Monday, March 23, 2015

A good road as we head down through Stoke

Last evening I watched the Channel 4 coverage of the return of King Richard III’s remains being returned to the church after spending the last 2½ years being a scientific specimen.
I’m glad he’ll finally get a proper burial as befits a monarch, and I was also glad to see the reception the coffin received as the procession wound it’s way through the Leicester’s streets, although the two guys in armour on horseback were a little over the top…
Yesterday’s crowds of people throwing white roses and watching the ceremonials contrasted sharply with his earlier arrival, a few days after the Battle of Bosworth.
Battle of Bosworth, 
as depicted by Philip James de Loutherbourg (1740–1812)

Then his corpse was draped naked over the back of a horse, to be jeered at and vilified. If it wasn’t for the Franciscan monks at Greyfriars spiriting the body away and giving him a simple but Christian burial, who knows where he may have finished up?
Whatever the rights and wrongs of how he became king, that’s what he was, and as such deserved more respect than he was given immediately after his death.

Not that he should have finished up in Leicester anyway…

This morning we were woken to the sounds of engines as the crew resurfacing the access road to the museum arrived. They did start bright and early.

Road menders at workIMG_3943

I took Meg for a walk around Bedford Street Staircase Locks, the first of the lock on the Caldon Canal.

We weren’t out for long, she had plenty of opportunity to be off and about as we dropped down Stoke locks. And my legs were feeling it after a long run yesterday morning. I got it a bit wrong…

James Brindley looks out over Etruria Junction.
He died in 1772 while surveying the route for the Caldon Canal, and is buried at Newchapel, near Kidsgove, only a mile or so from Harecastle Tunnel which he didn’t see completed.

Watered up and emptied, we left the wharf and made a hard left turn into Etruria Lock. This was full and ready for us as were all of today’s locks.

Into Etruria or Stoke Top Lock.IMG_3947

There are five locks dropping the canal through Stoke, all within the space of a mile. We met boats coming up between each, meaning that the locks were all set for us.

Leaving Twyford Lock, under the railway bridgesIMG_3948
We left the gates open for a boat waiting below.

The bottom lock is a concrete monstrosity, built when the original disappeared under a road improvement scheme.

Stoke Bottom LockIMG_3951
I was pleased to see this one full, it takes a long time to fill and empty.

Below the lock the concrete support walls make a canvas for the local budding Leonardos.

Some of the “street art”, is well executed…

…but other examples could have been done by a four-year-old.IMG_3956

The River Trent is crossed before the canal shakes off the influences of the town.IMG_3959
At this point it’s only about 7 miles from it’s source on Biddulph Moor. It gets a bit bigger in it’s 185 miles to the Humber estuary at Trent Falls.

There’s a mile of open country before the canal reaches Trentham, the lock on the south of the village was our last for the day.

Mags leaving Trentham LockIMG_3963
We pulled in past Bridge 104, north of Barlaston.

It was a grey start to the day, with a bit of fine drizzle at one point, but later we had a spell of bright sunshine. All in all not too bad.

We’ll drop down into Stone tomorrow. We’re a little early for our appointment with the dry dock at Canal Cruising Company, but C&RT are closing the top lock of the Meaford flight on Wednesday to investigate a leak. We can’t afford to be stuck on this side of it if the repair takes more than one day.

Hi Carol. Francis Egerton, the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, was born in Berkhamsted. His father, the 1st Duke, was Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, but also had extensive estates in Cheshire and Lancashire. It was these that the 12 year old Francis inherited on the death of his brother, the 2nd Duke, in 1748. Following a failed attempt at marriage he moved north to his Worsley estates, and the rest, as they say, is history.  As far as I’m aware he had no input in the construction of the Grand Union, he died 2 years after it opened.

Hi Sue, we started our journey on the Trent and Mersey, too. A bit further north though, at Northwich. We had the Cheshire flight and Harecastle tunnel to do on our maiden voyage, but at least we’d been that way before on a hire boat.

Locks 6, miles 5¼

1 comment:

Carol said...

Thanks Geoff