Wednesday, June 27, 2007

We knew we were in for a long day today, but with one thing or another we didn’t get away till nearly 10, and within 100 yards had stopped again at the service point.
Then we had a good run through the remaining 3 locks before Harecastle tunnel, arriving at the tunnel at 11:10.

BW workgang moving replacement gates for locks on the Cheshire flight.
Derelict near the tunnel. It must have been someone’s pride and joy once.
Unfortunately there were 6 boats waiting ahead of us, and the ‘keeper told us that it would be 40 minutes before the passage was clear of a north bound “convoy” of 8 boats.

Queuing for the tunnel
His timing wasn’t bad, we entered at 11:47 and exited at 12:28. The longest time we’ve ever spent through this tunnel. It’s quite exciting the first few times, but tends to get a bit boring after a while.

Our arrival back into daylight revealed another queue of 9 boats waiting to go north! A busy old spot today!

13:10 saw us moored near bridge 117, so I could make a quick visit to B&Q 10 minutes away (it must a compulsive thing; I can’t seem to be able to pass a DIY store without visiting…), then we were off again onto the new pastures of the Caldon Canal.

First obstacle was the 2 rise staircase just around the first corner.

Etruria Staircase Locks.

Then Planet lock, and a little further on, Ivy House lift bridge. There’s a large development of new Redrow houses being built nearby, which is likely to make the bridge a lot busier. I can see some arguments arising between boaters and drivers in the future!
We carried on until we were clear of the outskirts of Stoke, then stopped for the night near bridge 15.

We expected the first couple of miles to be unattractive, and were not disappointed. Derelict factories and cleared areas line both sides of the channel, the odd premises still in use are protected by razor wire and high walls. Quite a bit of rubbish in the water, too. On the plus side, things can only get better, on the minus side, this canal is a dead end, so we’ve got to come back the same way.

The weather has been better, just the odd shower but with a cool wind. The sky cleared later, and it's fine and sunny now, but still breezy.

Locks 6, miles 9½

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