The morning after our sunny walk the snow began. The snowflakes were very large and wet. This marina had two large flags at the entrance, one with a bull and the other with the Yorkshire white rose, but we are not in Yorkshire. The marina had a Christmas flag flying – it is still flying today, we saw on our way back, perhaps it will fly all year since it is past the 12th day.
It didn’t snow long and it melted quite fast.We were able to set off. I was careful to wipe slush off the bow before climbing on to fend and push off when the turning became tricky. I didn’t risk jumping back on as the front is smooth and slippy, particularly when wet, but they were getting a pump out so weren’t going far, just on the other side of the canal – nice little walk along then under and over a bridge and I was able to find the sign to get round into the marina car park and get back to the boat. It is a surprisingly roundabout journey to the other side of the canal on foot.
We went a very short distance, past the grand house and along to the railings where Shane had spotted mooring rings. When we arrived a little snow was still there, but this morning it was lovely and sunny.
A short trip left time for hobbies and taking down the Christmas decorations. Knitting projects took up most of my time: researching patterns and yarns for a possible project, continuing knitting an on going pattern for a baby gift and developing and trialling the Roman shield pattern with Bryn. My second attempt is a better size but still want some refinement.
I have also found I am accepted into the Women on Barges FB group. It is an international group so there are photos of France and someone who was on an Antarctica trip as an artist. They have a feature of extra posts on different topics like art and craft and other hobbies on a Fridays so I can see me sharing the Hadrian’s wall project there.
Although sunny today it was still pretty cold. We continued up to the winding hole then turned and went towards the tunnel entrance. I warmed myself along the way by getting off at a bridge to investigate a standing stone or milestone that seemed to be on the bridge. It was not an accessible bridge as there was no road, just fields above. I had to climb up a steep grassy/muddy bank and pop over a broken fence to see it was a gate post, then scramble back and run to catch up with the boat at the next bridge.
We met a boat coming the other way with a woman dancing as they went along to keep warm. Bryn joined us shortly before the winding hole, having had a shower. It is even colder with damp hair, but he seemed in good spirits.
On the way back I could see Shane was cold so drove for a bit. He had a coffee. As we passed back along by the marina I saw that the Dutch looking barge was still moored there. I asked Shane to take a picture.
It has one of the chunky wooden tillers like the old work barges. I was beginning to get chilly myself so Shane decided to do the same trick of getting of at the next bridge by running to the next one and getting back on feeling warm enough to take the tiller again.
The only lock for us on this stretch was the stop lock. The Macclesfield canal has many fine stone bridges but there is a little metal footbridge just next to the canal boundary lock.
Bryn and I got off to do the lock and we saw there was a lot of sticks and rushes that had been gathered up by the bow of Bartimaeus. Using the boathook I dragged piles of the vegetation out of the lock. The woman we had seen dancing, came along as they were next in to the lock. She thought I was doing a good deed clearing the lock, but I had to admit I was only clearing what we had brought in.
After lunch we walked forward to check the mooring situation near the Harecastle tunnel, where we are booked in tomorrow. It was free so Shane went back to drive the boat down while Bryn and I used the time to go shopping. As we came back it started to rain and then the rain, when we were back at the boat turned into hail. It was nice to be back in the warm. Last time we went through the tunnel, it was August but tunnels don’t change temperature as much as the outside, so perhaps it will feel warm in there and we won’t care what the weather is like.