An interesting boat that could once be seen on the Ashton, Peak Forest and Macclesfield Canals was the motor boat, Scotia.

Marked LNERLY, Scotia was based in the Engineers Department at their Gorton Depot on the Stockport Branch of the Ashton Canal. She was the sister boat of Joel who was built at the depot under a Mr J T Challinor. However, it is understood that Scotia was built in 1901/05, with an 18hp engine, and first saw service with the Anderton Company of Stoke-on-Trent who were canal carriers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Nonetheless, by 1936 she was based at the Gorton Depot.

The fate of Scotia is obscure. The most likely explanation is that parts of the boat were discovered in a Cheshire flash. Other accounts are that she was discovered broken in two on the banks of the river Mersey near Runcorn or that she was sent to Chester and was seriously damaged on the river Dee.

The Motor Boat, Scotia, moored above Lock 18 (Fairfield Top Lock), Droylsden, late 1930s.

Motor Boat Working Instructions, Saturday, 8 March 1941

  1. April 1st to Oct 31st men working on the Macclesfield Canal must return on the 4.30pm from Macclesfield (this may be adjusted for anyone accordingly).
  2. From Oct 31st to March 31st men may return on the 3.48pm from Macclesfield, providing they have only 30 mts meal time.
  3. Men working on the Peak Forest Canal must journey on the 7.10am from Marple and return on the 4.26 at Marple and book 7.0am to 4.40pm.
  4. The driver on arrival at the boat must immediately start up the engine and commence the journey.
  5. When unloading and there is time either to continue or return the journey, the driver must 15 mts before the completion (where there is above one man left to finish unloading) start up the engine and do any adjusting necessary.
  6. Loading materials, the same applys (applies) as in No. 5.
  7. Where a breakdown occurs of major nature and there are boats in tow. If the journey can be reached before the repairs can be completed the driver must instruct the men and also send the mate to haul the boat in tow to its destination and afterwards report to me on same. The driver must then where time allows proceed to Gorton Office and report the breakdown.
  8. The mate must give all the assistance necessary and keep the cabin and tools clean.
  9. Fastening the boat overnight or weekend. The boat must always be moored in a safe place, where this cannot be done with-out wasting time (say as to tie up at 2.30pm or 3.0pm) the driver must proceed to the next or furthest safe point causing the least amount of overtime (within reason) and report as soon as possible to me.
  10. Where it is not possible for men on tow boats to haul boats in case of breakdown, the driver must instruct the men to proceed to Marple by the next train.

Although these instructions were not signed, they were almost certainly issued by Mr L Machin who worked at the Marple Section Office. The earliest record of him is in 1916/17.