Sunday, 3 August 2014

Ducking - and a bit of diving

Saturday and Sunday, 2nd and 3rd August 2014

We left our mooring at Marple, just before the junction, at 0745 in an attempt to be first down the locks. A boat, Quackers, was still tied up where it was the previous night, seemingly on the lock landing.

We just squeezed in front in order to work the lock. As the lock filled (only the gate paddle in use - very slow) a man appeared on Quackers. I asked him about his choice of mooring, and he replied that he'd been told by CRT that it was all right to moor there. Oh well.

The locks of the Marple flight are deep. The sixteen locks lower/raise the canal by a total of 214 feet, that's an average of 13 feet 4.5 inches per lock. The bottom gates are correspondingly massive.

This one weighs more than two-and-a-half tonnes. And these are narrow locks.

Lock 13 has a lovely horse tunnel under the road.

At nearly every lock there's a small tail bridge. The balance beams swing right over these bridges, necessitating a lot of ducking while opening and shutting the gates.

Lock 9 gives an idea of the magnitude of the fall. Jubilee is perched what looks like a long way over the next pound.

Some of the locks are literally hairy! All right then, weedy.

As we paused for breath (and a few cups of tea) at the bottom a hen party came by on board Alice. Don't ask me what they were doing with the blow-up doll.

After we'd been for a walk down to the River Goyt we set off again, and immediately found ourselves crossing the same river on Marple Aqueduct, with the railway viaduct running alongside. The river was a long way down.

The town/village signs of Marple and Romiley both refer to the canal running through them. The Marple sign has a narrowboat crossing the aqueduct ...

... while that of Romiley features a boat in Hyde Bank Tunnel. It also shows the railway bridge by Romiley Station and St. Chad's church (where we went today).

For completeness here's Romiley's railway bridge ...

... and here's St. Chad's.

The "diving" reference in the title? While going across one of the narrow tail bridges to open a gate I slipped in the wet, landing on my left hand. I wasn't hurt for long. The weather, I should say, was mostly dry, but there were two or three heavy downpours. The bridge I slipped on was wet mostly on account of the full lock chamber leaking.

Tomorrow we plan to go to Sheffield by train - just an hour from here on a fabulous route through the Peak District - to visit Andrew and Bekka.

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