Thursday, December 15, 2016

Well, we finally got to Stone…

Actually we got here yesterday, mooring below Star Lock. Then today we moved up through the four locks in the town and have pulled in above Limekiln Lock.

The weatherman was right, yesterday was the best day of the week, with warm sunshine at midday.IMG_2951

We only had one lock to do before Stone, the one at Aston that we should have done on Tuesday… Oh and I did get that wood all cut up before we left.

Aston Lock

This lock is fitted with steel gates top and bottom. I’m not fond of them; they’re often heavier than their wood counterparts, but there’s no denying that they last well…
Forty–three years. I think the life-expectancy for timber gates is around 25.

IMG_2956Aston Lock also marks the half-way point on the canal.

Half-way in distance, but there are a lot more locks on the northern half! Aston is Lock 26 out of 76. Heartbreak Hill beckons…

After the lock we had about 35 minutes to cruise till we moored up.

Coming in to land…


Was it one of those super-moons last night? It was big, bright and very clear, anyway.IMG_2962

Back to gloomy, grey and damp weather this morning as we set off, but at least the early drizzle had cleared up. We filled with water below Star Lock, then went up the lock with a gaggle of young gongoozlers keeping an eye on things.IMG_2966


The remaining three locks were against us as we were now following a boat that had left the moorings below Yard Lock. Not to worry, no rush.

The fleet’s all home at Canal Cruising, just above Yard Lock.IMG_2968


John Joules’ bottle store and warehouse alongside the canal.IMG_2970
The Joule family started brewing in Stone after Francis moved from Derbyshire in the late 18th century. Originally working from the White Horse Inn, the successful brand soon needed to expand and a new brewery was built on the High Street. The frontage still survives, the Co-op now occupies the site. The brewery was closed after acquisition by Bass Charrington in the 1970s.
But there’s a happy ending. The beer is now being produced again in Market Drayton, in a new brewery on the site of the Red Lion.

Just an aside – you know the SI unit, the Joule? You know, energy, work or heat is measured in Joules. 1 Joule is 1 kgm²/s² if I remember my physics… Well, it’s named after the physicist James Prescott Joule of the same family, who was also into into brewing but majored in physics. Talented family.

We stopped at the chandlery on the left for me to dash in and get a new lamp. It’s to replace the one I use at the back in long tunnels. An LED worklamp will do the job just fine. It was a slow dash, we got talking about classic cars…

Then it was up Newcastle Road and Limekiln Locks, before pulling in for the day.

Locks 5, miles 4, two days

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