We set off at about 8am in some nice sunshine. Immediately after the first bridge is a rather unusual obstruction in the canal, which looks a bit like a mini roundabout. It used to be the pivot of a swing bridge.
At Stockton Brook locks, the top four were full while the bottom one was empty. With so many in our favour, we got down them in no time. An old railway bridge crosses the canal between a couple of the locks, and the rails are still in place, albeit overgrown.
Above the bottom lock is the old Victorian pumping station, which last time we were here Adrian thought would convert into a lovely house. It's so huge, it would make several lovely houses.
As we got back into Stoke-on-Trent, some of the new housing is really quite attractive. I like the way the roof lines are reminiscent of factories.
We came down the Bedford Street staircase locks, and then at Etruria Junction rejoined the Trent and Mersey Canal, heading north. We stopped very shortly afterwards to get a new gas bottle. There's a place on the towpath side with a gate in the fence where they sell a 13kg bottle for £21 rather than the usual £28. Next stop was Middleport Pottery, where we moored up on their offside moorings.
It was 12.30 (we'd made must better progress than we'd been expecting) so went first to the cafe for Staffordshire oatcakes and chips. The factory tour was fully booked so we couldn't do that, but we paid £4 each for entry to the heritage areas, which includes the bottle kiln, the mould store, and the steam engine. It's great just being able to wander round the quaint little alleyways.
There's an exhibition on at the moment of things made in BBC2's Great Pottery Throwdown. It's in the room where the series is filmed.
We made a visit to the Burleigh factory shop on site, and bought a little jug for the boat. It's a second so was a bit cheaper, but there's not much wrong with it that we can see.
We carried on to Westport Lake. There were only a couple of boats here, so we picked a spot and moored up. I got out the bucket and brush, and washed the side of the boat to get off all the grass that was strimmed up it yesterday. It was quite hard work, not least because the towpath is so high here which makes the boat very low down. It's now trying to rain.
10 miles, 9 locks. (154 miles, 94 locks)