10th January 2020
Continuing our journey up Heartbreak Hill, we leave Rode Heath and tackle the 6 locks to Church Lawton. There are fine views here and you can see Mop Cop Hill in the distance with it's folly of a ruined castle at the summit of the hill.
We stayed here for 3 days and it rained every single day, for two of those days it rained for the whole day with some pretty high winds. We met the fuel boat here at Church Lawton and it was great to top up with diesel, coal and wood. What a great service and delivered directly to our door. Pat always feels better when we have plenty of fuel onboard at this time of the year! Unfortunately we didn't get out to explore as much as we would have liked and we ended up moving on as we were running out of food.
Notice the ochre colouring of the water as we get nearer to Harecastle Tunnel, this change in colour is due to the iron minerals from the tunnel.
13th January 2020
We make our way through the 3 locks to Red Bull Services and moor here overnight. We used the boaters services here on arrival and again on departure. The moorings here are strictly 48 hours all year round and there are also some CRT winter moorings which 3 boats had taken advantage of. There is a Tesco about a mile from the canal here in Kidsgrove, so we took the opportunity to top up with some grocery shopping.
14th January 2020
We had Harecastle Tunnel booked at 10am, (you have to book during the winter months). We left our mooring, topped up with water and negotiated the last 3 locks of the Cheshire Locks to Harecastle Tunnel only just making our 10am booking. Pat had to spread out the coal on the top of the boat as this did not fit under the gauge into the tunnel, he also removed our internet antenna from the side of the boat just to be safe as I was going to take the boat through the tunnel! This was my first time navigating the boat through a tunnel!
Hurrah! we made it through the tunnel, I only had one small bump on the starboard stern end of the boat, but what a mess it made! due to the constant water dripping through the tunnel, there are thick deposits of minerals lining the tunnel which are quite soft and it was this that I bumped going through the tunnel. It did take some cleaning!
We exit the tunnel and moor at Westport Lake a popular area for the boating community.