We’d sat on the same mooring for nearly three days, so the battery levels were dropping more than is good for them. Today promised to be dry and warmer than of late, so I suggested we should have a short cruise to top the batteries up. After having a look at the map, it seemed like we could go as far as Disley and back.
Clare had some additional shopping to do before we went, so it was nearly midday before we set off. The upper Peak Forest Canal is very pretty with spectacular views over the adjacent valley. I was amused by a sign on an adjacent cottage that looked like an expensive penalty for its time. I believe it is an LNER sign – the railway company once owned this canal.
This section of canal has three bridges that we needed to open. They all operated in different ways. The first required a windlass to wind up the hydraulic mechanism. Clare discovered that her fancy windlass doesn’t fit on the spigot. She had to come back to the boat for the basic one. Fortunately this mechanism requires stamina rather than strength. To lift the bridge requires winding dozens of times.
I hopped off for the next one ready with the windlass, only to discover that this one was a push button job. Once I’d found the post, all I needed to do was put my key in and press and hold the button. After Clare had gone through I pressed the other button and waited. After several attempts to get my key back, I re-read the graffito on the sign. Standing on the bridge finished the closing and I got my key back.
We reached the winding hole and turned without difficulty. By now it was time for lunch, so we picked a bit of bank to moor against. It turned out to be harder to reach the bank than we’d expected. At one point while trying to pull on the stern rope it popped off the dolly, dropping me to the ground. It was a short fall – no harm done – but I then had to get on to the bow with the rope to drive the stern in again. We managed a good enough mooring for lunch on a quiet canal and then headed back.
I hopped off suitably equipped for the bridge. As Clare approached I saw another boat behind, so I waved them through too. I walked ahead to get the next bridge ready. Clare handed me the windlass for the last one. I was wearing my Santa hat so I told the folk in the boat behind that the bridge opening was an early present.
As we got back to Marple the battery charge indicator reached 100% – perfect! We were also in time to partially refill the water tank and still moor up before sunset. Our previous mooring spot was occupied, so we are now just a little further from the bridge.