Thursday, June 28, 2007

Away at 10:30 after a dry night. The morning is bright with sunny spells, but breezy. The canal continues to improve as we head away from Stoke, narrow and isolated in places .
We stopped at Milton where there are useful shops east of bridge 18, then on to Engine lock, named after a pumping engine house that used to be here. Had to clear the prop of various debris just before the lock. I’m pleased to say, mostly vegetarian in nature.

A pleasant rural stretch with 2 lift bridges brought us to the 5 locks at Stockton Brook. The village is hidden by trees, so the flight is in an attractive setting with an impressive Victorian water works at the bottom. The only intrusion is the main road crossing above lock 7.

Long Butts Lift Bridge
Stockton Brook Flight
The exit from the top lock was blocked by floating reeds. Too heavy to lift out, so I moved them to one side.
Another mile or so took us to our overnight stop just past Endon basin.
A few minutes before, we passed what is enigmatically described in Nicholson’s guide as “Obstruction in Centre of Channel”. It turns out to be the pivot column of a long disappeared swing bridge. Looks a bit like the maritime version of those painted traffic islands on roads, and about as easy to go around!

Maritime “Traffic Calming”
Locks 6, miles 3½

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