Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The Potteries

9 Locks, 11 ½ Miles, 1 Tunnel. Now moored at Wedgewood Potteries.

As we were booked for the Harecastle tunnel at 8.30 we had to be up at 6.am and on the move by 7.am and it was only just breaking daylight as we entered the first lock. We had a good run through as we were the only boat on the move and arrived at the tunnel just as the BW staff were pulling their work boat out of the tunnel where it is stored overnight. The reason behind this became obvious when we found one of their butty boats across the canal blocking our way. The local hoons had let it loose overnight. I managed to squeeze alongside and pushed it back out of the way.

We didn't have to wait long before we were given the all clear to proceed. At the south end we expected to see the doors shut with the Stop sign facing us to let us know we had reached the southern portal but the door was already open which was handy. We stopped and watered up and had a chat with the BW guy who told us that there was another 2 boats booked South bound and 1 north bound but we were the only boat to show up so far. With the tunnel now working winter hours to free up staff for other jobs it's a bit rude not to either show up on time or cancel the booking.

Pottery Kiln at Stoke-On-Trent

As the day had turned out bright and sunny we opted to keep moving as it was still quite early by the time we exited the tunnel. Of course we are now retracing our steps of our 2004 trip from Mirfield in Yorkshire to the river Wey in Surrey. There were quite a few changes including the new bridges through Stoke on Trent which were only in the early build stage in 2004 and we had to negotiate a temporary tunnel to get through. As we passed through Trentham we also recognised the spot where a tree had been blown down and blocked our way for 24 hours.

Geoff and Richard do you remember this tree?

By the time we reached the Wedgwood potteries factory it was well past lunch time and the temperature was starting to drop so we decided to call it a day. We are well ahead of schedule as we cannot get through Atherstone locks until the 5th December so depending on the weather we can pick and choose if we move or not.

Oh dear how long has this been on the bottom at Stoke-On-Trent?

1555 locks, 3243 ½ miles, 52 Tunnels, 42 swing bridges and 39 lift bridges since Nov 2006


Jenny and Robin said...

Isn't Gypsy Rover facing the wrong way for the tunnel entrance?

Derek and Dot said...

Hi you two, very observant of you but we had just exited the tunnel, didnt have enough time to take a photo at the other end, we virtually went straight through when we arrived.