Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Big Trip - Day 8

We were awake early again, and were under way at 7.45, keen to get a good start.  The first lock of the day was just around the corner, Trentham Lock, and it's a deep one.

Next is a long lock-free pound into Stoke on Trent.  In Hem Heath we passed Waterway RoutesThe canal passes the Britannia Stadium, a vast Sainsbury's distribution, and finally an incinerator.

I always love the range of services on offer at the Dolphin boat yard.

At the Stoke locks, there was a boat waiting to go up, and two coming down.  The second lock has a railway line right behind it.

The penultimate lock of the flight is a bit difficult to get into, as it's at a very strange angle.

The top lock leads to Eturia Junction.  We came out of the lock and reversed into the start of the Caldon Canal, to go to the water point.  While we filled the tank, we started a wash load.  The junction has lots of old buildings, and is quite charming.

Between Etruria and the Harecastle Tunnel, the canal passes lots of former and current potteries, and the site of a steel works, which was demolished years ago.

At the tunnel, the boat that had been ahead of us at the locks had been waiting an hour.  Four boats were coming south, and then the tunnel keepers would be having a half hour lunch break, so we'd be waiting 45 minutes or so.  Sure enough, the four boats arrived on schedule.

By the time we went in, another boat had arrived behind us (a couple we'd seen several times yesterday), so we were a convoy of three.  It's a bit tight in the middle section of the tunnel, and it's cold because fans suck air through for ventilation.

At the far end, five boats were waiting.  The water is orange, because of the mineral leaching out of the ground.

The Trent and Mersey carries on down duplicated locks, but we were turning onto the Macclesfield Canal, a sharp left turn under a roving bridge.

Having made that turn, the canal goes right and right again, to cross the T&M on an aqueduct.  we've stayed on the level, but the T&M has dropped down below us.  We saw the boat which had been in front of us heading for the second lock.

Although Harding's Wood Junctions feels like the start of the Macc, it's actually still part of the T&M until Hall Green Stop Lock, with a rise of just a foot.  There's only one lock here these days, but there used to be two, end to end, one for each canal, and each with its own cottage and stables.

We carried on for a couple of miles past the imposing Ramsdell Hall.

We moored a little further on before Bridge 86, with fantastic views over the Cheshire countryside.

15 miles, 7 locks.  (121 miles, 61 locks)

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