Marple Locks

On our way through Cheshire, we stayed overnight with my Uncle Jim who lived in the small town of Marple. We enjoyed an afternoon stroll along the Peak Forest Canal where a series of 16 locks raise the canal by 64 metres over the course of 1.6km. We began our walk at Marple Memorial Park where this fabulous chainsaw wood sculpture was commissioned after the demise of a large Copper Beech tree.

1.tree sculpture Memorial Prk

Local school children submitted ideas on the theme of nature and knowledge featuring animals and books. They also chose the name, Midnight, for the central owl character.

2.tree sculpture, Marple Memorial Park

Other animals carved in the wood include a fox, badger, mole, squirrel and hedgehog.

We started at Lock 9, by Oldknow’s Warehouse.

8.Oldknow's Warehouse

Samuel Oldknow was an English cotton manufacturer who promoted the construction of the canal, which opened in 1804. When commercial carrying ended, the locks became dilapidated and were impassable by the early 1960s. The Peak Forest Canal Society were instrumental in the restoration and re-opening of the Marple Locks in 1974.

9.Lock 9

Oldknow’s Warehouse has since been converted to offices. I can think of worse places to work.

10.Oldknow's Warehouse

We continued our walk past Lock 10

11.Lock 10

and Lock 11.

After Lock 12, we approached Posset Bridge, completed in 1804. The bridge has three arches, the left hand one has been filled in

14.Posset Bridge

and the right hand one is a narrow oval tunnel built to allow the horses to pass under the bridge after being untied from the boats.

15.Posset Bridge horse tunnel

The canal continues through the middle arch to Lock 13 and more beautiful buildings, now office space.

16.Lock 13

Between the locks, the canal is tranquil.

17.Peak Forest Canal

The Macclesfield Canal joins in just beyond Top Lock Bridge.

18.Top Lock Bridge19.Top Lock Bridge

This magnificent home has prime position

20.Macclesfield Canal

with the marina just around the corner.

21.Top Lock Marina

I think a canal boat holiday would be a great way to relax and see some stunning scenery. Maybe one day……

22.Macclesfield Canal

The Falkirk Wheel

We had seen a documentary on the Falkirk Wheel some time before our travels and just had to see it for ourselves. Near the town of Falkirk in central Scotland, the Forth & Clyde Canal used to be connected to the Union Canal by a series of eleven locks. In the 1930s, the locks were demolished and for decades there was nothing to connect these two canals. The Falkirk Wheel, the only rotating boat lift of its kind in the world, opened in 2002 and reconnected Glasgow and Edinburgh via these canals. We walked along the Forth & Clyde Canal on a crisp autumn morning


and were absolutely awed at our first sight of the wheel.


The wheel works on Archimedes principle of displacement. The two gondolas are full of water. When a boat enters the gondola, it displaces a proportional volume of water so that the total mass is equal to the other gondola, whether there is a boat in it or not.


The upper gondola is lowered as the lower one rises. Fascinating!


The shape of the wheel was inspired by the Celtic double-headed axe. It is 35m in diameter and raises the boats 24m. More than eight boats can be carried at a time, taking around 20 minutes for a one way trip. Of course, we hopped on for a return circuit.


I wish I had taken more photos, it was truly amazing.