Richard's Retirement Blog

Macclesfield and Leek

February 2011

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Part 2 - Leek

Sat 12th Feb

Tomorrow, my son and little grandsons are coming to visit, and first thing on Monday I go home; so this will be the last entry for this trip.

Today, there's a wiper motor for my car on Ebay!

On Thursday I parked near the Congleton-Macclesfield-Buxton road junction below the Cat and Fiddle Inn and walked across Axe Edge Moor. I forgot the camera again, but it didn't matter much - bleak, empty, slightly misty and remarkably featureless moor doesn't make good photos. That sounds as though I didn't enjoy it, but it was pleasant to be out in the fresh air in a place which felt like the roof of the world with only grouse for company. I overdid it though: it was heavy going, with mud underfoot most of the time, and a mile on the main road on my way back; and I upset my arthritic knee. As a result, I didn't go anywhere yesterday (Friday) except shopping in Leek.

I did well in Leek. I got fish, roast pork for sandwiches, bacon and sausage from one butcher, a rabbit from another, and general groceries from a co-op. Then I came back and admired a lovely, sunny afternoon through the caravan window.

Today my knee is better, which is good. Last time I upset it, it took weeks to settle down again. So I took the bike down past Titterstone Reservoir and over the hills to the north. There should have been excellent views from the top of the hill, but it was a little misty and visibility was limited.

I emerged onto the "old" Leek-Macclesfield road - replaced between the oustskirts of Leek and Rushton Spencer in the 1760s by the A523, when the road was turnpiked. The photo shows Bosley Cloud seen to the north-west. A closer look. (Webster's Dictionary says that cloud comes form Old English clûd, a hill - I'd always wondered why it was so called.) From there, down into Rushton Spencer and pick up the line of the former North Staffordshire Railway, now part of the Staffordshire Way long distance foot/cycle/bridle path.

I turned north first, just for a mile or two, past the back of Rushton Spencer village to its former station, now a private residence. The name of the pub next door - The Knot - presumably has some connection with this line's having been known as the Old Knotty; but I haven't so far unearthed either the connection or the reason for the nickname.

I went on another half mile, then turned back where the track, which had already become muddy enough to make traction difficult, changed to loose, large gravel left from the permanent way. I might tackle that another time - with a puncture repair kit and some plasters in my pocket.

There was a van parked outside the former station, and I'd hoped by the time I came back it would have gone, but no such luck; and there was someone working in the garden, which made it difficult to go and photograph the extant station platform through the gap in the hedge. However:

The station and The Knot pub.

The station building. Someone put the sun in the wrong place.

Through the gap in the hedge, just a glimpse of the platform.

Continuing past the point where I joined it, the track ran past Rudyard Lake:

The railway ran by the lake.

The lake is quiet at the northern end.

At the dam end, are the yacht club, the narrow-guage railway and the visitor centre.

Part way along the lake, one comes to the narrow-guage track of the Rudyard Lake Steam Railway; there is also a visitor centre for Rudyard Lake, and the place is obviously popular (lots of people!), so I hope they do well out of it.

The track then ran into Leek, where I left it and passed through the town and out in the direction of Buxton and home. But riding the A53 up and down steep hills with lorries missing your elbow by inches is no fun; so I forked right to Thorncliffe, turned left in the village and so came back to the main road near the caravan site. I didn't avoid the steep hills, though.

Weds 9th Feb

On Monday, I moved to the Camping Club site at Blackshaw Moor, near Leek. It was windy, and threatening rain, so by the time I'd set up and been shopping I didn't go out again.

Tuesday, ie yesterday, was a lovely day, sunny and bright, if cold. I spent the morning dismantling the rear wiper motor of the car - it hasn't ever worked, and the dealer is supposed to be getting a new one, but not much is happening, so I thought I'd take a look. It took a lot of getting apart, being completely gunged-up and seized, which was all that was wrong with it originally: I pulled things with pliers and hit things with a hammer that ought not to be so gripped and beaten, before I got it apart - on the principle that I could hardly make things worse. Unfortunately, the motor came apart at the housing before it came off the gearbox; and the bushes are in the end-plate, so the little springs went ping and pushed the bushes our of their housing.

Today, I cleaned it up and put it together - rather to my surprise: I'd rather expected those springs and bushes to be impossible. But it's no good - it won't work. The motor drives a steel worm, and that turns a plastic pinion: and when the gearbox seized, the worm stripped the teeth off the pinion. Volvo don't supply the pinion alone (I'm told - but I'll check). Volvo's price for a new motor assembly? 240! Ebay...

Yesterday afternoon, I went down to Tittesworth Reservoir in the car, and walked round the lake - some five miles - and it was gorgeous. And stupid me didn't think to take the camera. Got out of the habit, you see, in the years I didn't have one. So this morning, on my way to the Roaches, I took this pic.

In the evening I read Trollope's Can you forgive her? I've just realised there are lots of books on the 'net free of charge which are in text format and don't need a Kimble to read them! I'll start by working my way through all the Palliser novels.

The weather isn't nearly so nice today. I got up- late and pottered about all morning, then in the afternoon I took the bike to the Roaches and climbed them: a pleasant walk, but rather grey and misty so the views weren't so spectacular. But I got this panorama (still playing with the new toy, you see).

Views of the Roaches from Tittesworth Reservoir.

The building was once the dwelling of a land-worker on the Brocklehurst estate, which included the Roaches. It's quite commodious, with two rooms downstairs with substantial fireplaces (although quite small), bedrooms above, what I take to be a store-room or scullery at the back, and another part which doesn't communicate with the house - byre? Woodshed? Tool store? All of the above?

Since I got back I've reassembled that wiper motor, finished my Trollope and written this: and now it's dark and raining, so that'll do for today.

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