We moored over the weekend at Higher Poynton, once a mining area but now a spot that's slipped into tranquil rurality. It's a 20 minute walk to the nearest shops and old miners would I'm sure be shocked to discover that Poynton is now a desirable little outlying suburb of Manchester – there's even a Waitrose!
Up at the canal things do get busy at the weekend; it's a popular spot for visitors – there's a mining museum, the Anson diesel engine museum, a little cafe on the towpath and, of course, plenty of boats. There's always more than a few Braidbars around as the boats are built here. And our old chum Iain Bryceland, who used to own the firm, runs the moorings opposite so it was great to see him, as cheery and laidback as ever.
|Manchester below us in the Cheshire plain|
The house itself is a monumental piece of work – the largest house in Cheshire (even bigger than Wayne Rooney's, then).
|Up in the distance at Lyme Park is 'The Cage'|
After a couple of walks around Lyme we decided to go boating again and headed down to the pretty little town of Bollington. Walking would have been easier – the canal was very shallow in place and a couple of bridge holes brought us to a standstill.
Bollington was a major centre for cotton spinning in the 19th century and we are moored by Clarence Mill, one of many that existed in and around the town. Most of the other mills have vanished and Bollington today is a sought after spot, its attractive stone terraced streets gently folded into the contours of a steep sided valley and nicknamed 'happy valley' by its residents.
|Brian cools his feet in mid-walk|
|The curious folly White Nancy and its far reaching views|
From here a steeply sloping ridge, the 'saddle of Kerridge' (top picture) ran south for a mile, with Macclesfield stretching out below us in the west, before the footpath dropped steeply down to a country lane which headed back towards Bollington.
The overgrown remains of old quarries stretch along the road: trees have grown thickly up among the piles of scattered broken rocks and abandoned diggings to hide the sky and create a dark and forbidding atmosphere like The Wild Wood of Toad of Toad Hall.
|Tom Clayton's mysterious chimney|
The chimney, Google revealed later, is known as Tom Clayton's Chimney and officially was a ventilation shaft for a coalmine. Except there's no coal mine shaft under there! It's all a bit of a mystery.
So will tomorrow be boating or walking? Who knows.