Friday, March 30, 2012

Bottling it…

Yes, I reverted to long trousers again today. Frankly, it was bl***y perishing! That breeze from the north turned a lot colder, and we’ve had no sign of the sun.
Meg and I had a good walk around first thing, up past the church then through the woods near Lawton Hall.

All Saint’s, Church LawtonSAM_0002 All Saint's, Church Lawton The tower is 16c, but the nave is a more recent 18c replacement, the earlier structure being burnt down.

Early bluebells in the woods near Lawton HallSAM_0004 Bluebell
In a couple of weeks this whole area will be awash with colour.

We got away around 10:45, heading around the corner to the first of the Red Bull Locks. Apart from the lock outside the Red Bull pub, the duplicated chambers are still in operation at each of the 6 locks, and are in good condition.

Red Bull LocksSAM_0007 Red Bull Locks 
The ochre colour of the water gets more intense as the canal approaches Kidsgrove and the summit level at Harecastle Tunnel. It’s caused by dissolved iron ore seeping into the canal.

SAM_0010 Red Bull Locks

We stopped to do the tank thing at the services, then ascended the last 3 locks to Hardings Wood Junction.

You can always tell when you’re near a built up area….SAM_0015 Rubbish

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Hardings WoodSAM_0016 Hardings Wood
Straight on is the main line of the Trent and Mersey, heading to Harecastle Tunnel, Stoke and ultimately the Trent near Shardlow. A right turn under the bridge is the Hardings Wood Branch, to Hall Green Stop Lock. There it makes an end-on connection to the Macclesfield Canal, although these days it’s acceptable to assume that the Maccie starts at the junction.

It’s an odd junction, three right turns takes the navigation back over the main line just below Lock 42, carried on Poole Aqueduct. I think the idea is that the link was made at the summit level, and heading north (left) would have involved a long cutting towards Scholar Green. Ironically, this is the route the railway engineers chose when building the line north from the Kidsgrove Railway Station (Formerly Harecastle Station) to Manchester.

Poole Aqueduct, the T&M mail line below, Hardings Wood Branch above.SAM_0005 Pool Aqueduct

We pulled in just after Poole Aqueduct, and after lunch I split the last of our logs for the fire. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to forage any more this winter….

Locks 6, miles 2

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