I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Monday, 19 September 2011

Sunday 18th September

Hurray – we’ve made it to the Caldon Canal :-) We left Barlaston in a shower but needed to press on. After Trentham Lock there is a long stretch of lockless canal so I managed to get the ironing done. As you approach Stoke-on-Trent there are five locks to negotiate – four of which we had to wait for as a boat was coming down. While I was helping a boat in the second lock I heard a loud splash – there was another boat waiting to go into the lock and a lady had done that cartoon scenario of holding on to the boat as it drifted into the middle of the canal while her feet were still on the towpath. I didn’t see it happen (just heard the splash) but her husband said he watched and just knew that eventually she would fall in! Apparently she wasn’t hurt – just her ego rather dented! After the top lock there is a hairpin turn at Etruria Junction which turned us onto the Caldon Canal. I was intrigued by the name Etruria so had to look it up! Etruria was the fourth and penultimate site for the Wedgwood pottery business. Josiah Wedgwood, who was previously based in Burslem, opened his new works in 1769. It was named after the Italian district of Etruria, home of the Etruscan people who were renowned for their artistic products. The site covered 350 acres. As well as Wedgwood's home, Etruria Hall, it included the Etruria Works which remained in use by the Wedgwood enterprise until 1950. Due to financial difficulties, the Hall was sold in the 1840s by Francis Wedgwood. The house was restored as part of th e 1986 Stoke-on-Trent Garden Festival and is now part of a four-star Moat House hotel. There is a statue of James Brindley as you turn onto the Caldon - Brindley was a pioneer canal builder, who constructed the first English canal of major economic importance. The first locks are two staircase locks which were quite hard work, then we meandered through areas of regeneration alongside areas which are in dire need of it. The views from the canal are pretty spectacular but there always seemed to be something “not too nice” in the view too :-( We stopped in Milton to get supplies then went on to the bottom of Engine Lock for the night.

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