Space Oddity

We had some locks to do today but a little way  to go. Much of the route is postindustrial with a few skips, broken windows and tumbledown walls to be seen, and the bridges were not as aesthetically pleasing as the ones in the Macclesfield canal, but there were some brightening scenes.


Mosaic under the bridge
Under bridge mural

There were a few fishermen it being a sunny Sunday. None had a big fish like the mural, but we saw some magnet “fishermen” landing an enormous torpedo shaped object about 4-5 foot long. We wondered if it was explosive. As we passed they shouted “Anyone want a gas cylinder?” Still don’t know if that’s explosive or not. Its’s surprising what ends up in the canal but also surprising what ends up in some people’s gardens.

We took in water before the locks


Baywatch model legs on the left and torso to the right, head in the centre
Bird models abound
A life size model of a goat in a garden as well as a gnome

Water was available by forking off towards the start of the Caldon canal, but it is not open so we could not continue up it. Since there was a wait at a water point for another boater to finish filling, Bryn and I went for a walk. There was a statue of the canal engineer James Brindley and I hoped to get near it and Shane suggested we could get to it across a nearby footbridge. That turned out to be a wild goose chase. We found houses and a care home but I think the statue was part of a little park like garden for the care home. We could not find a way through. It would be a nice seating place for the residents.


Inaccessible Statue of canal engineer

We had a further walk up to the park where we had moored. On returning I found Shane in conversation with the ship captain who had followed us through the Harecastle Tunnel, who regaled us with tales of dangerous places to moor including that park. Perhaps we were lucky that it was not a weekend night when we were there. It also seems that lone boaters are targeted by gangs. It hadn’t put him off boating though. He is quite a character and I expect we might meet him again tomorrow as we are going the same direction. 

 Shane reversed out to get to the locks and Bryn and I went out to do them. I was looking forward to it with my back feeling better. We took a while to open the first lock and Shane had heard that the gates were difficult from the Captain ( though  I must have done them before coming the other way) and suggested that his strength on these might be valuable, so I was driving the locks again. There are only 5 but they are a bit oddly aligned and so a bit awkward with a changing shape on the way in. Also reverse seemed to be not taking great effect in the next lock. At one I saw Bryn opening the gate and headed towards it, then saw Shane signalling to not come as they could not get the gate fully open. I was going to hover then saw I was next to a weir and I didn’t want to get stuck again so went well back. After a couple of attempts, Shane managed to clear the stick that was jamming the gate and  we rewarded ourselves with a late lunch after the last lock. They hadn’t been as quick and straightforward as I had expected.  The other thing I hadn’t expected was for Bryn to try red cabbage sauerkraut in his lunch and then take more!

Recently Shane had been talking about the local snack we had in this area and asking what it was called. I remembered they were called oatcakes but are actually like a pancake/ crepe but with some oats in. Shane hadn’t been sure they were called that but today we saw a punny boat providing proof it is a local delicacy, just not like a Scottish oatcake. If we had seen this earlier we might have had that for lunch but then Bryn would not have sampled sauerkraut. 

B’oatcake open for sales.

We have stopped at an easy mooring spot opposite houses without any strange models but a collection of real mallards on their lawn and another with a light display. Shane thought there was an emergency vehicle at first, when the lights went on after dark. Let’s hope we have a quiet night after all the scare stories from the Captain.