We headed off from our overnight mooring in Rode Heath before continuing on up the dozen locks and cruising on to the Harecastle Tunnel (2926 yards). No waiting today, the Tunnel Keeper took our details and did the usual checks and we were straight into the tunnel as I was still putting my waterproof jacket on. It can get rather wet inside the tunnel! A forty minute (or thereabouts) cruise through the tunnel we finished our day mooring at Westport Lake. It's the first time we have moored here but we have been for coffee and cake on several occasions, it's a lovely area with lots of birds.
Overnight at Westport and then a stopover at Stoke Boats ten minutes along the canal, for a quote for some joinery work before cruising on to Stoke on Trent moorings, this is the end of the Four Counties Ring for us in Staffordshire. A longer stopover in Stoke gave us a chance to get a few more quotes for joinery as well as getting a chance to fix those niggling jobs, our mooring was only five minutes walk from the retail park. We made it a five day stopover to get all the bits and pieces done so we slipped down to the Services for water at the start of the Cauldon Canal before winding (turning) just before the staircase lock and going back on to the same mooring we had left in front of the Toby Carvery. While we were on the mooring we managed to slip into Toby Carvery for breakfast with friends who dropped in for a visit on their way to Fradley.
Everything sorted for now we headed off back through the Harecastle Tunnel, this time on our way to the Macclesfield Canal to visit friends Dave and Gwen on NB Harebell. Rachael snapped a couple of pictures as we headed out of Stoke on the Trent and Mersey Canal. There are several abandoned old warehouses as we moved along the canal.
The last shot is of Middleport Pottery, built in 1888 and still operating as a pottery, there's a nice cafe with moorings just out of this shot. We finished our day on the Macclesfield Canal at the Scholar Green moorings. A short cruise on from our overnight moorings were the rolling green lawns of Ramsdell Hall built in the 18th century.
The 'Macc' mile posts look a lot like gravestones, this one giving us the distance to Marple which is at the terminus of the Macclesfield Canal.
There were no locks to do as we took it easy with a nice two hour cruise to our overnight mooring in Congleton before we take on the only lock flight on the 'Macc', Bosley Locks, a 12 lock flight.
Bosley locks takes our boat up 113 feet (34 metres) in just a mile. These locks had a unique water saving system once in use now the Bosley Reservoir does the job. The ponds next to each lock use to take half a lock full of water the other half would go to the pound below the lock.
Heading along the embankment on our way into Macclesfield.
Dredging opposite the Macclesfield Pontoon Visitor Moorings. There's plenty of dredging required right along the canal!
On our way out of Bolington after a lunch break at the Waterside Cafe, one of the residents of the old mill (in shot).
An interested on looker, herons don't usually hang around as you pass.
Still with some work to do we met our friends Dave and Gwen at the moorings at Higher Poynton. After a long chat we had dinner together before heading down to the Boar's Head Pub for a drink. It was only a flying visit and by ten o'clock the next morning we turned around and headed back down the way we had come.
The view from the moorings at the bottom of Bosley Locks.
On one of the permanent mooring sites along the way.
One of the views from our moorings as we head back down the 'Macc'
The tow path changes sides of the canal on several occasions and each time there is one of these bridges with a large sweeping path to accommodate the horses towing the boats in earlier times.
It was such a beautiful day when we left Higher Poynton that we just kept on cruising arriving in Congleton around 7pm, a long day but a lovely cruise. From Congleton it was only a short cruise and one stop lock to the Hardings' Wood Junction and back on to the Trent and Mersey where we started to lock down the hill from Kidsgrove almost straight away. This time we are heading back to Middlewich
We have only added one to our soccerball count, the total now 41.