What a lovely day it was, yesterday. I had waved goodbye to my friends. Always feeling a bit blue, afterwards. It works best to look for some distraction, to do something. Since I was already out, standing outside their hotel, I decided to walk along the canal towards Marhamchurch. On my way I met lots of pedestrians, strolling with or without spouses or dogs. Families with little children were picking blackberries. At The Weir I had my coffee and reflected on the many fascinating aspects of this watercourse.
Because the coastal area at Bude has sand rich in minerals, in earlier times several schemes were put forward to bring the sand to the countryside. One scheme gained parliamentary approval for construction of a canal. That was in 1774. Unfortunately financial problems frustrated the proposal. Then, in 1818 an Act of Parliament was obtained for the same proposal. After some difficulties in the construction phase the canal was opened in 1823. Just imagine, that was hundred ninety three years ago. Horses on the tow path pulled the tub boats through the canal.
Though the unusual feature of the canal was the inclined planes. On the inclined planes tub boats with wheels were pulled up the slopes with the wheels running in channel rails.
Unfortunately the arrival of the railway (in 1898) caused the downfall of the canal. Besides, manufactured fertilisers had become commonplace and cheap, so that the demand for the local sand was diminished considerably as well.
Today the sea lock is still in working order. It has been renovated in 2009. But much of the upper section, further away in the country, has been ploughed over or has become overgrown.
After I had finished my coffee I followed the tow path a bit further, under the viaduct (A39). There is a bit more of the canal to be found and … suddenly it ends. Only shrubbery and brambles, the water is gone. Funny, how it stops just like that.
On my way back to town I passed a large group of cheerful people standing on the bridge, chatting with each other and waiting. They looked attentively in the water as if something was to be seen in the canal. I peeked too… and asked “What are you waiting for?” “We are waiting for the bride and groom!” was the answer. “In the water?? Oh, in a boat!” “Yes! If you see them, tell them we are waiting!” a woman said to me. And someone called my name: “Hello Cora!” I looked around and spotted my neighbours Sian and Jake among the wedding guests, looking so fine in a dark suit and a pink bridesmaid dress. “Tell them we are waiting, tell them to hurry! “ While I continued my walk, I spotted in the distance this little rowing boat. A young man looking like Johnny Depp rowing, a pretty girl in white looking like Scarlet O’Hara, dark curly locks, a bouquet of flowers in her lap, looking very shy and blushing (I think). “They are waiting!” I warned them. Oh yes, they knew. And he was rowing and rowing and rowing. Starting-off.