Friday 13th November; Dunhampstead to Astwood Locks
It rained overnight and was pouring at daybreak so we took our tea back to bed. By 9.30 the sun was out and after a quick loo at Nicholson’s we decided to go down past Oddingley before turning back. But the clouds were looming and soon it was waterproofs on as the first sharp shower blasted in. The rain wasn’t too heavy but the wind was very strong. In between the showers the sun was out and there was a splendid rainbow over Dunhampstead. Soon afterwards we saw a kingfisher too.
Oddingley still has a signal box, though it is now occupied by a crossing keeper who operates the manual level crossing. The box is scheduled for demolition as it will become redundant when the crossing is fitted with automated barriers. This was supposed to have happened this summer but it is still there, with its keeper in attendance. A quick search didn’t find out the latest news, but it appears a ‘suitable recipient’ for the signal box was being sought. Anyway it’s still there at the moment.
We turned in the winding hole between Oddingley and Tibberton. The wind made it hard to start with, then easy as it caught the front of the boat and pushed it in the right direction. The showers had blown away by now and we could feel the sun warm on our backs as we retraced our
steps route. The wind was strong enough for us to look askance at the angle of these trees as we passed beneath them.
As we returned towards Dunhampstead we noticed the large amount of mistletoe in the trees. Some was high up, such as behind the church;
and some low down in hedgerow trees such as this lot in a hawthorn. At least I think it was a hawthorn – it was hard to tell.
It was getting on for lunchtime as we passed Hanbury Junction and we went on towards Astwood locks where we moored in a patch of sunlight a few hundred yards short of the bottom of the flight. The weather deteriorated quite quickly and by mid-afternoon it was cold, grey and windy, with occasional showers. We soon lit the fire and had a cosy evening.
I had an interesting comment today on a blog post from July, when we were moored at Moore on the Bridgewater canal. I had gone for a run to have a look at the Manchester Ship canal and came across an interesting pair of gateposts with horse heads atop. They looked a bit grand for what seemed to be a long drive to not a lot.
Just thought you might like to know that the Horse heads in Moore are at the gates of what used to be a Royal Artillery Heavy Anti Aircraft Battery Camp during WW2. Former Prime Minister Ted Heath confirms in his memoirs that he was stationed at Moore Lane Camp during his time in the Armed Forces.
Five and a half miles, no locks, Dunhampstead tunnel.