Saturday, August 16, 2008

Goodbyes (again!) and a change of canal.

Derek and Gloria, with dog Jake, set off at around 09:00 this morning. Their first stop was at Heritage Marina just along the canal for diesel, so I followed them down to get a picture.

Completely Foxed at Heritage Marina.

They are going down to Hardings Wood Junction and turning North for Middlewich, while we are turning South for Shardlow, so this is definitely the last time we’ll see them, at least for this year.

We got off around 10:30, had to queue for water at Hall Green Stop Lock, picked up Sonja at Red Bull and arrived the northern entrance to Harecastle tunnel on the Trent and Mersey around 13:00. There were 8 boats queued up to go through, and, as they only allow 8 at once in the tunnel, we resigned ourselves to a bit of a wait.

Back onto the muddy T&M

Queuing at Harecastle.

We were surprised when the tunnel keeper told us to set off after only waiting 30 minutes. Apparently the first boats were emerging from the south end and there was no one waiting to come north. So off we went.

I always try to get pictures that show the atmosphere in these canal tunnels, these are today’s offering.
Harecastle Tunnel is 1¾ miles long, so there’s plenty of time to experiment…

Every so often there are man-sized alcoves in what was the towpath side of the tunnel. I guess these would have been to allow pedestrians and horses to pass.
We emerged into daylight and moored at Westport Lake, about a mile from the tunnel mouth. We often stop here; it’s good for Meg and popular, so there’s always other boaters around. The only downside is the high towpath, which encourages the plentiful dog and children walkers to peer in the windows.

I reckon we’ll stay here tomorrow. Sonja has to go back to collect her car left this morning near Red Bull, and the weather is looking dodgy again.

Locks 1, miles 5

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