Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Coming UP

Sixteen locks, one mile, two hundred and ten foot rise and three and a quarter hours to complete. A wonderful late autumn day, sunshine all the way up the flight with numerous families taking a walk and watching the boats work up the locks - God was in his heaven and smiling on Wednesday when we came up into Marple.

The locks on this flight take the lower Peak Forest Canal up into Marple, completing the link the Upper Peak Forest and the Macclesfield Canal with the Ashton Canal and the markets of Manchester. The locks are all thirteen feet deep, roughing double the depth of most locks elsewhere and take 44000 gallons of water each time they are filled.

Above is Lockside Mill, just above lock nine. Now converted into offices but originally built to allow the transfer of raw and manufactured cotton between canal and road. The boats could enter the warehouse and load/unload under cover.

Above, the horse tunnel at Posset bridge and locks. Apparently the supply of 'possets' of ale from the nearby Navigation Inn, paid for by Samuel Oldknow the local mill owner, encouraged the prompt completion of the locks - hence the name Posset Bridge.

The locks cost £27000 in 1803. The building of the Peak Forest Canal had commenced in 1794 but financial constraints meant that there was no money for the proposed flight of locks until nine years later. Goods were transferred from boat to tramway and back onto boat at the bottom/top of the hill.
The locks are well maintained and pass through a route lined with mature beech trees. Marple associates itself with its canals, describing itself as a 'historic canal town' and this is reflected in the condition of the towpath and immediate environs.
The additional bonus was that only one lock turned against us by a holidaying family - not bad considering it is half term....

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