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  • clivenmel

Sept 19th - weekend

Normal 0 false false false st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} After leaving our overnight mooring following our visit to Little Moreton Hall, we headed off towards Congleton.  The scenery was just lovely as we cruised along.  We finally arrived at a super place to moor, it was a newly redeveloped area called Lime Wharf, where the old canalside buildings had been refurbished into lovely apartments and also new buildings tastefully designed to blend in with the old - it was really lovely.  We set about tidying up the boat and making a bit more space in readiness for our visitors.  Then we went for a walk to see if we could find somewhere for the kids to park the car to unload and ended up finding a Fish and Chip shop - oh dear!  They were absolutely yummy!!  We found a nice little culdesac which a guy recommended to us as a safe place for the car to be left overnight. The following morning we set off in the other direction to find the shops and ended up in Congleton itself - there was a Morrison's - yipee!  So we stocked up on a few bits and pieces and then caught a bus back up to where the boat was moored.  The kids finally arrived around 12.15 and it was lovely to see them, especially Indeia, our granddaughter, who we hadn't seen for weeks as she had just been on holiday to America with her mummy.  She was delighted with her lifejacket and fortunately was happy to wear it. We spent the afternoon cruising and Vicki helped with the long flight of locks we had to pass through, which made the work much easier and quicker. We cruised for a few hours in glorious sunshine with great views over the Cheshire Plains, passing Jodrell Bank radio telescope in the hazy distance; Gareth managed to see it through the binoculars whilst standing on the roof!  We came to our overnight mooring stop at a little hamlet called Oakgrove which sits on the canal and the main Macclesfield to Leek road. There is an excellent country Inn called the Fool?s Nook at the junction and we all had a splendid meal to celebrate Vicki?s birthday! Sleeping 4 adults plus a 3 year old was a new jigsaw puzzle and meant a bit of re-arranging but eventually all was well and we all survived OK.   The morning was to have been a short 2 hour cruise to Macclesfield where Vicki, Gareth & Indeia were to part with us and get a taxi back to Congelton and the car?   However, the first obstacle was an electrically operated swing bridge that was just 100 yds away from the mooring; we knew it was there and had prepared to stop traffic (with apologies etc..) and set off with all good intentions. When a fellow boater volunteered to help out so they could follow us through, we readily agreed. However, the electrical controller had a dizzy-fit, froze the computer and locked her key! Now we were all stuck with no way to operate the bridge. Other would-be bridge uses from other boats started to arrive and it was clear we needed professional help ? the man from British Waterways arrived in about 30 mins and spent a lot of time pushing buttons, opening cabinet doors, peering at fuses and various arcane circuitry to no avail. We suggested a bigger hammer - he smiled indulgently?   Eventually he managed to re-set the thing and finally got it to swing open. There was an almost mad dash through the gap in fear of it throwing another wobbler and we all piled through.   Of course by this time, it was too late for our Sunday 2 hr cruise so the kids all left in a taxi from the Fool?s Nook instead ? still it was really great to have them visit and I?m sure it won?t be the last.. We decided to push on and cruised all the way through Macclesfield and out into open country once more. We passed Woodford Aerodrome from where old Lancaster and Shackleton aircraft made their inaugural flights. All the way to the west of the canal is Middlewood Way, a beautiful rambler?s footpath that accompanies the canal for much of it?s time here all the way up to the borders of Greater Manchester.   To the East, the moors begin to rise up in waves. In the middle distance is a tower known as ?The Cage? (see below). It is thought to have been erected in Elizabethan times the better to watch the local gentry deer hunting. Interestingly there is a deer farm now in exactly the same place and we moored up for the night looking across at them.        

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