Barlaston to Harecastle Tunnel
9.5 miles, 6 locks
Yesterday we won - nearly all the locks were in our favour, however today we lost! We were following behind other boats all the way with only one boat coming our way, so all locks needed to be emptied before we could enter, fill and move on. Yesterday was hot and sunny - today - well it wasn't!
The weather was dry, warm and sunny when we set off. Monty and I walked to the first lock and went past this boat - I was fairly certain that I had passed them last year on the River Wey and yes we had on 10 August. If you are as intrigued as I was about the name I explained it HERE last year
Today we had to get through Stock on Trent - somewhere it is wise not to stop too long. Does anyone know what this is for?
But some people still do, but behind that big wall is a very busy and very noisy main road.
The first of the Stoke locks is very deep with very heavy bottom gates - I had a real struggle to get the off side one open.
The rain had set in just before we had the last five locks to do!
You know you can only be in Stoke on Trent when you see the bottle kilns
Just before the last two locks at Etruria Junction is the Etruscan Bone and Flint Mill erected in 1857 and a grade II listed building
There is a brief reprieve of green before
Middleport/Burleigh Pottery where we had planned on stopping to eat lunch and I was going to have a look whilst Chris had a nap
It was not to be! We were five minutes too late as this boat was just mooring up. We probably could have tucked in behind them and have attached the stern and middle ropes to the rings, but we decided to move on to Westport Lake
Where we found the Oatcake boat doing good business, however we resisted temptation.
We had a break for a couple of hours before moving on.
A walk round the lake would have been great in better weather - somewhere to come back to as they are excellent moorings
We just moved on for a further half hour and stopped ready to go through the Harecastle Tunnel tomorrow morning. We are a 'Q' of one and have to be ready around 08:15.
The Harecastle Tunnel is a Transport Heritage Site - if you are interested in more details they can be found HERE
The tunnel is one way traffic and is controlled by tunnel keepers who have an office at each end
If your boat hits the gauge at the entrance you cannot go!
We should be okay as we fit under the M5 when the air draft is 1.8 metres. So a nice quiet night for us - well as long as this stuff stops hammering on the roof.
And so tomorrow on my birthday there is no lie in and I have a long tunnel to look forward to - something I really do not enjoy, so I guess the day can only get better once we are out the other side.