On Tuesday morning we started the trip down the Trent Valley. But first we used the services just in the entrance to the Caldon Canal.
James Brindley, father of the canal system, who died in September 1772 aged 56 while surveying the route of the Caldon Canal.
From Etruria there are five locks to drop the canal out of Stoke, then a further one at Trentham before Barlaston where we intended to stop.
Stoke Top Lock at Etruria Junction.
The tall chimney showing above above the trees belongs to Jesse Shirley's Bone and Flint Mill.The mill provided crushed bone and flint for the ceramics industry. It's now a working museum with a steam powered beam engine fired up regularly throughout the year.
After Johnson's Lock, just a few yards below the top lock, the remaining three are spaced out over ¾ of a mile. We started to meet boats coming up after Cockshutes Lock where canal and rail cross.
Keep your head down!
It was a pretty uneventful 4 miles to Trentham Lock then another 20 minutes before we got tied up near Barlaston at around half-twelve.
A sunny Trentham Lock.
That's it for the day.
So Wednesday we pulled pins and toddled off the couple of miles to Meaford Top Lock.
Barlaston Boatyard is for sale, anyone got £925,000 going begging?
Dropping down the four Meaford Locks.
It was fairly slow going as we came up behind another boat at the top lock, but boats had started to come up by the time we'd done the first two so that made things easier, if not faster.
Meaford Bottom Lock.
We dropped down three of the four Locks in Stone, unlikely as it seems managing to moor between Yard and Star Locks, the most popular moorings in the town.
I had the mail to collect from the post office and some shopping to do, so we stayed over until this morning.
Under grey skies we dropped down Star Lock, filled with water then set off out of town.
The daffs are going over, but the tulips have flowered in a blaze of colour.
Halfway point on the canal...
The valley widens and flattens as the river, never far away now, heads towards Nottingham.
The well-watered meadows are good for grazing, and not just for domesticated animals!
We had a bit of queue at Sandon Lock, not really unexpected, but still managed to moor up in a pleasant, quiet spot just short of Weston, by noon.
Not so quiet now though, three other boats have pulled in here too!
Locks 16, miles 18.