A Canal Bank TrotOctober 28th, 2010
A few Sundays ago, I made my way onto the banks of Macclesfield Canal with the idea of making some photos of it to improve on those that I already had. In addition, I also was entertaining the thought of making a loop that took in Pott Shrigley and doing the same for there. However, I ended up sticking with the canal all of the way to Marple where it joins the Peak Forest Canal.
The day was certainly the sort that would entice you out of doors and bright sunshine was warming too. Nevertheless, cloud was forecast to cloud over the sky in the afternoon and it duly did but not before I was delighted by the sights that I encountered. After getting rid of an irritating autumn cold, this was to be just the thing for getting me out in the fresh air again.
To get to the canal, I used a familiar route that took in part of the Middlewood until I rounded the perimeter of AstraZeneca’s manufacturing site to reach the canal. Unsurprisingly, there were others who had the same idea as I had. Nevertheless, things weren’t to get overly busy until I passed near to Bollington where a canoeing competition meant that walkers weren’t the only ones using the amenity.
It took a while after Bollington before things became quieter again and I could relax into an unperturbed gait. At this stage, I was still not fully decided on whether I’d call to Pott Shrigley or keep going along the canal at least as far as High Lane before making my way home again. Blue skies and bright sunshine added to indecision but I eventually chose to stick with the canal, albeit with mixed feelings.
Those doubts were to be banished by passage through delightful wooded areas, such as those around Middlewood, later on. Near Higher Poynton, the banks again became busy with many folk strolling along them but they, as always is the case with strollers, weren’t going far and I was to have quieter surroundings from which to survey the hill country around Lyme Park with Cage Hill being identifiable thanks to its folly. It was one reminder as to how high the canal remained even the surrounding countryside was much lower.
Cloud had usurped the sun by the time that I was plying the old towpath between High Lane and Marple. When travelling by bicycle to the aforementioned Lyme Park, had been along this stretch before and more than satisfied myself that it wasn’t the greatest of places to be cycling. It felt somewhat to be near built up areas and have so few people walking along at the same time as I was there but the space was welcome nonetheless. My legs were tiring by then anyway and I was keeping a close idea on the distance left to Marple train station. One hint was the numbers on the bridges over the canal that were counting down; they must have been numbered in the southbound direction from the junction with the Peak Forest Canal.
The sight of a mill in grotty condition to my right was another pointer to my journey nearing its end and the manicuring of the canal banks after this was in complete contrast. It was a reminder of how well kept its counterparts around Bollington and Macclesfield are in comparison. The condition of the canal surroundings itself acted as trigger for wondering as to how British Waterways can keep its waterways once it has transitioned from being a government to being a charity like the National Trust. A return at a time when Marple is sunlit seems in order after what I saw and I hope that things don’t go downhill from hill for the waterways.
Tired limbs pulled me around two bridges before I was by the side of the Peak Forest Canal and passing the locks that help to get boats up and down the incline. Along the way, I spotted a sign saying that it was 11 miles to Macclesfield. Had I really walked that far on a whim? That downward slope was nothing compared to that of the road leading from the canal to the train station. It was leading to the Goyt, yet another Cheshire river (and one that finds itself in the invention that is Greater Manchester these days) nestling in a deep sided valley. With the next train being an hour away, I chose the bus option to start on my way home, convinced that I must resume my outdoors excursions after something of a layoff.
Bus service 384 from Marple to Stockport and by train from there to Macclesfield.