Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Back up to the summit level.

It wasn’t as windy today, nor as wet, so far. We didn’t move yesterday, it wasn’t good cruising weather and I had a long run scheduled that I’d postponed from Sunday. It wasn’t good running weather either! Along with the strong, blustery wind I had heavy showers of rain and hail to contend with.
After 22 miles of that I was glad to get back to the boat. This long run was to prove to myself that I can do the marathon distance, just another 4¼ miles further. I reckon that if  can do 22 in that, 26.2 will be a doddle if the weather is half-way decent! Famous last words…

Anyhow, back to today. The forecast suggested rain this afternoon, so, with about 3 hours cruising ahead, we were on our way by half past nine.

Clouds had started to cover the clear skies we had first thing…IMG_4023

Trentham Lock lifts the canal to the 4 mile long pound up to Stoke Locks.IMG_4024

We had an uneventful trip to Stoke Bottom Lock, past the municipal incinerator that marks the change from countryside to urbanisation. More bridges, roads, graffiti and rubbish from this point on…

Burn, baby, burnIMG_4027

We’d met one downhill boat on the pound, so the first lock was empty for us. This is the very slow concrete replacement to the original, so that helped a bit.

Through the trees, not far from Bridge 113, can be glimpsed row upon row of railway bogies.
This is Axiom Rail’s Stoke facility, “…one of the UK’s largest dedicated rolling stock support companies, providing maintenance, refurbishment, components and suspension systems.

I thought I recognised the shape of this boat moored at the small yard near B112…IMG_4030
It’s Duck ‘em All. He’d broken down near Penkridge last December so we towed him (backwards!) into the village for assistance. Different colours, now.

I waited patiently as Mags rose up Cockshutts Lock to get a picture of a train passing over the bridge below.

I’d given up, opened the gate and waved Mags on when one of the local commuters arrived…IMG_4033
…followed immediately by a Virgin Class 390 after I’d put the camera away!

The locks are fairly close together up to the junction at Etruria, so Meg and I walked between the last three.

Mags waits while I empty Lock 39, Jesse Shirley’s Bone and Flint Mill in the background…IMG_4034

…then heads for Etruria Lock. Meanwhile Meg has found a ball and wants to play.IMG_4035

Up Etruria Lock and we’re on the summit level. While the lock was filling I checked out the mooring opportunities around the corner near the museum. There was space so we turned onto the Caldon Canal, winded on the bend near the footbridge and returned to moor opposite Mr Brindley.

Nice hair…
...pity about the bird poo.

The forecast was right, soon after we'd got settled the wind picked up, bringing with it a series of heavy showers.

We’re across the summit tomorrow, through Harecastle Tunnel and dropping down a couple of locks to Red Bull.

Locks 6, miles 5¼ 

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