Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Green fields at last!

Sunday 12th and Monday 13th July; Castlefield to Dunham Woodhouse

Gosh it was noisy last night with late night revellers going home, but they didn’t keep us awake for long.  Perhaps the rain helped there.  By the time we were up and about it had stopped, and we were ready to go by 10. It’s a smashing mooring here in the shade when it’s hot and sunny, and not (usually) too noisy.

1 castlefield mooring

It wasn’t an easy turn at the end of the basin as boats were moored on both sides, but we made it, then had to make a brief stop by the car park opposite to pick up Megs ball.  It’s bright orange (a lucky find on a towpath last trip) which meant I could see it languishing in the empty car park.  Presumably some late-night reveller picked it up from the roof and thought it they’d have a bit of a laugh and chuck it over there.  If that’s the worst vandalism we have to cope with we’ve no complaints!  The area by Merchant’s Bridge, where we moored on our last visit, is quite a mess with the works going on.

2 works3 works

It was cold to start with, no sun and the wind funnelling up the canal.  Woolly hats for a while! When we came up this way in early May, the towpaths were being upgraded and the materials had been delivered canalside at bridge 97, where a hole had been knocked in the wall to provide access to the work boats.  Now the works have been finished, the wall has been rebuilt – and already covered in graffiti.  What a shame.

4 new wall graffitied

Right next to it, almost hidden by the vegetation, is a circular weir.  We could have stopped for a closer look … but didn’t.

5 circular weir bridge 97

As we neared the Old Trafford stadium, we noticed dozens of coaches in the car park opposite – then Dave spotted the great crocodile of people crossing the bridge for the Manchester United stadium tours.

6 flocking to stadium tour

Each person was carrying a yellow and black bag, the colours of the team sponsors Chevrolet. It must be part of the deal when the tours are booked. 

Meg was clearly delighted to be on the move again, ears pricked and nose whiffling as we left the city behind.

7 glad to be on the move

Once we’d passed Water’s Meeting, we met more and more boats heading back towards Manchester.   They mostly seemed to be people who’d had a nice weekend out and were heading back to their home moorings, with just a couple of hire boats among them.  We’d lost count by the time we had got to Sale – it was well into double figures.  We decided not to stop for lunch till we’d well and truly left the city behind, so we carried on to Dunham where we moored by Dunham Woodhouses underbridge.  What a lovely spot – greenery, a wide towpath, yellowhammers wheezing away and only the occasional plane and boat to disturb the peace.  Brilliant.

10 lovely mooring dunham

We relaxed for the afternoon watching the Wimbledon men’s final on TV.  Then Dave took Meg off in one direction to locate the farm shop (so conveniently behind the pub, he just had to check out the beer) while I went for a run in the other direction.  The moorings further along at Bollington were quite crowded, and the bit that wasn’t had the aroma from the sewage works wafting across.  We are definitely in the best place.

9 and a half miles, no locks, 3 and a half hours.


It rained on Sunday evening, and overnight, and was still wet in the morning.  We decided to stay put for the day, and after catching up with some of the weekend papers we rubbed down the window-frames in the saloon.  All the window-frames are showing the effects of condensation and so we’ll try and get them all done during the summer.

Eventually the rain stopped, and after lunch Dave cycled off to the B&Q at Sale to get some varnish.

1 dave goes to b and q

Meg and I walked up to Dunham farm shop, which is in a lane behind the Axe and Cleaver pub.  They had a variety of beef, pork and lamb, their own or local, and a few veg.  I bought some steak for tonight and some sausages – frozen, as our fridge isn’t too happy with this hot weather.  Although it might be that our 4-year-old batteries are showing their age.  Like the farm shop. a lot of the properties in the village are owned by the National Trust and have the same colour paintwork and style of house name boards.

2 dunham nt properties   3 dunham nt

On the way back I picked some raspberries I spotted by the towpath, just where the canal disappears on the right of the picture above.  Dave arrived soon afterwards and got the first coat of varnish on the windows.  I had forgotten to get the veg in the farm shop so I whizzed back on the bike, just getting back to the boat as the rain started again.

A good day not to be on the move.  We got some work done, and the steaks were very nice.  We had them with new potatoes, carrots and lightly cooked cabbage with a red wine and pepper sauce I devised.  Tomorrow we will continue south on our way to the Weaver.

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