Day 41 – Macclesfield to Longport

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A late evening in the pub with James and Ben meant a slightly later rise from our slumbers today. We waited in vain to see if the local boatyard would open so we set off at about 9.15am. The weather forecast seemed promising and by about 10.00am the sun had broken through. The bridges on the Macclesfield all have a very curved openings and the roving or towpath changing bridges are very picturesque.

The journey through to Bosley locks was uneventful and we arrived at the top of the locks to find the first lock already full. We started our descent and were delighted to arrive at each of the remaining eleven locks to find them all either in our favour or with a boat ascending. The Bosley flight are unusual in that all the masonry is fully faced on the internal faces with very deep joints.

Passage was soon completed and Michael prepared a cheese and ham surprise for lunch. This was taken on the move as it seemed possible that we might arrive at Harecastle tunnel in time to travel through today. A telephone call to the Harecastle helpline was not much help – they just said “if you are there by 4.00pm you are guaranteed passage”. We arrived rather later than 4.00pm just as a number of boats were coming out of the tunnel and, with two boats about to enter, we were waved in by the tunnel-keeper who briefly explained the safety rules as we passed by and we were off!

Michael overcame his dislike of tunnels and steered us all the way through. Fortunately the forced ventilation was drawing fresh air from behind us and, as there was no boat following us, we had the benefit of clean air to breathe. The tunnel passage took 46 minutes. The average is 45 minutes so we thought that quite good. We tied up on some pleasant moorings adjacent to a public park in Longport.

Menu: cooked breakfast or breakfast sandwiches; gammon and cheese savoury salad; sausages with sweet potato mash, followed by fresh melon.

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