Trouble at t Aqueduct

The Tame aqueduct links Ashton under Lyne, Lancashire, with Dukinfield, Cheshire. A solid stone aqueduct with 3 arches it crosses the River Tame. Most people think that it's on the Peak Forest canal, but, strictly speaking, it's a branch of the Ashton canal. The Peak Forest starts at Dukinfield Junction, an end on connection immediately on the South side of the structure.

For months now, Keir, contractors for the Canal & River Trust, have been giving it a much needed renovation. The job has gone on longer than expected as it turned out to be in worse shape than anticipated. that's something I'm familiar with on old wooden boats. They're nearly finished now, but I became puzzled as to why they appeared to be attempting to fill the river in. I've now asked some questions and learned the story.

The first part of the job was to erect a lot of scaffolding on both sides and underneath the aqueduct. I did wonder when i saw this going up, what would happen if heavy rain in the hills should cause the river to rise. The scaffolding was pretty much blocking the two side arches, but this is OK because the water runs through the middle one doesn't it? Apparently they were warned that actually it wasn't OK, but professionals know best.

Everything was fine until we had that day of wild weather a few weeks ago, when thw whole country was disrupted by flooding. Every drop of rain that falls in Stalybridge, Mossley, Greenfieldm Saddleworth and all around has to exit via the Tame aqueduct. When there's a lot of rain it brings with it trees and rocks and shopping trolleys by the dozen. The scaffolding acted as a seive, holding back the debris, thus completely blocking the side arches. The middle arch couldn't handle so much water, so it began to back up, thus increasing the pressure on the old stonework. Something had to give and luckily it wasn't the aqueduct, they built 'em well back then, but the river bed. The force of water scoured it out down to the aqueduct foundations.

The aqueduct can't be left with its foundations exposed, so they made a roadway down the steep steps that lead down to the river and have brought in an incredible tracked dumper that can drive up and down this slope to deliver countless tons of rock to restore the river bed.

Rock being deposited in the river bed.

The scaffolding has now mostly gone from the West side.

The steep roadway.

The dumper breasts the summit.

Shrewsbury

Wednesday was Em's birthday. Unfortunately I'd left her presents at home! as she'd often passed through Shrewsbury on the train and it looked a nice place, Em wanted a chance to explore, so we had booked two nights at Cromwells Inn in the centre of town. The hotel was great and the people really friendly and helpful. I was shocked to find out that it had been the subject of fake reviews on trip Advisor. http://www.shropshirestar.com/news/2012/08/18/internet-troll-threat-to-ruin-shrewsbury-hotel/

This is getting horribly common nowadays, including the blackmail, give me a refund or I'll give you bad reviews. I know of a writer who upset a cult leader and consequently gets his books slagged off online from cult members all round the world. I've no doubt we'll get a bit of this with "Hazel" sooner or later.


In our room was a huge for poster bed. It was incredibly comfortable. Part of the charm of the place was its old uneven floors. Some people had complained about this on Trip Advisor!

On our way to Shrewsbury from Brecon we called at Presteigne to visit Ian and Hilary Marchant. Ian is the WCBS patron and is a writer and broadcaster.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Marchant_(author)



Ian has just completed his magnum opus, a book about the history of the hippy movement. His next project is a radio sitcom that he credits me with the idea for (do I get a percentage?)  It was nice to sit and talk with such interesting, intelligent and generally nice people. It was a little worrying to learn that, because of brexit, Hilary is trying to get Irish citizenship. Will the last intelligent person to leave the country please turn out the lights.


After touring round Shrewsbury several times we found Cromwells and the staff helped Em get our cases to the room while I drove about a mile out of town to where i could park for free, then I walked back past the old Shropshire & Montgomeryshire  Shrewsbury Abbey  Station.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrewsbury_Abbey_railway_station

There's too much to explore in Shrewsbury for just a couple of days, especially for someone with M E  http://www.afme.org.uk/

31st December 2010 Due South

Due South.



Consciousness returned in the early morning sunlight. I reached out to find my flask and lay on my side for a while, sipping coffee and enjoying the lake view. With breakfast completed I struggled out of my shelter, finished dressing and went for a walk. A short way along the canal is a new arm to a huge great marina. On the towpath side a footpath marks the end of the woodland and leads to a long footbridge over the railway tracks. On the far side is the barren site of the old Willington Power Station. http://www.crepello.net/Willington/PowerStation.htm I crossed over the bridge and enjoyed watching trains rush by for a while. Although the lines from Burton and Stoke came together nearby, they carried on in parallel for as far as I could see. I crossed the bridge and stayed Due South.

Consciousness returned in the early morning sunlight. I reached out to find my flask and lay on my side for a while, sipping coffee and enjoying the lake view. With breakfast completed I struggled out of my shelter, finished dressing and went for a walk. A short way along the canal is a new arm to a huge great marina. On the towpath side a footpath marks the end of the woodland and leads to a long footbridge over the railway tracks. On the far side is the barren site of the old Willington Power Station. http://www.crepello.net/Willington/PowerStation.htm I crossed over the bridge and enjoyed watching trains rush by for a while. Although the lines from Burton and Stoke came together nearby, they carried on in parallel for as far as I could see. I crossed the bridge and stayed Due South.

for a while to watch a couple of trains rush by.

Returning to my campsite, I packed up my things and loaded the bike, then pushed it past scattering rabbits to the towpath. Save for a few ashes from my fire, there would be not a trace left behind.

My next target was to be Caen Hill locks near Devizes in Wiltshire, though I would not make it all the way on this holiday. This appeared to be on the same straight
line on the map as Willington, so I just had to follow my line, due South, through the midlands. Initially I would retrace my journey across the bridge and causeway to Repton.

At Willington Bridge I stopped to watch the river rolling by. On the site of the old toll house was an information board about the river crossing. It described the celebrations that accompanied the freeing of the bridge in 1898, and the repeat performance to celebrate 100 years of free river crossing in 1998. http://www.derbyshireuk.net/willington.html

Soon I was pedalling across the flat flood plain again, then labouring up the hill through Repton. As the village fell behind me I was feeling thirsty. I spotted a little stopping place and rode into it. This was the car park for a pleasant young Woodland Trust plantation. I quenched my thirst, then enjoyed a short walk among the young trees. http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/en/our-woods/Pages/about-this-wood.aspx?wood=5201

Back on my bike, I followed the quiet B road meandering along a pleasant valley with fields interspersed with woods. Eventually a line of suburban houses marked the outer limits of Swadlincote. I pedalled uphill past them and soon came to a main crossroads on a ridge. I was now feeling hungry and, wishing to postpone my descent of the hill until after I had eaten, I turned right to see if I could find a nice spot to stop and eat. I was disappointed, so I turned down a footpath between some houses in the hope that it might lead to a park. After winding round a sub station the tarmacced path plunged into a wooden canyon of back garden fences. There was a sort of step at the back of the sub station, so I decided to sit on this to eat some sandwiches, much to the surprise of some of the paths regular users.

Swadlincote is a former mining town, mostly made up of pleasant warm brick terraces. It first came to my knowledge in the mid 1960s. The constituency was represented by George Brown, then Foreign Secretary. On his first visit to Moscow he was asked what he thought of the Soviet Union. He replied that he thought it was "Just like Derby or Swadlincote really" Later, in the 1970s, a van driving job brought me this way regularly. At least one of the local pits still used steam locos and I would often stop for 15 minutes or so (no spy in the cab in those days) to watch an "Austerity" saddle tank shunting.

http://www.geoffspages.co.uk/specials/cadleyhill.htm

Nowadays the pits are long gone, though I'm not sure what has replaced them save a ski centre.

I returned to my ride, whizzing down the hill, then plodding up the other side and past the ski centre to find the Measham road. The scenery now became post industrial. This road once ran through coal mining terrain, but now the winding gear and screens are long gone and the pitheaps have been tastefully landscaped. I wish they wouldn't do this. Landscaped areas always look stunningly predictable, old spoil heaps and quarries left to nature often become simply stunning in time.

The road was signposted to a place called the Conkers Discovery Centre, but before reaching it I turned right along the road towards Overseal. I crossed the little used Burton to Leicester railway, then uphill to turn left on to the busy A444 towards Nuneaton.