Leaving our peaceful mooring I unlocked the lift bridge and wound it up with the windlass, soon we were cruising through the countryside. How lovely, this was the first time we had heard birdsong for quite a while. Further on we encountered our first curly-whirly Bridge No 9 with it’s fabulous curves. This was one of the highest bridges sturdily built of blue brick.
It was a dull damp day and very dark passing underneath so many tall trees towering over most of the canal like a green tunnel. The large square building that was Oak Wood Mill stood out well in a clearing in the gloom and drizzly rain. We chugged slowly through Hyde Bank Tunnel getting slower and beginning to vibrate. There was something around the prop just before we reached the other end. A large old wooden boat came around the corner towards us, just as we were poling and pushing Oakfield along very slowly along the wall.. A quick beep of the horn brought him to a halt as we limped out into the daylight. I jumped off with the front rope which he took and pulled us around his boat, we thanked him and bow hauled ourselves to the side to tie up.he commented that he thought we were in the tunnel sheltering from the rain, cheeky chappy! On investigating down the weed hatch we pulled out the nylon jacket, twine and plastic bags that were fouling our propeller. Next came Rose Hill Tunnel which had it’s top taken off, so was no longer a real tunnel!
The Marple Aqueduct carries the canal 100 feet high over the River Goyt in a brick built channel lined with puddled clay completed in 1800. There was a wide view of the landscape beyond the arches of Railway Viaduct and treetops on the other side. Nearly there, under the railway bridge, then Bridge 16.
So, after completing 4 miles we finally moored in the wide below Marple Locks. We cruised slower than usual as the canal was shallow and there were obstacles under nearly every bridge that we scraped our bottom on!