Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Back Home

We arrived at our marina at lunchtime.  After filling up with 150 litres of diesel we moored at our berth and ate on the boat.  By 3:30 we had cleared the boat, packed the car and were on our way back to our house.

In the past 30 days we have travelled 203 miles and passed through 152 locks and 15 lift bridges.  Now for a few weeks rest!

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Nearly home

Nearly home now.  We started a bit later than usual this morning having eaten a very enjoyable meal at the Pasta Di Piazza in Stone last night with friends.  By lunchtime we had stopped at Ingestre where there is a good mooring.  After lunch we carried on south mooring after Haywood Lock overlooking the Shugborough estate with good views of Cannock Chase.  It was another dry day, breezier and cooler than yesterday.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Moored in Stone

Descending Meaford Lockx
 This morning gave us some of our best boating weather this trip.  The sun shone out of blue sky and a slight breeze kept us cool.  After leaving Barlaston at 9am we were able to keep at about 3 mph before we dropped down the 4 Meaford locks to take us to the outskirts of Stone.  Here there are three more locks beyond which we were lucky to find one mooring space within a very short walk of the town centre.

After lunch on the boat we went to Morrisons to stock up with food for our final few days and to check up on the location of an Italian restaurant where we are hoping to eat this evening with friends.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Leaving Stoke on Trent

Going south on the way out of Stoke
 It seems the rainy period that has been a dominant feature of our trip may now be over.  Certainly today was dry, pleasantly sunny though cool.  From Etruria we descended 5 deep locks -  we will be descending every lock until we reach home.  Leaving Stoke going south is very much more attractive than entering from the North as there is only the occasional example of derelict industrial heritage and there are many more trees. After leaving Stoke the canal passes through some countryside and past the 1930's Wedgwood factory, at the time regarded as a significant modern building, where we moored at lunchtime.

During the afternoon we made the short walk into Barlaston where we had a very good half pint at the recently refurbished Plume of Feathers, now run by the actor Neil Morrissey.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

History at Stoke on Trent

 Cruising into Stoke on Trent.....

The weather forecast was bad for this afternoon so we only planned a short journey through the 1 3/4 mile long Harecastle Tunnel built in the 1820's on the recommendation of Thomas Telford.  After the tunnel the canal passes some useful moorings by the attractive Westport Lake, where we often stop, and then onwards through old industrial areas to Stoke's canal centre at Etruria named after Josiah Wedgwood's factory which stood nearby. We moored here at lunchtime.

 1820's steam engine in operation....

The promised rain was heavy but only lasted a few minutes so when it had cleared we walked to the industrial museum.  The main attraction there is Jesse Shirley's bone and flint mill where these materials and stone were ground to make bone china clay for the pottery industry.  It was opened in 1857 and continued working until 1972.  The grinding mill is powered by an 1820s steam beam engine (it was 30 years old when first used in the mill)  thought to be one of the oldest working examples in the country and possibly the only one still connected to the machinery for which it was installed.  Luckily for us this weekend was one of the few each year where the engine is operated.  It was fascinating to see this mostly original ancient engine running smoothly, especially when one considers it was built by hand nearly 200 years ago during the same period as the canals.

Friday, 1 July 2016

More locks to Kidsgrove

Church Lawton bottom locks

 Another rain free lock-filled day heading south on the Trent & Mersey Canal though not as hard work as yesterday.  After 13 locks in 4 hours we moored at lunchtime at Kidsgrove, a small industrial town just north of Stoke on Trent.  In the afternoon we walked into the small town centre to see if there was any chance of a decent Indian meal this evening.  The town centre shops are pretty uninspiring and basic and none of the small number of restaurants tempted us at all.  So back to the boat via a quick visit to Tescos to keep us going until our next major stop at Stone.