Much is made of the lack of summer sun in the United Kingdom. so when it does appear it’s essential to make the most of it. At the slightest hint of some good weather, walking boots get dusted off, mountain bikes dragged out, dogs get longer than usual walks, and some people take to the canals in narrow boats.
We’re often blessed with some lovely weather in September, even stretching into late Autumn at times, but such days are still rarer than rocking horse poop. Today was one of these rare gems, so it was with some enthusiasm I pedaled down the popular “Middlewood Way” near Marple, part of the National Cycle Network.
Unsurprisingly, on such a pleasant day it was busy, not only with bikers, but also plenty of walkers, and a number on horses too. This cycleway a great use of an abandoned rail line, and the disused station picnic area is an especially inspired use of old industrial space. It’s a popular stopping off point, which possibly has something to do with the nearby pub.
This seems appropriate; it’s what enjoying the sunshine, and a little exercise is about in England. Some relaxing, or walking energetic cycling, followed by a pint and a chat enjoyed in the warmth of the early autumn sun.
This is quintessentially English, as is afternoon tea, with sandwiches, scones and Earl Grey. Returning along the Macclesfield canal, seeing people enjoying this very British tradition on the banks of the waterway, brought a broad smile to my face.
There were dozens of narrow boats too, possibly more than I’ve ever seen. All sizes, states of repair, local craft, or from further afield, but adding a welcome splash of colour to the photogenic Cheshire countryside.
Spotting a gentleman sunbathing amidst his on board garden brought an even broader smile, as a nation we are often eccentric in the extreme. There is truth in the phrase “only mad dogs and Englishmen”.
The towpath was slightly less busy, however, the canal provides a pleasant walking, or cycling environment. The tight, uneven paths, and attractive little, stone bridges are picturesque enough, without the steady stream of slow-moving narrow boats navigating the canal. There are a number of traditional pubs lining the route too, and hydration is so important in the warm weather, it’d be rude not to stop.
One even had a brass band thumping out a few tunes, it just doesn’t get any more English!
Home grown adventure, and local exploring is often championed on this site, days like this provide ample justification for getting out to discover the hidden attractions close to home. All that’s needed a good pair of walking shoes, a dose of enthusiasm, and of course a bit of sunshine.
All photographs taken on a Samsung W250f wi-fi enabled compact camera
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