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  • clivenmel

Sept 22nd

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;} We set off around 10.00am this morning with a rather daunting prospect ahead of us - The Marple Locks!  We cruised along the Macc for about 20 minutes then arrived at the Marple Junction where we turned left under a bridge onto The Lower Peak Forest Canal and the first lock was sitting right there waiting for us!!!   However I looked back and saw the signpost telling us where we had been, where we could go and where were going - Huddersfield 28 miles!    Anyway the lock awaits, the first of 16!  We started going down the flight at 10.45 and unfortunately we only met one boat coming up, the second and third locks were ready to open but another boat was going down ahead of us, about three locks in front so from then on every single lock had to be filled first before we could open the gates.  These were some of the stiffest lock paddles I had ever encountered, in fact I had to get out my long windlass to tackle them.  One in particular was so stiff I could budge it at all - however, I "pulled"!  Two young men were walking up the towpath, both looked as if they might stab their grannies, but looks can be decieving and one of them came over and asked if he could give me a hand, I gratefully handed him my windlass and he was quite shocked at just how stiff it was, but he managed to get it open for me and then he helped me to push the gates open too!  The age of chivalry is not dead!  I struggled on with the rest of the locks - the gates were huge, as these locks were very deep, so they were very heavy to open and shut.  However Clive did not have it easy either, this canal had a very low water level and he was in danger of grounding, he got stuck a couple of times and had to use the barge pole to get himself off again.  The canal could really do with dredging.  The reason these locks are so deep is that the flight of 16 drops 208' which is quite a long drop!  All this is getting us into practice for what lies ahead next week - The Huddersfield Narrow!!! We finally got to the bottom and the next gem awaiting us was the Marple Aqueduct and Viaduct - wow, what a spectacular sight!  As Clive started crossing the aqueduct I jumped off to get some pictures, I was delighted as a train came across the viaduct so I got a picky of that too - Trains and Boats and.........where's the Plane!  Clive suggested I go to the other side of the waterway and take a photo looking down at the River Goyt - I think he's trying to get rid of me - there were no safety railings and it was a hell of a long way down!  I did manage to get one photo then the vertigo was kicking in so I got back on the boat!! We moored up and had a quick, well deserved snack, then off again to negotiate the Hyde Bank Tunnel (308 yards long) then went through some very strange narrow parts, which were quite hairy to negotiate then the Woodley Tunnel, not a very long one at 176 yards, but not pleasant at all, extremely narrow with barely an inch on either side of the boat!!  We finally moored for the night about half a mile before Hyde.   

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