Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Stoke Locks and sunshine.

It’s been mainly sunny and bright today, and for the first time in several days we’ve not had to pay for it in the form of heavy showers. Not yet, anyway…

We’re getting into these earlier starts now we have lighter mornings, we were underway today at 09:15, heading past the museum and back out onto the Trent and Mersey.

Heading off the CaldonSAM_9949

Unfortunately we were beaten to the line by another boat, but we only had to queue at the first, deepest lock, after that there was a steady procession of ascending boats setting the locks for us.

Down Lock 39, Stoke Top Lock above.

Stoke Bottom Lock is the one that was rebuilt during road improvements, and is a concrete monstrosity, slow to empty and fill. Consequently there are always queues here.
Our benefit today, with boats waiting to come up I was ordered back on board by the throng on the lockside.

Mob-handed at Stoke Bottom LockSAM_9951
Unusual shot for me, the exposed upper gate and cill as we drop down.SAM_9952

Like it or loathe it, street art gives an opportunity for some of the very talented to show off their skills..
Unfortunately some of the less skilled have to get in on the act too!

Another bottle kiln, the last this trip, I promise!SAM_9955

The canal’s first encounter with the River Trent, humble at this point but dominant further south and east.SAM_9956



It takes about an hour and a quarter to get from Stoke Bottom Lock to Trentham, the canal moving out of the urban fringe of industry into a band of open country before reaching the housing estates of the large village.

Trentham Lock, on the south side of the village, was our last for today. We had a bit of a pause here while we waited for a boat coming up, then we were on our way down.

Trentham LockSAM_9965

Still Life

We pulled in beyond the Wedgwood Factory, between Bridges 103 and 104.SAM_9968

Just the Meaford Locks for tomorrow, then a couple of days in Stone before pushing on.

These relatively early starts and lunchtime finishes are starting to get habitual. In the past I’d have had to run the engine for half an hour in the early evening to ensure we had power for showers in the morning, now the solar panels happily keep up with consumption through the afternoon.

Locks 6, miles 5½

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