Thursday, 23 May 2013

The Macclesfield Canal

Well as the majority of this post has taken place on the Macclesfield Canal I thought it was only right to credit it as the title.

We've finished off the last stretch of the Trent and Mersey Canal that we’re doing for now, the southern length of it from Kidsgrove will have to wait for a few years until we start heading back down South again.
Came across a couple of new things in the process though, firstly were a stretch of narrow paired locks (about 25 of them along a 6 mile stretch and referred to as Heartbreak Hill) although with a choice of two, one was often empty so speeded things up a bit.
The second new experience was after making the turn onto the Macclesfield Canal that takes you over an aqueduct that crosses the Trent and Mersey Canal that we’d just travelled up. Here’s Nicky just lining up for the Aqueduct and then crossing with the Trent and Mersey Canal in the background.

Walked up to a place called Mow Cop that had a small fort or folly type thing although it wasn’t the best walk with the boys as it was largely by road. We’d also read about the Old Man of Mow and found him hiding a little distance away at the top. Apparently when they quarried the stone from here they left this column of stones that stand about 65’ high. Not necessarily all that clear by the photo, but you might be able to make out a face.
We stopped for about five days at Congleton, right on the embankment with an excellent outlook both to the East and West.
The main reason for stopping here was that we wanted to walk up to The Cloud that is a fell about 2.5 miles away and a 1,000ft up and it was well worth the effort.
I guess this is what you’d call unobstructed views and were in every direction.

Remembered the rug and a flask of coffee this time so stopped a while to enjoy the outlook and then the boys kept watch whilst we posed for the other photo.



Another nice walk was along a disused railway line (Biddulph Line) that's at the end of the embankment that went for about a mile or two towards the town centre or about four miles in the other direction and crosses into Staffordshire I think it was. Well worth checking out if you’re ever in the area.

There are just the thirteen locks on the Macclesfield canal, one that is just a stop lock close to the start of it and only adjusts the water level by a foot or so and the other twelve are bunched together over the course of a mile.

Nicky took us through the first six locks and actually did quite well on one of them, the rest of the time it was like a heavy rock drum solo with all the banging that was going on. Had the, ‘but I was caught by a gust of wind’ excuse and the ‘but it was a tricky access and then had to line it up’ excuse and then a change of tack from defensive to offensive and the ‘well you don’t do any better’ that we all of course no isn’t true . . . .

We’ve done quite well for us, we’ve travelled about fourteen miles in eleven days and are now just moored outside of Macclesfield. This puts us about half way along this canal so maybe the next blog will be a Macclesfield Canal Part II. Have to say that so far though it has been excellent, a nice scenic canal with good walks to be had.

Quick little ‘Cookery Corner’ before I go and aimed at those who like us have tried and failed to get Yorkshire Puddings to rise over the years. Fancied a Toad in the Hole for a change so looked for a recipe on good old t’internet and came across what seems to be an impossible to be successful at pudding mix.

The ingredients are:

1 Egg
82 grams of plain flour
100 ml of milk

Now you break the egg into a bowl. Sprinkle some of the flour onto the egg, mix, and repeat until all the flour's in there. Mix it with a fork though, not a whisk, as it just becomes a stodgy ball. Then gradually add the milk and by the time it’s all in, the mixture is fluid enough to give it a proper whisk, but only for a minute or so until you’ve got a nice even consistency and leave it to stand for an hour or so.

The recipe said to cook it for 25 minutes at gas mark 8, but I found this too long and too hot so I now only do it for about 15 to 20 minutes at gas mark 6. As usual, put the baking tin towards the top of the oven (not too high though as they do rise) with a little bit of oil for about five minutes to heat up before pouring in the batter and away you go.

As they say that the ‘proof is in the pudding’ (sorry for the pun) so here’s a picky of Nicky’s first attempt using my secret formula.

See, even after all these years of training her in the kitchen (taught her everything she knows as she couldn’t cook when I found her) there’s still something else to pass on.

Apologies for those of you who can already turn out good Yorkshire Puddings and I’ve bored you these last few minutes, but there maybe others who like us have struggled in the past. Anyway, if anybody should try this out, let me know how you get on.

And so in signing off,

Day 215 in the Badger Sett Narrowboat - 390 miles and 157 locks further on from when we started.


1 comment:

  1. Hi,some great pic's.We walked up to Mow Cop a few years ago and found it excellent.One disappointment though was the pub at the top was closed.We had been looking forward to our "reward" for our efforts.Take care,
    Fred & Lisa.