Forget what I said before. No, seriously. There’s now been a major change of plans. I’ve decided to not go further north, not do the Huddersfield Narrow Canal or the Leeds and Liverpool, at least not this year. For various reasons, not the least of which is the weather, I’m going to head toward Wales now instead of later in the summer. There are a huge number of locks between here and Leeds, and I’m rather enjoying sitting inside the boat when it’s pouring, rather than struggling up and down flight after flight in the rain. Call it lazy, call it wimpy, but I call it retired.

Further to this calculation, much of the next stretch of canals (in the original plan) goes through parts of cities that I’m continually warned against stopping in, for security reasons. Too many ‘yutes’ with too much time on their hands and they cause trouble for boaters as a hobby. Without being able to cruise every day (or do long days) due to the rain, I’d just rather not stress about stuff like that.

So, here I sit at the end of the Peak Forest canal, at a very cool place called the Bugsworth Canal Basin. It’s an amazing spot, formerly a major location for transshipping lime from trains to the boats and on to Manchester. Much of it is derelict of course, but the boat channels have been restored, there’s a little visitor centre, lots of mooring space, and a pub!

It’s been a very pleasant trip up the Macclesfield Canal, and I’m looking forward to going back the way I came. I can stop at some nice mooring spots that I bypassed, and perhaps try an additional pub or two. I’ve talked to a few boaters but not really stayed with anyone; it’s difficult when we’re all hiding inside our boats, staying dry. However, it might be that we’re going to get a bit of hot weather soon! The weather service is notoriously ‘wrong’ but I’m hoping this time will be different (I can hear your laughter).

This is kind of funny…as I was passing through a small industrial area, I was hit by a very sweet smell. Very sweet. I thought I would get a toothache, just from the fumes! Turns out it’s where they make “Swizzels”, a range of sweets that include Love Hearts (remember them?).

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The majority of this area has been mainly quite rural, with many lovely homes along the canalside. Some with a sense of humour…

Of more general interest (or not) here’s an tidbit that I need to research more deeply: Canada Geese are very common and successful here (much to everyone’s chagrin), and a couple of the reasons seem to be behavioural. First, they tend to aggregate into mult-family groups, presumably for security. A group of several large, adult geese is pretty intimidating to a fox or dog. In addition, I’ve noticed that there is always a ‘lookout’ goose. The group will often be head down in the grass or water, eating. But no matter what there’s always at least one with his/her head held high, on guard constantly. Always.

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I’ve even noticed that if a different one picks up their head, the original lookout may then proceed to feed. But there’s always one looking out. The swans and ducks don’t seem to do this. End of biology geekiness…

 

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