most impressive.
Twere built to carry the lower level of the Peak Forest Canal across a length of the River Mersey that was renamed the River Goyt in 1896. The equally impressive railway viaduct ‘next door’ was constructed sixty five years after the aqueduct.
Where on earth ?? What on earth ?? Bemused !!! !! ! Where is our helmsperson ??
Under the choo-choos coming off the viaduct, an’udder tittle bridge, & an hour after departing our overnight stop nb:Black Bart & crew of three have arrived at Marple Locks.
A flight of sixteen narrow, deep chambers lifting the Peak Forest Canal’s waters over 208 feet (work out the ‘toes’ yourself) (can’t do it all the time for you) in little over a mile. The North & South sections of the Peak Forest Canal were opened to navigation by 1796. Both approximately six & half (ish) miles long. Insufficient money was available to complete the necessary flight of locks to connect the two halves, and a temporary tramway was installed until such time as the locks could be completed, which finally happened in 1804. A-maze-ing !!
No boats waiting. No boats descending. nb:Black Bart goes for it. Time to ascend.
Upper Ground paddle opened. We may have problem. We is not going up. Staying put. There is a not insignificant hole in one of the bottom lock gates behind Bart. A volunteer lock keeper appears. Turns out the ground paddle is damaged & doesn’t work. Sum moron has let it drop which has broken the connecting/link shaft below the water line. Nice one. Idiot !!! Lock keeper ‘calls in’ the problem. Engineers will be arriving later in the day. Will have to drain the pound between Bottom (1) Lock & Lock 2 to repair the damage. Our super helper decides we can try & fill the lock with our craft inside by opening the gate paddles. Just a tittle bit. NOT a good idea to open upper gate paddles on any lock (let-alone a deep lock) until the water level is quite high, from using the ground paddles first. People have sunk boats in locks doing this thoughtlessly &/or carelessly. Can-nee do that ‘ere mate. Aaaarrrggh !!! Pirates like we & Our Cap’n ‘Black Bart’ can cope with this. Hole in bottom gate. Leaking gates anyway & slow cautious filling from slightly open upper gate paddles. It takes ONE hour to raise Bart 13 feet to the top of the lock chamber. That’s OK. At least we did it. THANKYOU LOCK KEEPER ! !! !!! You Are A STAR ! !! !!!
Our Chappie is off to empty locks ahead of us to assist further with our progress. Lock 2 is empty. Skippet opens the bottom gates ready. Bart gets stuck in the pound between bottom lock & lock 2. Water level is very low. Skippet opens upper paddles on lock 2 to flow moor liquid into the pound. THANKYOU. Bart reverses off the mud bank and swishes across the pound making for lock 2. What Fun !! Skippet is signalling aboat summit. Skip stops Bart half way into the lock. There is an exuberant leak form the lock side wall. Likely will flood forward well are.
Cratch cover is pulled down
& closed to minimise
too much water ingress
Back at the helm,
Skip brings Bart in fully.
Bart’s LOVLEY Cover
the enthusiastic water flow
Fantabulous !! !!! !!
Bart & crew work together to make steady progress climbing through lock after lock. All the pounds are low but with Skippet exercising her usual magnificent lock keeper skills pounds are re-flowing to permit our deep draughted wonder of a narrowboat to swim through with little problem.
As we climb higher & higher the views across the valley & surrounding countryside are Absolutely Glorious !!! !!!
Interesting sights of fine canal architecture & beautiful sky.
Fine stone buildings every which way.
Apart from the watery (waterless really) problems this tall flight of sixteen locks are strikingly fan-tab-u-lus!
We is making our final approaches through the rapids. White water again.
Marple Junction greets Black Bart
& crew as we cruise out of top lock.
The Macclesfield Canal starts here,
Off to the right, heading South towards the
Trent & Mersey Canal & Stoke-on-Trent.
Phew !! Poor Skippet. Lock Keeper Extraordinaire.
Going to ache tomorrow or very soon after.
Bart heads straight on heading for the southern reaches of our current waterway companion, the Peak Forest Canal.
We are looking for a ‘perfect’ berth for our Bart. What few there are ‘ave already been ‘nicked’ Onwards Bart Swims. We cover moor distance than intended
Turflea Lift Bridge (22) appears in front of us. Shortly after bridge 23 we negotiate the easiest electric operating ‘Wood End’ Lift Bridge (24) Up, through & back down again. THEN. There is ‘our’ position. Directly ahead. Unfortunately filled by an’udder narrowboat. Fantastic view over the valley. On we go. Passing high hedgerows obstructing that magnificent view. Thick & fast they be. Now the manual Higgins Clough Swing Bridge (25). We creep on…..
We try & moor here, but unfortunately cannee moor Cap’n Bart. Water far too shallow. On we go. Cruising roand a bend a short way on, past a moored boat an oncoming boat seems very slow to see Bart & react to the situation. This is a narrow canal. Not much room for two boats trying to pass a moored craft, particularly when it is not a straight section of canal. Not sure how we missed him. Must have been millimetres. Not even a toe’s width. Helmsman does not seem particularly bovered aboat the ‘close’ incident. Few sighs & deep breaths by Bart & crew. Not much further & Finally we moor. Not too bad a position. Pleasant peoples on boat just behind our eventual berth. They have a very large dog on board. An Alaskan Malamute. He is enormous. A BIG Softy. Lovely. Our Berth be in the delightfully named Disley. Time for crew to Chill……
Thursday 28th July Caio. Far too much cruising recently. Far too much stress & strain on mind & body. & it is very wet. Persistently Precipitation-ly soggy. Soggy goes nowhere near how soggy it actually is. Staying put. ‘Staying in’. Black Bart Rests. Crew Rests & recovers. A Tittle.
That be Eeyore the donkey (trying to hide in the long grass) who been “hee-hawing” loudly in the field below Bart. He wake up every so often & decide he want to shout out to anybody aroand, who might on the off-chance want to listen to his occasional unwise words.
Friday 29th July It still be wet out here, but only a trifle drizzly, on & off. Soonest we cruise there be smelling almost sickly sweetness in the air. The canal takes us between Newtown on t’right/East & New Mills (West) where, overlooking the ripples, Swizzels Matlow are ‘baking-up’ their child-friendly tittle magnificences. Just treats though. Not one of their five-a-day.
Drizzle has been moor enthusiastic for a while. finally backing off. Very murky out here & there, in them hills. As we be trogging along this wonderful waterway we are negotiating a right hand bend, with reeds adorning the starboard side of the waters we swimming. Bart, as some you might know is ‘quite’ long. Bart cannot ‘cut’ corners so-to-speak. Skippet is on the bow as ‘look-out’. Helmsperson has reduced speed to ‘slow’ Reason being we cannee see roand corners/bends cap’n Bart. Aaaarrrggh !!! Unfortunately there be an’udder narrowboat coming round the bend towards us. Bart is put into reverse & revs increased to slow down 24 tonne of metal as quickly as is possible with these wonderful old engine/gearbox (yes we have one of each of these) controls available to the helmsperson. As the water is shallow the sudden reversing technique (no other option here unfortunately) part-works against us. The bow swings to the left (port) as the stern pulls right (starboard) as we try & slow to a stop. The (no bow look-out) oncoming boat does not seem to slow quickly enough. Obviously travelling quicker than Bart in the first place. Neither of us have anywhere else to go. Skip holds breath & ‘clenches’ teeth. BANG !! The Button fender on Bart’s bow hits the side of oncoming boat’s bow. Could have been worse. Fortunately no damage done to either boat. Think one’s memory is correct in saying we have never hit another craft until this incident. Including pre-Bart cruising in ‘oliday hire narrowboats. Not a pleasant experience. At least we now knows it was all our fault. If only we had been crushing through the middle of all the reeds (info – not possible for those that do not know) instead of being in ‘his’ part of the canal. Obviously not fully aware of basic geometry &/or boat manoeuvring of long ‘tings round corners. Skippet thinks he was the one moaning when following the boat cruising slowly past when we were moored yesterday. Shouldn’t be surprised. The ignorance of some people. See, you just can’t get away from them. Even here, in Bart World. On the waterways of our wonderful country.
Carrs Swing Bridge (30) leads Bart & the following convoy of three past a fair number of permanent moorings & a small marina.
Roxy want to know where ‘mummy’ has gone…..
As we eventually start to leave all the moored craft behind the ‘chappy’ from two boats back is shouting for Bart to move over, which we can now do to let her behind us & him behind her to pass. Even though Bart then gets stuck in the mud. Shallow water matey. Apparently We were creating ‘carnage’ behind us due to our slowness. Think this person needs to check that one in his dictionary. It were pointed out to this pleasant chap that we had been cruising past many a moored craft, which most people seem to forget to do at a proper slow (Tick-over) speed. We experience many a passing boater failing to cruise at the sufficiently leisurely, sedate pace whilst passing moored boats. Apparently he was having to put his boat into neutral ‘all the time’ which his boat ‘Does Not Like’. Shame that. He didn’t mind us letting him through the open swing bridge that Skippet had opened, as he followed us. Could have closed it so he’d have had to open it himself. Certain words jump to mind !!! !!! Re-name that boat ‘Miss-the-Point’. Just one moor of many to go on that list. Will send the list to all the necessary authorities. Start a petition online. This bugbear is really getting up ones’ nose now…. during our day’s rest yesterday we experienced the rare pleasure of a lovely narrowboat cruising by our neighbours astern & Bart of course, nice & slowly. Two boats where following them. One helmsman was expressing sum anguish at the slow speed of his convoy ‘leader’. Moron…. That’s all to say on the matter. An’udder for that list.
We are nearing the southern ‘tips’ of the Peak Forest Canal’s waters. A junction has materialised in the waterway. Bridgemont Junction indeed.
Whaley Bridge off to the right/South. Bugsworth Basin to the left/East. Bart chooses Bugsworth. Sounds interesting. As we make the final approach to the basin(s) we cosy our way through the gauging narrows before re-aqua-ering
& ‘pulling’ forward to a fine berth ont’South bank of Lower Basin, towards the far end. Luscious green green grass. Perfeck !! For us and especially our tittle girl, for playtimes. Slight problem. The ‘lovely’ Canadian Geese visit here all the time. They obviously do not use the facilities provided by the Bugsworth Basin Heritage Trust. Mess everywhere. Time to do some clearing up. Need to make this mooring even better. Took a while, but much better. Pooh has been cleared. Mostly.
Bugsworth is moor than just any old Basin.
This is a Very Special place in Canal History.
It is interesting to learn Buxworth village was originally called Bugsworth, from the Old English Bucga’s Worth (Bucga’s Enclosure). In the early 20th century residents who disliked the name of their village campaigned & successfully had Bugsworth officially changed to Buxworth on 16 April 1930. The ancient origins of the village name’s historical link to Norman times obviously not important to the locals. At least Bugsworth Basin ‘still is’.
Crew of three take a walk roand the many different parts of Bugsworth Basin. Fascinating !! Then we stop for a taste of fine ale in the Navigation Inn. Dogs are welcome. Roxy is Very Welcome & becomes centre of attention like usual. She’s clever like that.
A Most Wonderful Day has been enjoyed by Black Bart & friends. We mustn’t forget the crew too. Sorry not too. Crew of three. Goodnight. Ciao for now…..
Saturday 30th July Hello Bloggetts. We have a fine bright start to the day. Unfortunately the clouds are soon rolling in, darkening moor than just the horizon. A hint of rain is short lived, thankfully. Had moor than our fair share of that type of water in past weeks. Past months to be pedantic. A walk to find foody stores is successful. Keep forgetting we don’t have a vehicular in the carpark. Not even Bart is there. Makes for tiring return to Bart & Roxy. Arm lengthening exercises as part of the deal. Roxy goes for a walk to find a nice field. Very interested in her ball all the way there. Then no interest at all when actually arrived there. Silly Poochy. Back on Bart for an afternoon & evening of reading, knitting, blogging (you won’t believe the time this takes) listening to music, etc… etc… ensues. & Listening to first two parts of a radio play. “Smiley’s People” . Great story. Wow !! Is that the time. amazing how that stuff just flies……….
Sunday 31st July Well tis the last day of the summer month of July 2016. An Amazingly Incredible Wonderful waterway chugging it has been for all of us here on our merry craft. Barge sum call her. Longboat, others. We know different. Tis a cloudy day with a tittle sun here & there. A day for chillin’ is what we ‘ave ‘ere. Aaaarrrggh !! Pirates need these resty sort of days once in a while. Tis true.
Monday 1st August Cannee believe we is arrived in the month of August 2016 already. How time flies when thee(s) ‘as been enjoying thow selves. Tis an’udder grey day in this ‘summer’ of ours. The forecast suggests we is likely to receive some wet stuff from d’sky not until int’evening. Up early, Skippet applies resin wax & buffs Bart’s cabin, starboard side. As that be the side our tittle craft be moored. Skip finally crawls out of the pit. Looking Goooood !!! BART. Not skip. Bart’s hull sides are sumwot ‘scuffed’. Doesn’t matter how careful we be during manoeuvres our poor Bart keeps getting nasty looking marks. Must be them ‘orrible’ lock chamber tings. The rope fenders scuff the ‘blacking’ too when mooring & such tings. Skips works along scrubbing (lightly) along the water line to clean off the staining & freshen up the black paint. T’old washing up bowl is found, rinsed & Nice ‘fresh’ water straight from the galley cold tap with a light meagerly sprinkle of the wet soapy stuff are applied to this red container. Skip is soon washing off our craft’s bow area including the gas locker & then works one’s way along the (moored) starboard side’s gunnel (gunwale ??) down to the waterline. Then we is ‘aving a tittle light rain. That’s not supposed to ‘appen. Doesn’t last too long. Twas only fine. Not too heavy. We await improved brightness after the rain leaves us. Fortunately duth arrive & the Multiforte black paint tin is opened. Skippet exercises those amazing brush handling skills. The fore & gas locker is both looking mighty-fine again. Just as Bart’s side is receiving the required tlc the rain re-appears. Oh ! Bover !! Doesn’t last long though so skippet is soonest back out there swishing that brush this way then that way. Progress is impressively quick. Speedy many bystanders is likely to say.
Tis almost late afternoon but we decide to walk & take in some fresh country air. The whole crew of three (yes, eight legs) (you work it out) walk back to the canal junction, crossing tuther side to head south to the udder ending. The rain has returned & is moor persistant, but Who Cares !! The junction’s horse tunnel crossing under the Bugsworth arm allowed these four legged tow-trucks to easily transfer across the junction to continue back to their hauling of boats to where this water is now taking us, Whaley Bridge & said namesake’s canal basin. Not on the same grande scale as Bugsworth, but then not many are. Probably best not to bring Bart along here as the water gets very bumpy under this bridge.
Dating back to 1865 Goyt Mill was the largest one room weaving mill in England. Unfortunately, the work & the building have now gone. Whaley Bridge Basin was very important, creating a crucial link between the Cromford & High Peak Railway and the Peak Forest Canal.
The Mechanics Institute, built in 1876 is one fine building still with us. The many, varied style of stone buildings witnessed in this part of the world in past days are fine indeed. Yes they are. Although the telephone boxes do not appear to have a working speakery-into-thingery any moor. Although still looks nice.
A fine looking
‘Big Bird’ is strutting his stuff
as we is returning our way
back to Bugsworth Basin &
Bugsworth Basin has been an appreciably Fine place to be berthing for a few days. Forty eight hour mooring here but not been busy & as rules allow, Bart pays a fine (generous donation) to the trust for the pleasure of using their fine facilities. If thow never has, then yow should correct that case, at the opportunity that is earliest for all. Come here to Bugsworth that is what Bart tells.
Tuesday 2nd August After Lister is checked & udder tings are sorted crew are ready to say our goodbyes to Bugsworth.
nb:Black Bart is aboat to leave our chosen mooring of past days, near the end of Lower Basin. The favoured reversing technique is now required to get out of ‘ere.
As we extract ourselves out of the ‘lower basin’ the wind is not helping. Not going to wind Bart roand ‘ere. probably too tight anyhows. After a tittle difficulty we is moving forward again, passing the ‘lower basin arm’, following the curvy wurvy route through ‘the wide’. Did consider trying to wind ‘ere but not sure and is sumwot gusty at the mo.
Bart swings roand into & through the ‘middle basin’, finally through the bridge
into the ‘upper basin’, where the trees on one side & the high wall on’tuther are affording some protection from that very strong breeze. OK Here Goes……
That went better than expected. Surrounding protection very helpful.
Bart back roand to the facilities block again, by the entrance to ‘our’ ‘lower basin’ for a much needed drink after quite an acceptable game of patience.
Bart spies incoming pirates. Roxy makes chase. It’s Ok. Bart’s Friends. Not Foe.
An hour & a half after Lister gunned into life, we are carefully negotiating the squeezy ‘gauging narrows’ & through to the junction,
turning North & heading for good old Disley. Through a plethora of swing & lift bridges, although not a real contender for the Leeds & Liverpool Canal traverse what seems like yonks-ago.
Goyt Vally – River Goyt Railway Viaduct, Torrs Riverside Park,
New Mills, Peak District. Tremendous engineering, construction & architecture
Del Boy & You Plonker have moved to new digs & Bart is off to the Big Sweet Shop again. After many Leagues & a few Furlongs crew eye a luscious green,
Super Mooring for Bart & crew tonight
with incredible views across the Goyt Valley.
Wednesday 3rd August Good morning bloggetts. Today we find the weather is a pleasant mix of various cloud formations, different shades of grey, glimpses of blue sky with lovely hot sun, occasionally, a tittle rain & very strong winds. Bart decides this is a hunkering down sort of day. Skippet & Roxy are off for a walk into Marple. Only aboat a mile North of Bart’s Berth.
As our (reduced) crew of two make their way past the upper locks on their return from town the lock pounds are awful. As good (bad) as empty.
Some person(s) (fools) have left a number of lock paddles half open, draining several of the pounds between locks in the upper section of the Marple lock flight. Somehow, Bart’s crew manages to operate paddles, without a windlass (Not easy) & water starts to flow through & into the right places. Crew from a narrowboat ascending the lock flight then appear (with windlasses) offering with further assistance, in refilling the pounds.
Roxy successfully supervises proceedings from the comfort of her favourite bench.
Thursday 4th August nb:Black Bart, Lister, old prop & (unnamed) friends + the crew of three are all upped & readied. All those usual personal & boaty tings have been sorted as is necessary. Lister jumps enthusiastically into a pleasant warmly chug-chug. A Wonderful, comforting mechanical sound if ever there were one. Bart slips fore & aft lines, old prop slowly swishes the Peak Forest waters
for aboat half an ‘er
as Bart glides North
to Marple Junction.
nb:Black Bart makes a successful, bump free & safe turn out of the shallow waters of the Peak Forest Canal into the shallow waters of the Macclesfield Canal. See you all there….
Our recent waterway ‘highways’, being the Ashton Canal, the Peak Forest & the new-bee ahead of us were all abandoned over fifty years ago. Only through determined campaigning & the huge physical efforts of many many people & organisations are we soo luckily able to enjoy these waters having been re-opened in 1974. FANTASTIC ! !! !!!
Black Bart has cruised South to Bugsworth/Buxworth & Whaley Bridge from Ashton-under-Lyne at Dukinfield Junction, swimming 15 miles of the scenic & tranquil Peak Forest Canal, crawling through two dark tunnels, gliding through one bright, roofless ‘open’ tunnel, ascending 16 deep & narrow lock chambers, sailing over the River Tame, Wilson Brook, Apethorn Lane, Hatherlow, Chadkirk, River Goyt, Railway line, Strines Brook, Furness Vale, Furness Brook, Bridgemont Junction towpath, River Goyt (again) in 12 strange channels called aqueducts, Swimming under three lift bridges, swishing by two swinging bridges & passing under 45 (+ 19 on return North) ‘fixed’ bridges.