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Sunday, 15 September 2013

Through the Tunnel.

I was up early and ready for the first passage trough the Harecastle Tunnel and 0800. There were four of us waiting. The morning was overcast and still, which was a bit of a surprise as the BBC had forecast a massive storm. We had decided to get through the tunnel and get to Ramsdell Hall on the Macclesfield Canal, and if it wasn't too bad continue to Congleton.


Harecastle Tunnel southern portal and cottage.

We were off prompt at 0800 and were clear again in 45 mins. and yes it had started raining of the north side of the hill. How ever it soon stopped and by the time we turned off the Trent and Mersey and onto the Pool Lock Aqueduct where the canal crosses over the canal you have just left. The Trent and Mersey Canal Company weren't sure about joining up with the new Macclesfield Canal and so they built the aqueduct and so the Macclesfield actually starts at Hall Green Lock. Here neither accommodated the other and there was a sort of border crossing. There was two stop locks and two Lock Keepers Cottages and two stable blocks to make sure each were protected from the other.


Hall Green Stop Lock. Whist there is only one stop lock now you can see that the canal narrows for a long distance behind the boat and this is where the other lock would have been. You can also see the two different styles of cottages too.

The weather had settled down to dull, but the rain had stopped and later the sun even tried to get out. We were soon by Mow Cop and Ramsdell Hall and decided to crack on to Congleton.


Mow Cop is not a ruined castle but a summer house folly built by Randle Wilbraham of Rode Hall. It is most famous perhaps for being at the start of Primitive Methodism. In 1809 William Clowes and Hugh Bourne had become disenchanted with the Wesleyans, and to be honest thyeynhad with them too. The main difference was that they were evangelical and they held all day long Camp Meetings of prayer and preaching. Willaim Clowes was from Burslem and had given up trying to become the best dancer in the country and was then a potter. Hugh Bourne was a wheelwright. on 31st May 1809 they held a 14 hour Camp Meeting together on Mow Cop. After this the two sets of worshipers came together to form the Primitive Methodists in 1810.

We arrived at Congleton Wharf moorings in the dry and even the wind wasn't too bad. We decided to pop into town to buy a paper and have a look round. Unusually there was no Newsagent open and thew only place we could get a paper was at Morrisons. The town looks interesting and we will explore more tomorrow. We sat and had a coffee at a Costa and read a bit of the paper. All very decadent(ant?) for me, but very civilised. By the time we left it was raining and the wind was up. It was good to get back and battened down in the boat. Jobs and cooking to do for the rest of the day.

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