I not only woke to a sunny morning but also the sound of the ducks having breakfast off the weed on the hull at 6am. Only other boaters will know what that’s like.
We set off at 9-30 before anyone came passed, the top two locks had drained overnight so were both with us. Just above lock three of the flight is where the old Meaford locks use to go off to the right looking down. I did manage to wind here once but it took 3 of us on a rope to pull the stern round. The road bridge over the tail of the top lock has been closed for months, if not years due to the road construction works to the west of the canal, unfortunately not everyone is happy taking the diversion and the bollards get moved to one side so people can nip through, Its reached the point where last night the road workers left a van blocking the bridge and this morning they set out even more bollards and signs.
It turned a bit chilly mid morning in the breeze and when the sun went it, but by lunch everything was wonderful again.
At Trentham lock these remains beside the lock have been cleared, I have never noticed them before, a couple of dog walkers said its the foundations of the old lock cottage, but I am not 100% sure on that.
We continued on to Stoke on Trent locks, the first were against us but after the second we met a boat and yet another after the third. even so the last one was against us. The railway crosses the canal several times just below locks at quite a low lever which meant dropping not only the flag staff (this is my guide to bridge clearance and is on the bows) I also had to drop the engine exhaust which was expected and even the Dickinson stove chimney which is unusual.
Looking at the brickwork in one of the locks its possible to see where the builders let wooden beams into the walls, in this case replacing almost a course of bricks, was this an old system for tying the face bricks back to the next course?
Once at the top of the flight we reversed down the Caldon Canal at Etruria to the services, the tap is a bit slow so we were able to eat dinner while the water tank filled. You can see the services marked on this map from Waterway Routes.
By now it had turned 2 pm and the last guaranteed tunnel transit is at 3 pm. this time of the year, it is possible we would have got through if we had hurried but we decided to stop at Westport Lake in the sunshine for the night, its only a short hop to the tunnel in the morning.
10½ miles 8 lock, 1 junction (for water) in 5½ hours