Saturday 23 July 2011

Peak Forest Canal

If you're on schedule and OK for time by this stage in your circumnavigation of the Pennine Ring of canals, said our guide, it's worth taking a short diversion to check out the Peak Forest Canal. We have just had 2 days hard locking and need access to some 'services' so we pause at Portland Basin for a (chemical loos) pump out and then wander down on a small explore. We find this delightful grassy area to moor overnight where dogs and children can run off some energy and play a while. Maxwell read rather too much into the "run off" bit of this but little M Silverwood (4) proves quite adept at dog-wrangling; Max does not seem to see him as something you should keep a distance from, unlike adults in pursuit shouting "MaxWELL! Stay!"

Monday delights with warm weather and also by being the day we'd have had to hand the boat back if this had been the normal one-week holiday (Yay! It isn't!). We chug gently into Stalybridge, which turns out to be twinned with Armentieres. Regular readers will know Dad's association with the old 2CV twinning gift from N Kent town Birchington to Armentieres's neighbour La Chapelle d'Armentieres. Stalybridge is also home of a famous deli "Say Cheese" and a famous eaterie, the (Railway) Station Buffet Bar where everyone gets to eat superb warm roast pork muffins and Dad and Mr S try out a couple of unusual beers including a superb porter. The children fancy a home made ginger beer, but this turns out to be rather too gingery for some.

The day finishes with the 200 yard "Scout Tunnel" which proves to be a taster for the 3 mile Standedge tunnel to come, including some lined and some rough-hewn stretches. We moor up near Mossley where Max tries another canal swim and has to be hauled out.


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