Canal Walks

By pure chance I met my guest blogger John on Twitter one evening when Julia Bradbury had responded to a Tweet of his.  He had been tweeting about a series of canal walks that he, his wife and their two friends  had undertaken.  I was taken by John’s enthusiasm and invited to him to write an article for the blog.  I am glad to say he accepted the offer and so here is…….

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Their Big Adventure

The Idea

As tends to happen during an evening with friends and a lovely dinner, the discussion turns to holidays and what we should do together this year.  It was during such a discussion with our old friends, Mike & Eva, that an idea started to come to us.  We are all in our Seventies but regard ourselves as reasonably fit and enjoying walking.

In the past we had all walked in the Lake District but found the hills a real challenge, constantly watching where you put your feet rather than looking up at the views.  We wanted something more level where we could enjoy the scenery, also taking into consideration the time of year we were going and the weather, we all agreed that we would enjoy a canal walk.

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The planning

My wife Mary & I live just a twenty-minute walk from the Trent & Mersey canal so my research sort of led me to the Cheshire Ring.  I had managed to purchase an excellent map/booklet about it.

We decided that we could leave Mike’s car at Bollington on the Macclesfield canal then walk down it in until it joined the Trent & Mersey Canal.  From here we would head up to Runcorn where we could collect my, pre-positioned car and then drop our friends off at their car back in Bollington.  This was scheduled for three days and two nights with the brave decision not to pre book any accommodation.

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Mary & I went to Bollington sussed out a car park and walked a section of the canal.  Worryingly we found tow path a bit muddy, but the walk was some weeks away, so had time to dry out.  Over the next few weeks did two other sections of the walk just to test it out.

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The Walk

Well the big day dawned and after our friends had dropped their dog off at the Kennels, we arrived in Bollington and parked the car not where we planned but in a quiet side street.  We were on the Tow path by 11am and set off in good spirits blessed with good weather.  We thought we would come across more Canal side pubs than we did but thankfully the pensioner standby of flask and butties gave us sufficient sustenance for the afternoon.  Around 5pm we were approaching Congelton & good old Booking.com came up with a Hotel that had spare rooms. Got to say the last mile or so walking through the town was more than a bit tiring but we made it to the Lion & Swan.

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After a great nights stay and freshly cooked breakfast we made it back to the Tow path at the other end of town.  The weather was just about holding up & we strode out hoping to make it to Middlewhich (this proved to be too ambitious) but the walk was very good with lovely scenery.  Eventually we came across the Malkins Bank golf centre (me & Mike are both golfers).  They have some Glamping Pods and we did enquire about staying but unfortunately no evening catering was available.  However, they were very helpful and provided us with Taxi numbers as the nearest hotel with vacancies was the Chimney House Hotel some two miles away.  Again a pleasant evening with much wine was spent although the meals and breakfast at the Lion & Swan was much superior.

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We realised that our last day of walking would not get us to Runcorn so the target of Northwich was set with a Taxi ride home after that. Arriving back at the Canal we set off for our final days walking.  Initially we enjoyed some nice scenery but eventually ended up walking along the Tow path adjacent to a very busy road and some quite industrial areas.  After some 7 miles we came across the Kings Lock canal side pub which was like an oasis to us. Having enjoyed a very nice pub lunch and a few drinks it was a unanimous decision to terminate the walk at this point.  As luck would have it a very generous local agreed to drop us off at Bollington to collect my friend’s car.

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Conclusions

  • Don’t set your targets too high.
  • You can have a great time with relative easy walking.
  • We will certainly do another similar walk but be armed with Taxi phone numbers to make the journeys to nice Hotels after the walking for the day is done.

John Pennington

John is a retired H.G.V. workshop manager and a former Motorcycle Dealer.  In his day he was a sidecar passenger and amongst his claims to fame are that he took part in the 1968 and 1970 Isle of Man T.T race.  In his retirement John passes his days playing golf and doing diy for the family.  He can be found on twitter @diygolfer

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