We moved on from Church Lawton on Friday, heading up the Red Bull locks to the summit level of the Trent and Mersey.
Moore2Life waiting for Lock 44
Although there were a fair few boats around, the paired locks meant that progress was good, till we joined the queue at the water point below Lock 45. It took about an hour to get the relevant tanks emptied and filled, then we were up 2 more locks before stopping again, this time to visit Tesco to top up the cupboards.
Lock 42 with Poole Aqueduct in the background
The Hall Green Branch leaves the summit level at Hardings Wood Junction and doubles back to cross over the main line on this aqueduct. It connects end-on with the Macclesfield at Hall Green Stop Lock, although these days it’s generally accepted that the Mac starts at the junction.
Waiting at the north portal of Harecastle Tunnel.
Telford’s tunnel, dating from 1827, is the one in use now. Brindley’s original, completed in 1770 after an arduous 11 years of labour, can just be seen to the right. Subsidence caused it’s closure early in the last century. It’s also affected the later tunnel, the towpath was removed to allow boats to use the centre of the bore with higher headroom. There are still some pretty low sections, though.
Some pictures through the tunnel….
Flowstone from lime leaching out through the brickwork
I think this guy’s got a name, but I can’t remember it at the moment…
I assume the towpath was on the left (east) side of the bore, as these alcoves are set into the wall at regular intervals. Probably refuges to avoid passing boat-horses.
Glazed tiles set in the walls originally marked the distance, more visible paint has been applied since.
The ochre colour of the water is due to passage through iron ore deposits in Harecastle Hill. The same mineral tints the flowstone in places through the tunnel.
One of the low bits….
After exactly 40 minutes M2L emerges into the daylight, 2926 yards further on.
Looking back at the south portal, the fan house which draws air through the tunnel (and makes for a cold draught in the winter but a refreshing breeze in the summer) sits on top.
We stopped overnight at Westport Lake, 15 minutes from the tunnel.
After a quiet night we pushed on, just a short, lock-free trip to Etruria and the junction with the Caldon Canal.
Westport Lake moorings
Longport Wharf uses canal warehouses dating from 1840.
Along the wide, wooded section towards Etruria, it’s hard to believe that the area once resounded with heavy industry, with a massive ironworks on one side and a colliery feeding the furnaces on the other.
We pulled up at Etruria, just above summit lock, and dived inside to get out of the hot sun. It was later, around 4 o’clock that I took Meg for a stroll around the junction and decided it would be a good idea to move to moorings just below Etruria Staircase Locks on the Caldon.
Now that’s a better mooring….
We stayed here for 2 nights, with a large area of grass for the dogs, and walks along either canals it’s a pleasant spot.
Etruria Staircase Locks
Hanley Park is a short way up the Caldon Canal
The park was created in 1894, a traditional municipal park complete with bandstand and formal gardens.
Today we were away at around 9 o’clock, a visit to the services followed by a return to the Trent and Mersey and the start of the descent of the locks on the south-east section of the canal.
Stoke Top Lock
A trip through the potteries wouldn’t be complete without a picture of…..
Of the hundreds that once dotted the industrial landscape of the Five Towns, only a few preserved examples remain.
Cockshutts Lock, with CrossCountry Class 220 Voyager on the bridge
Headroom below the lock is very limited, we squashed our chimney cap here several years ago.
Stoke Bottom Lock was rebuilt during a road improvement scheme, I’ve already had a rant about it here, so I’ll say nothing today…
Leaving the bottom lock
Boats had started to come up the flight by now, there were four waiting to come up as we left. With the speed this one fills they’ll be there for a while…
We headed out of town, through Trentham and dropped down Trentham Lock, our last for today.
It’s been another hot one, in contrast to when we came up this way in March when we were trying to avoid snow showers. Ahhh, the joys of our variable climate.
Where we’ve moored tonight we’re shaded from the afternoon sun, so I thought I’d get a bit of gloss on the cabin side. It’s been just too hot and sunny to consider it recently.
So I marked out the coachlines on the right cabin side and the rear panel, and slapped the first coat of ebony white on.
We didn’t have “mouse’s earholes” on the old scheme, and I‘ve always fancied them, so we’re having them in this one.
There are 2 schools of thought when it comes to applying coachlines. You can paint the background panel colour, then overlap it with the foreground colour, finishing off by covering the overlap with the coachline. Or, you can put the coachline on first, mask if off and apply the foreground and background colours (carefully) in one session. This is the method I’m using. It’s cheaper on masking tape, too!
I’ll lightly flat the new paint and get another coat on in the cool of the morning before we leave tomorrow.
Since the last post, locks 12, miles 12½