Monday, March 25, 2013

Just a Stone’s throw…

Saturday and yesterday we came up through Stone, moving from below Star Lock to the straight below Meaford Locks.
It turned into two days because we needed water on Saturday morning, or we would probably stayed put and done the whole 1¼ miles in one go!

Above Star Lock, we moored overnight on the right, next to the car park
Handy for the shops, but no grass for the dogs.

Yesterday we steadily moved the rest of the way, taking it carefully on the locksides with ice and snow making footing treacherous.

In Limekiln Lock

SAM_4790Above the lock is the basin that The Canal Cruising Company calls home. Established over 60 years ago, the company is still family owned, and has been operating longer than any other hire fleet.

Those who know Mags will also know why we never hired a boat from this yard; she hates green!

Newcastle Road Lock lies right alongside the road, there’s a hole under the road for the lock, and another alongside for the boatman and his horse.

Newcastle Road

Icicle sculptures under the railway bridge

We joined Ann and Chas on board NB Moore2Life for an excellent Sunday lunch, then settled down to watch an eventful Malaysian Grand Prix.

Ann dishing up, Chas warming up the wine…DSC_0089

Stone has always had a close association with the Trent and Mersey Canal, the company headquarters were here and the opening ceremony was held here in 1777, amid much celebration and the firing of a cannon volley which resulted in damage to one of the locks!

A more tragic association involved the death of a young woman in 1839. Christina Collins was a passenger on a Pickfords boat travelling from Preston Brook to join her husband in London. Apart from cargo, some boats had limited passenger accommodation and this was a cheaper alternative to the coach.

On arrival at Stone she spoke to the company agent, concerned about the behaviour of the boat crew. Often drunk, she was afraid of their attentions. The agent told her to report their behaviour at London when she completed her journey. But she didn’t make it, her body was found in the canal near Brindley Bank just this side of Rugeley. She’d been raped and murdered.
The two adult boatmen were hanged in Stafford, the boy transported.

Alongside Workhouse Bridge in Stone there’s a wooden sculpture dedicated to the memory of the unfortunate woman.

“Chistina”, by Simon Jones

Not sure what we’re doing today; it’s still bloody cold out there even though there is the odd splash of sunshine!

Locks 4, miles 1¼

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