Monday, July 15, 2013

Another catch up post

I’m getting lazy, aren’t I. No regular posts recently, but frankly there’s not been a lot going on.

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 44SAM_5961
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 backgroundSAM_5966
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.SAM_5970
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 brickworkSAM_5975

I think this guy’s got a name, but I can’t remember it at the moment…SAM_5977
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.

Red flowstone

One of the low bits….

After exactly 40 minutes M2L emerges into the daylight, 2926 yards further on.SAM_5996

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.SAM_5997
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.SAM_6002

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.SAM_6006

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.

Etruria Junction
We’re just entering the Caldon Canal, Stoke Top Lock on the T&M is to the right.

Now that’s a better mooring….SAM_6009
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 LocksSAM_6010

Hanley Park is a short way up the Caldon CanalSAM_6013


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 LockSAM_6019

A trip through the potteries wouldn’t be complete without a picture of…..

bottle kilns!
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 bridgeSAM_6021
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 lockSAM_6022
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.

Trentham Lock

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

1 comment:

Bruce in Sanity said...

It's Kit Crewbucket. The boaters' name for Kidsgrove was Kitcrew, so the name was probably the Kitcrew Boggart originally.