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Montgomery

Caldon or Macclesfield/Peak Forest?

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Hi everyone, looking for a bit of advice... Should hopefully be heading out of Stone on the Trent and Mersey for a week sometime next year, I have been looking at options for an out and back week cruise. 

Two routes that immediately spring to mind are the Caldon Canal or up the Macclesfield and onto the Peak Forest.

Which route would be your suggestion and why? We are an active crew of 4, don't mind locks, lift bridges etc. We like to moor near a good pub or close to a town with eateries rather than out in the sticks. 

Are there any problems on either canal which would put you off? 

 

Thanks in anticipation. M

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Both routes are really good to do and are fairly easy. both have a number of good pubs selling decent beer and food. Highlights of the Caldon is the river section and the steam railway. Highlights of the Macclesfield and the Peak are the views and the basin complex at Bugsworth. I moor on the Peak Forest so if you want a list of pubs on all three canals let me know and I'll put one up.

 

Personally I'd go for the Macc, stopping at the Queens at Congleton, the Vale at Bollington, The Samuel Oldknow in Marple and Bugsworth where there are three good pubs within walking distance. The views of the peaks are fantastic, you will be hard put to find a more beautiful canal rooute

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1 hour ago, Señor Chris said:

Both are equally as good but you might find the Caldon option a bit short for an active crew of 4 for a week.

 

Alternatively, you may find the Macc giving not much for the crew to do. After the stop lock at Hall Green, all the locks are concentrated in the Bosley flight, which you will do in a couple of hours each way. The only other work for them are a few lift/swing bridges on the Macc and upper Peak Forest. The Caldon has its locks more spread out, so you can call on your crew more often and keep their interest. Personally I loved the Caldon when I did it, even though it drizzled pretty much the entire time!

CanalPlanAC reckons Stone to Consall Forge and back is 4 days 2 hours, 7 minutes at seven hours a day, so short for a weeks boating. How about, Stone to the base of the Bosley flight and then back to Etruria Junction and do the Caldon, before returning to Stone. That takes it up to 6 days 2 hours 41 minutes at seven hours a day and gives you two trips through Harecastle tunnel.

 

Jen

Edited by Jen-in-Wellies

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A pretty comprehensive survey of the pubs of all 3 canals plus Trent & Mersey in the latter part of my 2017 Pub Cruise  hope this helps you decide.  You get to go theough Harecastle if you choose the Macc & Peak Forest.

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Personally I would do the Caldon, then on the way back at least go through Harecastle Tunnel and back - you could then add Bosley and back, or Great Haywood and back (overshoot the boat yard) or even Hassall Green/Malkins Bank and back if you really like your locks

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Thanks all for the suggestions...  I was initially thinking of doing the Four Counties Ring, but I think it will be a bit of a push in a week? Are there any other recommendations for out and backs from Stone? I had a quick look at a route along the Staffs and Worcs to Stourport and back? How does that compare with the Caldon/Macc? 

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50 minutes ago, Montgomery said:

Thanks all for the suggestions...  I was initially thinking of doing the Four Counties Ring, but I think it will be a bit of a push in a week? Are there any other recommendations for out and backs from Stone? I had a quick look at a route along the Staffs and Worcs to Stourport and back? How does that compare with the Caldon/Macc? 

CanalplanAC says Stone to Stourport and back is 63 hours and 25 minutes which is 9 days, 25 minutes at 7 hours per day, so just about good for a weeks holiday that includes both weekends. There are places to stop and see along the way, so you might want to shorten the trip to perhaps Kinver. The Staffs and Worcestershire below Autherley junction has a similar feel to the Caldon. A lot of it is in a deep tree lined valley, with the canal cut in to rock.

 

The all knowing CanalplanAC says of the four counties ring "This will take 60 hours and 50 minutes which is 8 days, 4 hours and 50 minutes at 7 hours per day." Similar to going to Stourport and back.

 

The advantage of an out and back trip, compared with a ring, when time is short is that when you reach half way through the holiday, you can just turn round and start heading back. If you are half way through the holiday, but not yet half way round the ring, then you know you'll have to either turn back, or go hell for leather to get back to the start point.

 

Jen

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We first did the four counties in a week's hire with two adults and two young children. If you have an active crew it should be easily do able and many hirers complete it.

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20 hours ago, captain birdseye said:

Personally I'd go for the Macc, stopping at the Queens at Congleton, the Vale at Bollington, The Samuel Oldknow in Marple and Bugsworth where there are three good pubs within walking distance. The views of the peaks are fantastic, you will be hard put to find a more beautiful canal rooute

 

I agree but isn't the Ring O'Bells at bridge 2 as good as it used to be?

 

A keen crew could always nip down the Marple flight then back up the next day - the Lower PFC is worth a visit too.

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48 minutes ago, Machpoint005 said:

 

I agree but isn't the Ring O'Bells at bridge 2 as good as it used to be?

 

A keen crew could always nip down the Marple flight then back up the next day - the Lower PFC is worth a visit too.

The Ringers isn't as good but still alright. The Oldknow is a micro pub on the shopping street with a large selection of beers and ciders and is very nice

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The four counties ring is an easy weeks cruise with an active crew. Most hire boats do it in a week. Which ever you do you can always extend it if you are early back to the yard.

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On 05/09/2019 at 17:33, Machpoint005 said:

 

I agree but isn't the Ring O'Bells at bridge 2 as good as it used to be?

 

A keen crew could always nip down the Marple flight then back up the next day - the Lower PFC is worth a visit too.

Very disappointed with the Lower Peak Forest. Having come over the HNC a week ago I was looking for a bit deeper water. All the way to Hyde bumping over stuff, couldn't get near the edge to moor at Romiley or just past Hyde Bank Tunnel, both places we've moored several times. All that work on the locks at Marple you would think they'd make the gates fit better while they were at it. 

Can only assume that the lack of use in the recent past has led to a silt buildup.

 

Hopefully the Macc when it reopens will be better.

 

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As there have been no boats along the Lower Peak for two years the cannel has filled with silt. It will take a while for it to recover. There is some dredging programmed for this winter which will help. 

 

Having been up and down Marple regularly since its restoration, I was quite impressed with the locks the times I have been through them this year, they are less leaky and the paddle gear is easier to work than previously, presumably somebody is lubricating them now. Three of us came down with the local fuel boat last week in 1Hr 25 Mins which is not bad going

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