17 July 2008

Decisions, decisions

This autumn’s cruise is turning into a three-horse race as far as destination goes. Ahead by a nose is an out and back to Stratford; pushing it hard is a tootle down to Froghall on the Caldon; and bringing up the rear but by no means out of contention we have a pootle up to Bugsworth Basin. They all have their pros and cons. Stratford means an energetic holiday and more Shropshire Union – we like the Shroppie a lot but we’ve seen an awful lot of it lately. But the southern Stratford is virgin territory for us both and there’s the promise of a decent Chinese feed in Birmingham. Plus himself gets to play with his favourite ‘all singing, all dancing’ lift bridge at Shirley (the power goes straight to his head).

The Caldon is a canal that, bizarrely, we seem to cruise every year yet never actually complete, with either poor timetabling or weather putting the mockers on our ambition of reaching the end for another 12 months. Happily we did at least manage to get to Leek last time, enjoying a beautifully quiet weekend on the wide before the tunnel only to turn round on the Monday to encounter a narrowboat version of Whacky Races on the trip back to Hazelhurst. So Froghall awaits but the downside is this very intimacy with the Caldon which renders it less of an adventure. And there's that slog through Stoke and Etruria... Mind you, it would mean another couple of trips through Harecastle so I’m beginning to see some upside....

Last but not least is the little foray up to Bugsworth. It’s been a while since we visited the upper Peak Forest canal and back then the basin was still leaking and therefore closed. From Andrew Denny’s pictures, it looks like a triumph of restoration and worthy of a trip in its own right. Plus there’s the Swizzles Matlow factory at New Mills which can get me high in about five seconds.... why isn’t there a seconds shop fronting the canal where I can go and buy twelve dozen damaged Double Lollies and half a hundredweight of chipped Refreshers? Some people just don’t think about the needs of others...There’s also the added bonus of doing the Macc again, a canal I never tire of cruising. The downsides? Well, Heartbreak Hill is not a downside, more an inconvenience. And...well, that’s about it really. The route is familiar, yes, but not so familiar that every twist and turn is imprinted in my memory. Cripes, I’m talking myself into this...could it be Bugsworth in Autumn 2008?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We recently had a futile attempt to do a league table of our favourite waterways. My top spot is the Bosley flight on the Macclesfield so I'm voting for the Bugsworth trip! Tricky decision - I have a friend, who, when faced with difficult decisions always says "they all have their own beauty".
Good luck with the planning - we may never leave Birmingham at the rate we're going!
Sue, Indigo Dream