Ten Bob Note  

Tuesday 31st July 2007

Location: Stoke on Trent, Cheshire

Today: 4 miles, 14 lock. Total distance: 316 miles.  Total locks: 293

Warm and sunny, summer here at last???

We came down the rest of ‘heartbreak hill’ today, all in all, it’s is not my favourite piece of canal. The scenery is lovely but you never get a chance to have a relaxing cruise on the boat as you are forever working the locks.

Also came through the 2926 yard long Harecastle tunnel. The tunnel is operated as a one way only system as it is too narrow for two boats to pass each other. There is a tunnel keeper at each end of the tunnel controlling the flow. The keepers also check the boats to ensure they are low enough to get through as in some parts, the roof of the tunnel is very low, too low to be able to stand upright on the deck.

And now to the weather – what has gone wrong??? We have had beautiful, hot sunshine all day.

We stopped off briefly at Kidsgrove to call into a Tesco that is very close to the canal. We picked up a couple of chickens which will be going on the BBQ tonight. It was almost cheaper to buy two chickens than it was to buy one so whatever isn’t eaten tonight will go into a sweat and sour that can be frozen. Chicken always tastes much better cooked on the BBQ than it does in the oven. Might have to have a little glass of wine to wash it down!!

Had a smashing time today…..While moored up waiting for the nod to enter the tunnel, a boat came out of the tunnel and passed us so quickly that our boat rocked hard enough to cause some plates and cups to fall off the kitchen work top and smash on the floor. The guy driving the boat was like a little excited kid after coming through the tunnel, all laughing and giggling. It was a private boat too so you would expect them to have a bit more sense!!

Also, coming down the locks today, we actually ran aground exiting one of the locks. Many of the locks are in pairs (two narrow locks side by side). A hire boat that had gone up the locks in front of us was forgetting to close some of the paddles which caused the water level in some of the pounds to drop so low that we couldn’t move. We had to go ahead/behind in several places and shut down the paddles they had forgotten to close. I don’t believe that they were leaving them open on purpose, I think it was just the fact that they were leaving the kids to close the locks behind them and the kids were forgetting to close the paddles. May be two glasses of wine are called for tonight!!

Had a hire boat pass by a few minutes ago while typing this. It has just come out of the tunnel. As it was getting closer, the father told the boy of around ten that was driving the boat to speed up a little bit. Even though the boat was going faster (too fast), the father again to the lad to speed up a bit more. As they were passing, I shouted “excuse me” to attract the father’s attention to ask him to slow down a touch but he couldn’t hear because of the roar from his engine and because he was too busy telling the boy how to steer the boat that was now going far too fast. Perhaps that’s three glasses of wine tonight – or should that be bottles!!

Just had a thought, maybe it is the heat that is causing all of the madness today??

Saw this dummy fishing at the bottom of a garden, wonder if it has a license ??

Water level in the pound AFTER we had closed down paddles and emptied a few up stream locks to help raise the level

Southern tunnel entrance. The chains indicate the lowest height in the tunnel.


Material Copyright © 2007 Ernie Williams
This page last modified on: 22 April, 2014 5:36 PM