Wednesday, 5 December 2012

A grand day!

 3:45 Monday evening as we were leaving Stone Top Lock to moor up  …

 … here above bridge 96a - taken as we left this morning at 10:45

Lovely split bridges with pretty ironwork abound on the locks today (the split in the footbridge allowed horse drawn boats to enter and leave the lock without being unhitched)

Bubbling water from the lock top gates

It was still very cold even in the sunshine here at Cockshutts Lock at half past two ...
A lucky shot - and he’s got a fish in his beak! …

… and he’s not swallowed it yet either!

Twyford Lock where we start to see signs of industrial ruin

And another one!

The sharp left turn into Etruria can be difficult especially with the working boats moored opposite … but no problem for Rock n Roll

Keppel ...

… and Lindsay

Bone and Flint Mill at Etruria - the junction of the Trent and Mersey and the Caldon Canals

Etruscan Bone and Flint Mill built by Jessie Shirley in 1857

The top lock of the Stoke flight of locks is deep.  Today’s 9 locks between Stone and Etrutria have taken us uphill by 95 feet.

First time I’ve noticed this board by the top lock - apparently the lock that I’m in was once covered and boats were ‘gauged’ here to assess their load and a toll was charged accordingly.
4pm and it’s nearly dark as we pass Wesport Lake.

We cruise on for another short distance and moor up at the south portal of the Harecastle Tunnel for our journey through at half past eight in the morning.

So 11 miles and 9 locks today in the winter sunshine was well worth it - a really grand day!

Our original plan for winter cruising this year was to join Ann and Chas on the Llangollen Canal, but due to our extended stay at Great Haywood (for dental treatments) and stoppages on the Llangollen early in the new year, plus an invitation to stay with our son and his family for Christmas we changed that plan.
Our hope (ice permitting) is to be able to cruise onto the Shroppie and leave R n R in Overwater Marina (below Audlum Locks) over Christmas.  We were aware of the stoppage at Nantwich until the 14th December which was fine, but tonight discovered that there is now an emergency stoppage at Church Minshall Lock on the Middlewich Branch from 3rd to the 17th.  Fortunately the lock is just after Church Minshall Marina so we should be ok for water and fuel if the ice does freeze the canal and we can leave the boat there if necessary over the festive season - all part of being a year-round continuous cruiser!

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