Thursday, 10 May 2012

 10th May

The heavy overnight rain gave way to a warm morning with high cloud. Graham and Carolann had some finances to attend to in Stoke and were going to Church Lawton to catch the bus so we said our farewells and set off for the Harecastle Tunnel.
As we left Rode Heath we met 2 chaps loaded down with heavy packs walking in the opposite direction and passed the time of day with them.
Passing the BW Yard we noticed piles of new lock gates awaiting fitting, perhaps destined for the locks in the Wheelock Flight where BW were working on a couple of the lock chamber.

* Sets of Lock Gates awaiting fitting.

At the first lock we met up with the single hander who had left the moorings a short while before us and we helped one another through the locks up to Church Lawton. He had been a sailor and had sailed around the world, so narrow boating was pretty tame stuff for him, but he was giving up the boat and heading off to live in Thailand.
As we passed him in Church Lawton he passed us a bag full of Books and Magazines and wished us well on our travels. You do meet some lovely people on the cut.
On route we went under the Maccelsfield Canal as it comes back on itself from the Junction with the T & T at Hardings Wood Junction.

* Under the Maccelsfield

When we reached the Tunnel we met up with the 2 chaps we had seen walking in Rode Heath. They were enjoying a cup of coffee and June offered them a lift through the tunnel. They (David and Andy) readily accepted as they had had some hassle from Gypsies when they had gone over the top. They told us that they were doing a 50 mile walk for the NSPC charity through their company, JCB, and had turned around at Rode Heath to do the 25 miles back to home.
Derek the BW Tunnel keeper at the North Portal came and gave us a briefing on travelling through tunnel and we enjoyed a bit of banter with him and the lads. He told us that we would have to wait about an hour as a boat had just gone through and 4 more were waiting to come north. This was ideal for us as we could have a nice leisurely lunch.
We were let in to the tunnel at 12.05 and 35 minutes later were dropping the lads off at the other end with promises of putting their picture on our blog. As a parting gift they gave June some butter and tomato sauce.

* David and Andy at the Harecastle Tunnel

As it was still early in the day and we felt quite fresh we decided not to moor at the south end of the tunnel but carry on through Stoke with its Bottle Kilns and passed the junction with the Caldon Canal at Etruia. We had a couple of boats in front of us at the deep Stoke flight of locks but still made good progress to Barlaston where we moored up for the night near to the Wedgewood Factory and Museum.

* Bottle Kilns preserved amongst new office blocks

* Etruia Junction with the Calden Canal

* Mooring at Barlaston where the canal and railway follow the same route


  1. Thanks for the lift Dave and Andy, it was most welcome, we are now back home after finishing our walk Friday at The Star in Stone earlier than planned and had a 5 hour wait for my wife to pick us both up, had a great time talking to the locals about the walk and the canals with other boaters, will have to hire a boat one year for a holiday as everyone was so friendly and helpful, hope you enjoy the rest of your trip and again thanks.

  2. Hi Dave
    It was a pleasure to meet you and Andy and give you a lift through the tunnel. Hope that your charity walk raised a lot of money for the NSPCC.
    Look forward to meeting you on the canals in the future.
    All the best
    Bob and June