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

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Meaford Bottom Lock (Trent & Mersey Canal) – Wednesday 14th August

Approaching the junction with the Trent & Mersey
We were up bright and early so that we could get to the Harecastle Tunnel entrance for 8am when it opens.  Richard had walked up there yesterday and was told that they usually let the boats at the other end go first in the mornings.  We arrived and found four boats already there – I’m sure they must have overnighted there!  However we didn’t have to wait long before the first boat moved off – so it was our end first today J  A traditional workboat, Lillian, was in front of us but they struggled to get through the entrance which had apparently silted up overnight.  In the end he waved us through saying that he was going to fill up his water tank (water tanks are usually in the bows) to see if that would lift the stern out of the water a bit.  We entered the tunnel and I had my breakfast – it had all been such a rush that we hadn’t time to eat!  I took over the steering while Richard had his breakfast.  I was quite happy steering but as the roof got lower I handed back to Richard as I thought if the top box or cratch caught on the tunnel and I was steering I would never hear the last of it!!

Lillian trying to get into Harecastle Tunnel
We motored on down to Etruria and the Stoke locks.  We discovered a queue of six boats waiting to go down the locks but as we needed to use the services we passed them by, used the services then reversed back to rejoin the queue.  There was a boat coming up each of the five locks, except for one, which always makes life a little easier with someone else to help.

The area through Stoke is rather sad where potteries or steel works  have been pulled down and just an area of wasteland left. 
 
Meaford Bottom Lock
We had hoped to moor above Meaford Locks but C&RT are working on the towpath there so we went down another four locks and are now moored in front of some rather attractive modern houses.  One is for sale at £330,000 which I would guess is quite a lot for this area.
 
The houses opposite our mooring

Poole Aqueduct to Meaford Bottom Lock
14.41 miles
10 locks

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