This morning, the first lock of the day was Trentham lock, just a few minutes cruise from our mooring. just as we were ready to set off, 2 boats came around the bend – ok, so back to queuing for locks again today! As we approached the lock the first boat was just going in – the really struggled to shut the bottom gates, but managed due to the judicious use of the top paddles. After emptying the lock, it was the turn of the boat in front of us – nb Holly. I went up to lend a hand, as usual, and we just couldn’t get the gates to shut enough to fill the lock. There was something jamming between the gates – either one would shut perfectly on it’s own, but not when they were together. We pushed and pulled, flushed some water through, and managed to get them shut enough to fill the lock. There was a gaping hole in between the gates at the bottom though. They moored up at the top to help us through, but it soon became apparent that this time we weren’t going to manage. Another boat had then arrived, and they phoned C & RT while we continued to try. But in then end we had to admit defeat, and Rog reversed the boat out of the lock and back onto the lock landing. While waiting for C & RT to arrive, hotel boats Duke and Duchess arrived, crewed by several strong hefty blokes. They also had a very long pole (!), which they wielded to great effect and managed to move whatever it was away from the gates! Hooray! we were on our way again – having lost a couple of hours.
A long run in after that to Stoke, and a chance for a rest – I felt like I’d worked 10 locks already today! The canal runs through a less than salubrious part of town. Graffiti is everywhere, not much of it original, but we spotted this which we thought deserved a mention.
Deep locks along here. As we approached the first of the Stoke locks the gates opened for us, but when I reached the lock there wasn’t a soul about! Spooky – until I spotted a chap in the garden of the house by the lock – he’d opened them when he saw us coming.
As I said – the environs are less than salubrious, but at least there were no drunks laying around at the locks boozing, and the locks are fairly easy to work.
Two bottle kilns, preserved between two blocks of flats
The very unprepossessing start of the Caldon Canal at Etruria Junction, just above the top of the Stoke locks
Moored now at Westport Lake Park, with nb Holly in front of us, and Ozzy has a new best friend – Ollie the Cavapoo. They had a lovely time tearing around while we had a natter. We were trying to work out how long it was since we’ve been up as far as this – we reckon it was when we first started boating in our old boat Teasel. I think it was the first 2 week holiday we had on her, when we did the Four Counties ring in the mid 1990s. The scenery has certainly changed since then.
Westport Lake – we don’t remember this being here then, although it must have been, put perhaps not developed into a Country Park back then.
Tomorrow we have the spooky Harecastle tunnel.
7.3 miles and 6 locks