Full Steam Ahead –  26th June 2022

Time for some reconciliation of what we have done to date.

Since we left the Over Water Marina (yellow dot) on the 6th June, we have travelled for 20 days (pink dot). This is a distance of 130 miles (209k’s). We have done 81 locks.

We headed off at 9.00am and by 9.15am we had crossed over the top of the Trent and Mersey canal and then joined up with it 20 minutes later.

Due to the high iron content in this area, the water of the canals turns an almost bright orange. We moored up and spent a couple of hours loading up the pantry before we headed off again battling the wind all the way. The weather prediction for the day was for wind gusts up to 50kmh but it has felt a lot stronger than that. We just seemed to be struggling all the way until we got to the Harecastle Tunnel – guess what, no wind.

This is the second longest tunnel in the canal system.

First video is of us having just entered the tunnel.

Next video is of us looking back towards the opening of the tunnel.

A few stats on the tunnel. It did take us approximately 45 minutes.

Coming out at the other end into the cursed wind.

Just a little bit of history about how the original tunnel was replaced with the current one because of the old one collapsing.

We had heard about ten days ago about a sunken boat on the Trent and Mersey canal around this part of the canal, but we did think that the problem would have been resolved by now. They must try and find the owner of the boat to arrange to have it removed but meantime it is left to become a boating hazard.

We are now coming into the potteries area where Wedgewood started out and are still here. This is one of the other potteries along the canal that is still operating but on a reduced scale than originally.

These are a tell-tale sign of where you are. The canals were used to bring flint, bone, clay and coal to the potteries and then to take the finished product around the rest of the country and to port to be shipped overseas.

This is one of the working museums along the canal which still has its original steam engine that crushes the flint and bone to a fine powder – hence, fine bone china.  The bone they use if cow bone but in times gone by it use to include whale bone. We didn’t visit it as we have been there before.

Our first sighting of a Canal Cruising Company hire boat. This is the company that we hired nb Lucy off back in 2016 for four months. Their base is only about five miles down the canal which we will pass tomorrow and see if they have any diesel that we can purchase.

We found a nice mooring at 4.30pm which is very early for us, and we can have some time to relax before we do the nightly chores. One big problem with the mooring though. As soon as we pulled up a very large, aggressive swan started attacking the boat.

From the outside the noise isn’t too bad but once you are inside, the noise is amplified. He has been swimming up and down the boat for over two hours and constantly pecking at the boat. All unclaimed swans in the UK are the property of the Queen. She is going to be one swan short if he doesn’t knock it off. He has four young signets with his mate, but they have cruised further up the canal and not interested in us. We are hoping another boat pulls up for the evening and he goes and attacks them! If not, we are not going to have quiche for dinner but swan pie!!!

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