Saturday, 17 March 2012

An ambitious target

Our mooring at Church Lawton on the Trent and Mersey Canal yesterday morning at 25 past 6 am!
Quarter past 8 and we're on our way ...
... first lock of the day - the iron oxide in the water makes the walls and gates this colour
Arriving at lock 44 Red Bull service point - the locks are still in pairs (one beside the other) and you can see how awkward it is to navigate into the offline (non towpath side of the canal) lock.
Far in the distance is Mow Cop Folly
Red Bull services - the facilities here are excellent - spotlessly clean!
Solid sandstone lock-sides in lock 43 beside the Red Bull public house
The lower part of this building was probably once BW stables/maintenance building
Lock 43 Kidsgrove where 2 youngsters died recently - may they be at peace.

The Canal Tavern alongside lock 41 and The Blue Bell on the other side
Hardings Wood Junction through the bridge on the right leads to the Macclesfield Canal - we've not done that one yet!
A view of Kidsgrove over the top of Harecastle Tunnel
The approach to the Harecastle Tunnel ...
... and the water here looks like cold tomato soup!
Dave the Tunnel Keeper has the great Stoke-on-Trent humour ...
... he was beside himself with excitement when another boat turned up for the tunnel!!
George (hubby) has been to look down the tunnel to see if the other boat is nearly here ...
... and out it comes ...
... now it's our turn - Dave and some of his cycling friends bid us cheerio ...
... 10:54 we're in ...
... and NB Raffles follows ...
... 11:30 and the southern portal airtight doors are beginning to open
The southern portal of the Harecastle Tunnel
We saw a few BW maintenance guys around here seemingly checking the bridges
This is Stoke-on-Trent home of the potteries and this is what we (born in S-o-T) would call a pot bank with it's bottle kiln oven - most now have preservation orders on them even though the factory it is attached to may be derelict.
Stoke-on-Trent Boat Builders - a rather short wide beam but from what I could see of the inside, very well fitted out.  All the locks here are narrow so this boat's first journey must be by road!
No, this Slip House isn't where they keep the banana skins!
Middleport Pottery is one of the longest surviving pot-banks in Stoke ...
... and a sample of their ware through the window.
Most of the buildings though are derelict - such a shame really.
Car doors for sale - any colour any make!
No bridge numbers since 129 but this one is just north of Festival Park ...
... Black Prince Hire Boats and the Toby Carvery ...
... leading to Etruria Junction - on the left is the Caldon Canal but we go right down the first of the Stoke locks ...
... and round the sharp bend ...
... into lock 39. Geoff told me these were call 'pissers' but I would call them leaks - same thing really!!
Twyford Lock
More bottle ovens preserved on a housing estate
The very pretty church entrance to Shelton Cemetery
Cockshutts Lock, Shelton - my first (and only) job between leaving school and getting married was very near here.

A Trent and Mersey Milepost - can't quite make it out but it looks like R & D ST WE 1819 - a very old one indeed
That's a wooden beam you can see running down the inside of the Cockshutts Lock ...
... then under the low bridge which carries the A500
From Stoke Bottom Lock I can see the Town Hall where George and I had our wedding reception in the Jury Room (1969).
The lock has a solid concrete cill
This is the canal wall I would have looked over as a child when visiting my Uncle John and Auntie Dolly who lived in Lytton Street above (no longer there as part of Stoke's extensive regeneration)
A glimpse of Stoke Parish Church where my Mum and Dad got married...
 ... and Fenton where I (and my Mum) went to school ...
 ... the Britannia Stadium, home of Stoke City FC - I lived just a very short distance from here until I moved away when we got married.
 Cooo, a bridge number 106 - that's 20 bridges that have no number!
 High-rise mallards ...
 This mallard's feathers were irredescent!
 The last lock of the day ...
 ... at Trentham ...
 ... and this is our mooring this morning ...
 ... peaceful ...
 ... countryside ...
 ... by bridge 104 near the Josiah Wedgwood Visitor Centre ...
... and not far from the pub - the Plume of Feathers where had our evening meal yesterday.

So, did we achieve our ambitious target?
Yes, we did, with time to spare - we arrived at bridge 104 Barlaston at half past three after 7.25 hours, 14 miles, a rise of 44 feet via 6 locks, 1 x 2-mile long tunnel, and a descent of 62 feet down a further 6 locks!
What a great day!!


  1. Hi George/Carol
    I read somewhere the widebeam is going to the U.S. and was only in the water to check for leaks and ballasting.
    Happy cruising

  2. Past the home of football today Carol,

    Didn't know we shared our place of birth - all the best people do!!

    Up the Potters!! (Shame they lost yesterday!)


  3. Looks like Spring is on the way there. Stoke looks interesting, at least from the cut! Never been there though before I became a lawyer I was offered a job there as a trainee Radiographer! Sometimes think I made the wrong choice!