We started our second ‘day of locks’ at 8 o’clock this morning. From the beginning we headed into bright sunshine and large dark clouds scudding quickly across the sky………..
……….our first lock this morning.
‘Chance’ entering our eleventh lock in a mile and half. In the background is the aqueduct which carries the Macclesfield Canal over the Trent and Mersey Canal and also at this point we’re crossing county border from Cheshire into Staffordshire.
After our twelfth lock we soon turned the corner and arrived at the Harecastle Tunnel. At nearly 3000 yards it’s one of the longest tunnels on the system. Boats are counted in and out of the tunnel by the attendants at each end - “That’s two adults and a dog then sir!”
‘Chance’ waiting with the other boats until it’s our turn to go through. The peculiar orange colour of the water is due to particles of ironstone rock which seep out of underground springs from nearby coalfaces. We had a 40 minute wait so Doug quickly ran into Kidsgrove for some supplies.
The North portal of the Harecastle Tunnel.
The tunnel can get pretty low in places.
After four hours of travelling we felt we’d done enough for today so we’ve moored up a mile from the tunnel at Westport Lake in Longport – just a stones throw from Stoke on Trent. Having most of the afternoon left we decided to take a train journey (the second in as many days!) into Stoke. Sadly, we wish we hadn’t, as the town centre has been all but killed off by the new out of town shopping centre at Hanley. It’s a sorry sight to say the least.
Walking back to the boat from the train we pass this wonderful old bottle kiln. Let’s hope it, and the adjoining buildings will be saved for posterity.