Last night was cold, -4° but today has been wall to wall sunshine. The first section of iced over canal we uncounted was not until we were back on the T&M where it was about ¼” thick, this was after we had broken it.
We pushed off at 10 am and the other boats moored here had left before us so we knew the locks would be against us, not that it makes much difference with a stair case as you always have to turn one chamber regardless of which way the last boat was going.
CaRT have tried protecting the off side brickwork on some bridge with wooden battens but even these are getting split at the ends.On one of the bridges they have actually fitted sheets of material to protect it.
Ivy house Lift Bridge goes up much faster that it comes down, you can see the control box tucked away to the side. For some reason the bleeper sounds before the barriers go up as well as down which seems a bit excessive for the people living nearby.
We remembered bridge 9 and removed the exhaust, Dickinson chimney and back cabin chimney in good time, as you can see its a low one. Just beyond here on a sharp left hand bend I met an ex working boat, he was coming into the bend and I was going round when I first saw him coming out of the very bright, low sun. I am sorry to say I caused him aggravation, something I didn’t chose to do but the only course I could see was go wide round him, maybe my first response of slowing down was wrong and if you are reading this I am sorry. This was my last view of him across the bend. If anyone can Identify and knows the boater please apologise for me.
I still cant get my head around the difference in capacities of the two chambers of the stair case locks, Was the overflow cut lower to save flooding, or where the walls raised by two foot leaving the overflow channel at its original level, the brickwork suggests the latter.
Back out on the Trent and Mersey canal we carried on north to Harecastle Tunnel. On the way we uncounted the first frozen canals we have come across this winter. We passed the site of the old Burslem Port on our right with just a sign to say where it was. There are ambitious plans to restore the arm and port which can be found HERE and also the buildings of Middleport Potteries which does factory visits see HERE.
After winding at the tunnel mouth, (there is room for a 62ft boat to get round if there is nothing moored in the way) We headed back to Westport Lake where we had planned to more for the night, but considering how clear the sky was and how cold it was last night we decided to continue to moor outside the Toby Carvery at Festival Gardens. Well if it does freeze hard where would you rather be stuck?