Tuesday, 27 October 2009


6 locks, 8 Miles. Now moored at BarlastonPotteries 002 Gypsy Rover and Epiphany at Westport Lake.Potteries 003Westport Lake, Tunstall, Stoke on Trent.

While preparing for today’s journey we were passed by quite a few boats who had either come through the Harecastle tunnel early this morning or moored south of the tunnel after a late tunnel transit last night. Two of these boats moored up behind us and it transpired that John and Fiona knew the sole lady boater, so that delayed our departure with the obligatory greeting of  a long lost friend and a quick catch up on comings and goings.

Potteries 005 The newly completed visitor centre at Westport Lake

Despite the sky being heavily overcast it has been very mild for this time of year. With so many boats on the move we knew that we were going to be delayed at Etruria junction and we were proven right being third in the queue for lock 40. With boats waiting on both sides it was a case of 1 up, 1 down until our turn came when there were no more North bound boats.

Potteries 014 The site of Newport Potteries now apartment blocks.  Stoke on Trent.

At lock 36 I had set the lock and had the top gate open for Dot to drive the boat in when a lady appeared from below the lock and proceeded to raise the paddles at the other end of the lock to empty it. I couldn’t believe it, this was the second time that this has happened to us. With a quick, loud “Excuse me” the woman finally realised what was happening and stopped. Rather flabbergasted, she dis-appeared and I realised her partner or what ever had driven their boat right up to the lock gates so they were franticly reversing back out of the long throat of the lock onto the bollards to await their turn. And no, they were not a hire boat but private owners who should have known better.

Potteries 015 Still a few hints of the old potteries around in Stoke on Trent.Potteries 021These pottery kilns are probably listed buildings and have been retained. Potteries 028Have loo will travel. Potteries 029Blue Boar contractors. The unit in front of the tug is a split pontoon to carry cranes etc but is too big for the locks so it gets unbolted and moved end to end.

At Trentham lock we suspected that some youths had been skylarking around the lock but as soon as they saw 2 boats approaching they dis-appeared into the woodland behind the lock. The other boat was the Mikron Canal Theatre boat heading North. We could hear the youths in the woods but they didn’t re-appear or cause any hassles.

Potteries 034 This was an old station masters house but the trains don't stop there any more.Potteries 035 Autumn on the cut.

2006 locks, 3881 miles, 76 tunnels, 129 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006

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