As we set off from Bosley to Bollington (that phrase has a From Galway to Gracelands ring about it, doesn’t it?), as already mentioned the first obstacle is the Bosley flight of locks. One odd thing is that – unlike most other locks – the top ends have two mitred gates like those commonly found at the the bottom, rather than the more usual single gate. And there’s no walkway on the top gates, so if you’re light crewed like Song & Dance there’s a lot more walking around the lock chamber to work the boat through. They’re also deep, so the paddles are often stiff, and the gates leak like a sieve, so even if someone had just come down leaving a lock in your favour it didn’t stay that way for long.
So – remembering to hate people who start sentences with “so” – with uninspiring weather and no time for much else, we headed off without camera in hand, and made it to the top by lunchtime rather out of breath. There’s a bit of a gap between the penultimate and ultimate lock, and we saw our friend Betelgeuse and tug stuffed in the reeds and undergrowth. Guess that’s as far as they got before running out of daylight or post work enthusiasm or lockwheeling helpers.
The top lock is something of a CaRT visitor/showcase spot. The gates are all freshly painted, and properly balanced to move easily, the paddles are all greased and easy to operate, and the gates didn’t leak. I guess most visitors don’t walk down to see how decrepit the others locks are. Cynical? Moi?
After lunch, we didn’t go a great deal further, and stopped at the visitor moorings at Gurnett Aqueduct. These look nice and suitable, but the rings are set far too far apart, and the cut there being a concrete trough, banging mooring pins in without running ropes crossing the towpath can be entertaining. Not.
A fellow boater had suggested that Sutton Hall was a good place to eat, and so it proved. An old manor house, convent and one time home of Lord Lucan, it’s now a large pub/restaurant with loads of different rooms, nooks and crannies, and excellent food. The entrance is just off the canal, and approached by quite a long winding drive between two large fields full of sheep.
After a splendid meal, we were walking back down the drive in the dark, wondering what the strange subterranean rumbling sounds that we could hear were coming from. Shining a torch into the field showed several sheep close by the fence, lying on their sides, fast asleep, and to a ewe, snoring gently. Never knew sheep snored: reckon there’s an idea for a Bach Cantata there…