Marple, Stuck in Lock Pound

Turnover Bridge, Peak Forest Canal

On Monday we started our journey towards Bugsworth by cruising along the Lower Peak Forest Canal to Marple. The Peak Forest is a picturesque canal and even the first section leaving Ashton-under-Lyne is pretty, although there was still plenty of rubbish in the canal.

Working Boat Alton passes Albert by Woodley Tunnel

The Peak Forest has several aqueducts and some short tunnels along this section all making for an interesting cruise. The tunnels, including the opened out tunnel near Marple, all require one-way working. We had to wait at Woodley Tunnel for two boats, one was NB Alton delivering coal and diesel around the area.

Leaving Woodley Tunnel

Impressive Railway Bridge near Marple

Hyde Bank Tunnel

Hyde Bank tunnel looks wide enough to take two narrow boats but it states clearly on the signs that it is not. The tunnel profile is also not very helpful. You have to position your boat in the centre to get good headroom.

Leaving the opened out Rose Hill Tunnel

Marple Aqueduct and train on the adjacent Viaduct

Maggie managed to get some good photos as we crossed the Marple Aqueduct, particularly since a train passed conveniently along the viaduct as Albert crossed the aqueduct.

Marple Locks

Vegetation on the lock gates, Marple Flight

Our trip up the Marple Flight was epic. The eighteen narrow locks are not that difficult and the surroundings are very pleasant. The problem was water distribution. We made our way quickly up the first few locks passing other crews on their way down. Most of the crews complained that they had serious problems towards the top of the flight with very little water in the pounds. The pound above Lock 12 was mentioned more than once.

True to form as we got closer to the top we began to struggle. We started letting down water from pounds above but at Lock 12 we were confronted with a wide and long pound with very little water. Some locals stated that they had never seen it looking so low. A mud bank extended over part of the pound and some ducks had settled down on it. We tried to leave the lock and find a way through but quickly ran aground in the centre. Maggie stayed ashore and tried letting water down but to no avail. We rang BW. They agreed to send someone to sort out the problem but recommended that we try sending down water from  higher pounds. After waiting for about 40 minutes for water levels above to recover and letting down as much water as we dared, Albert finally got moving again and struggled into Lock 13. We then let down water from Locks 14 and 15 and finally got up the flight just as the BW staff arrived. It turned out that the top of the flight was suffering water shortages because a feeder pipe from the top of the locks is blocked.

Marple Junction

We were lucky enough to find a good mooring at Marple Junction where the Macclesfield Canal begins. We found that were moored just below the Ring O' Bells pub which is a great local. They serve a good selection of real ales and ciders and were very helpful. We had a quick drink, to help us recover from our exertions, and then went shopping at the Co-op. We arranged a meal order for our return. Our meals were delicious and we sat outside in the evening sun. A great end to a very hard day.