We stay at Westport Lake for a week, where we are able to top up on grocery shopping and pick up some prescription medicines. We had a few dry days during this time bur had a few foggy ones too.
We leave our mooring at Westport Lake and cruise for an hour to Etruria in Stoke. Watch out for the kilns,cranes and cobbles of Middleport Pottery, the Victorian pottery which continues to use traditional techniques to produce Burleighware pottery today. Its also been used as a film location and in an episode of Peaky Blinders.
We moor at Etruria next to the Industrial Museum, with the only remaining operational Steam Driven Potters Mill in the world. Sadly closed while we were there. A statue of James Brindley the most famous canal engineer of the era is located opposite the museum. Here we walk into Tunstall town a couple of times as I managed to find a fabric store where I could purchase a few bits for a couple of projects I am doing.
24th January 2020
Leaving Etruria we negotiate the 5 Stoke Locks and continue to head south, watch out for the brick furnaces shaped like gigantic bottles thankfully preserved, the factories and warehouses which are now being rebuilt and the Wedgewood Factory built in 1769 which is set back from the canal. The day started of a bit mucky and that was how it continued for most of the day. We moor at Barlaston for a few days where we take in a visit to the Wedgewood Factory and enjoy a couple of walks although we did get a bit muddy!
28th January 2020
We leave Barlaston on a beautiful crisp winters day, we were blessed with some lovely winter sunshine, and pass through some lovely countryside interspersed with the odd few houses or cottages. The railway adjacent to the canal for most of this section of the canal. We we arrived at Meaford Locks, a set of three locks that take us towards Stone. At Stone we use the boaters facilities before heading down the four Stone Locks and mooring below the bottom lock.
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.
8th January 2020
We leave Wheelock and start our journey up the Cheshire Locks, commonly known as Heartbreak Hill. The canal becomes quite rural with small settlements lining the canal at intervals, Wheelock, Malkins Bank, Hassall Green and Rodes Heath, all to a large extent depended on the former salt works that originally lined the canal banks. Here patches of new housing can be seen mixing with old terraced cottages and wharfs but we also have fine views of the Cheshire Plain.
We had intended to moor at Hassell Green after doing 10 locks but sadly the moorings here were covered in dog poop so we decided to continue through a further 4 locks.
We finally moor at Rode Heath, next to Rode Heath Rise, an open space with a meadow and a woodland on the site of a former salt works.
There are good moorings here albeit opposite some housing on the offside but tow path side was the lovely meadow. We had a walk through the meadow and up to the road.
Watch out for the steel lock, built in 1958 but sadly demolished in the 1980's as it was unused due to slow filling so boaters therefore preferred to use the other lock.
There is a large jump between the last vlog and this one. So just to update you, we put Dunworkin into a marina at Northwich on the Trent and Mersey and returned to Kent to spent 10 days including Christmas with our daughter, son in law and 3 grandchildren. Pat managed to catch flu which was apparent the day after our arrival in Kent so spent the whole of Christmas and the following 3 weeks unwell!
29th December 2019
We left the marina and found a quiet spot to spend new year eve, we did manage a short walk but as Pat still feeling unwell we didn't go too far.
1st January 2020
We had a lovely New Years day cruise to Middlewich where we stayed overnight as we wanted to top up with some grocery shopping. We did get an internet shop delivery while we were in the marina.
2nd January 2020
We cruised through Middlewich Locks and met up with a twitter follower NB Lingalonga who incidentally was at Reedley Marina where we stayed for a month after the launch of our boat.
We passed through Kings Lock and moored for an hour while we had fish and chips at the rather excellent chippy at the top of the locks. We decided however to move onto Wheelock as the mooring here is a bit noisy with lots of heavy lorries using the adjacent road.
We didn't quite make it to Wheelock as we found a lovely isolated mooring between Bridges 160 and 161 at Sandbach.
5th January 2020
We moved down to Wheelock where we stayed for 3 days as the weather wasn't great and we didn't want to start our ascent up Heartbreak Hill in the rain. Meanwhile Pat did some editing while I made the most of the wet weather and did some sewing.