We woke to a lovely sunny morning even if the front deck was white and the temperature still below zero. We pushed off at our normal 10am. just after a boat had passed. This of course meant the first lock was against us. By now it was quite pleasant on the back of the boat in the sun, bit of a breeze but approaching Stone it was more sheltered. The boat ahead moored just before Stone and Star Lock almost empty. Diana left me to work up Star Lock and went forward to set Yard Lock, from Star lock I could see the water cascading over the bottom gates
of Yard Lock and sure enough Diana signalled me to leave the lock open. Unusually there was only one boat moored in the pound, you are normally hard pushed to find a space. Once clear of the Stone Locks we passed a Swan on her nest, her mate a short way up the canal but not bothered about us.
Passing Mr Fullers Yard I could see heads moving, at first I thought it was a boat coming out of the basin, but it was actually a narrow gauge railway pulling a train of logs, maybe its a branch line!
By now we had experienced a light snow and hail shower but nothing to bad, not enough to make the ground white.
Our next flight of locks was the Meaford Flight, these have been realigned at some point as can be seen on this Waterway Routes Map.
Now I dont know how long ago the new locks were built but like a lot of the other locks on this stretch there is a bridge below the bottom gates and its a split bridge to allow the tow line to be dropped through so you don’t have to unhook the horse, so I can only assume that most boating was still horse boating when the new locks were built.
From the top of Meaford the wind started to pick up, Diana brought me a plate of sandwiches for lunch and I immediately lost the top slice of bread from one thanks to the wind, it would have been more if I hadn’t managed to get my hand on top of what was left. It had to go below until the weather moderated a bit. Soon we were in bright sun again with a gentle breeze for the last half hour to our mooring at Barlaston. So far this trip we have stuck exactly to plan,4 days in and can it last?
6½ miles 9 locks in 4 hours.
The Google map of the entire journey to date can be seen at https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=17mjw4LFpTYhyPS1NB_mGzeZAr913Rivl&usp=sharing
You can also see our planned itinerary at https://canalplan.uk/journey/16879_cp