Macclesfield – Kidsgrove.
Yesterday I had walked past Macclesfield for 2 or 3 miles to make today shorter., My taxi back to that point was waiting for me at 7.30am, a nice bloke – Polish of course. He had started work at 6am having driven from his home town of Bury. His main complaint with working in this country [he’d been here for 6 years] was our regional accents, he has difficulty with Scousers and thinks Glaswegians sound Chinese. I can sympathise.
The Macclesfield Canal has some lovely features. The original milestones were hidden in the war to confuse any invaders. The Canal Trust has restored as many as possible as well as some 1/2 mile stones.
The canal is known for its several ‘roving bridges’ with spiral ramps for the horses to avoid unhitching when changing tow-path sides. Also known as ‘snake bridges’ they are of beautiful construction. Just think about the logic behind their beautiful design.Rural Cheshire countryside passed by but the surrounding hills of Macclesfield Forest were invisible. Several properties had their own moorings. I got to thinking whether when they wanted a shopping trip do they take the boat or a canoe down to Tescos?
Soon I was at the top of the12 Bosley Locks taking the canal down 118ft. Bosley Cloud from where the stone was quarried was in the cloud somewhere. The locks had an ingenious function of half emptying into side tanks which saved water when refilling for the next boat. The urban side of Congleton appeared out of the mist. My hope for a hot drink was dinted when I realised the town centre was a good distance, however when I emerged onto the road there was a sandwich shop and they kindly found me a seat whilst I enjoyed tea and a freshly baked pastry. They were very friendly and were baking some wonderful food for the steady stream of customers coming to take away. Deserves a mention.
There was a fine aqueduct and restored wharf as I left Congleton.The countryside round here is undulating and one has to marvel at the canal engineers skill of keeping dead level for miles. Quite a few aqueducts are crossed looking down onto roads or streams far below. One cannot really appreciate their architecture from up here but to drop down at every one for a better view – well I haven’t got all day.
A row of drilled stone stanchions borders the canal, presumably connected by wire hawsers at one time. Further on are the more elegant railings at Ramsdell Hall where the canal cut across their front lawn, a kind of Ha-Ha. They have recently been restored to their former glory.The Macclesfield Canal continued for another 5miles, I was offered free coffee and biscuits at a canal side cottage, I must have been looking bedraggled. On through one small last lock to eventually cross the Trent and Mersey Canal [which I’ll follow for the next couple of days] and did a dog leg into complicated basins in Kidsgrove. Think I have walked into Staffordshire – the accents are different.