Monday 3 October 2016

Fruits of the forest

With the sun promising a wonderful day, we much preferred the option of turning up the Macclesfield Canal, instead of continuing home through Harecastle tunnel. First it was the last lock of the Hill.

and then turn right through the archway onto the Macc.

Round another 90˚ turn, and we were cruising back along the top of the valley / cutting where we spent the last two days. Finally yet another turn (that's 270˚ now!) took us onto the aqueduct over the Trent & Mersey and away in a generally NNE direction.

It was a day and a setting for just going slowly. The first obstacle was a stop lock at Hall Green.

Now this lock struck me as odd in that the bottom end, which you enter in this direction, has only one gate, whereas the top end has a pair. Normally it's the other way round, though it's hardly going to matter on a stop lock, where the difference in water level is minimal. I don't yet know the rationale for single locks normally having one gate at the top and two at the bottom. I hope one of my readers will leave an explanatory note!

This section of the canal passes estates that we explored pretty thoroughly in the round-the-houses bus we caught to Little Moreton Hall a few days ago. It's all very different from a boat. Also different is the view you get of Mow Cop Castle off to the right.

It's a folly with some interesting historical aspects. We're thinking of walking up there tomorrow. But meantime there were other things on my best beloved's mind.

A bush full of elderberries not yet decimated by the birds is a fine prize and yielded a good crop. They combine excellently with Bramleys, with or without blackberries.

All that hard work meant it was time to moor up and have some sustenance. Most of the Macc is so shallow it's hard to get sufficiently tight to the side, but this place was just fine.


  1. I assume it's to do with weight. Bottom gates, being taller, are heavier than top gates - unless you split them into two. It must also be easier to make two mitred "half gates" able to withstand the water pressure than a single gate. Although most of the BCN seems to manage with single gates.

    Further up the Macc you'll find another anomaly: the Bosley flight has mitred top gates as well as bottom.

    1. Yes, I'm sure you're right, Halfie. I realised as I was mulling it over in bed that the bottom gates would always be much taller and heavier and this would account for it. Then I found in Nicholson's the reference to the Bosley locks as well. I didn't know about the BCN gates – we've only done a small part of the network.