Thursday, September 29, 2011

Through Stone

Off at 09:40 this morning, a little later as I slept in a bit! It was nearly 7 before I woke up. I’m used to getting up at daylight, but as dawn gets later and later as we move towards winter I’m going to have to reset my internal alarm clock.
We were sharing this stretch of piling near Barlaston with several other boats last night, but they’d all moved off by the time we were ready to go.

Leaving Barlaston Mooring

It’s about an hour’s gentle cruising to the Meaford Flight of 4 locks, passing a private house called The Boatyard.

The Boatyard, Barlaston. Jealous? Me?

Not sure if it ever was a boatyard, but the dock seems to point that way.

Apart from a maze of electrical cables on pylons, there’s nothing to be seen of the large Meaford Power Station. This coal-fired station opened in 1947, was upgraded with Meaford “B” opening in 1957, and finally closed in 1991. There’s no evidence that fuel was provided by canal, despite it’s proximity. Rail spurs would have supplied the coal. It utilised water from the Trent for the turbines.

Autumn colours

Meaford Top Lock

We were surprised not to meet any boats coming up the locks, we had to refill every one as we were following another boat.

Dog Cart?


There’s a ¾ mile pound before arrival in Stone.

The town was the headquarters of The Trent and Mersey Canal Company. The offices were below Star Lock, where Westbridge Park now sits.

Painted Boats

Below Limekiln Lock

There were lots of people out and about on the towpath, but only one boat going the other way. We pulled over just below Newcastle Road Lock for water and other essential services.

Newcastle Road Bridge

The lock is just the other side of the bridge, the towpath tunnel avoided boat crews and horses having to cross the road.

Yard Lock is the third in the town going downhill. Alongside is the boatyard, base of Canal Cruising Company, the oldest established hire boat hire business on the network.

Yard Lock and the Boatyard

The final lock is Star Lock, alongside the Star Inn. The fine weather ensured that there was a good crowd to watch Mags enter the chamber without touching the sides. Bless her!

Star Lock

We normally stop over in Stone, we both enjoy the town, but today we pushed on, through Aston lock and past the new marina.

Wing exercises for one of this year's cygnets 

Aston Marina

We pulled in at Bridge 87, near the hamlet of Burston. There’s a pleasant walk back towards Aston along the river that Meg and I will look at early tomorrow. This afternoon it was just a matter of lying in the shade.

Locks 9, miles 6½

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