Welcome to the story of Hale and Hearty travelling the canals of Great Britian

Wednesday, 7 September 2011


Sunday, after a surprising service at the little church in Higher Poynton, saw us retrace our steps towards Macclesfield where we collected the forgotten boat key and continued to an overnight stay near the top of Bosley Locks. We set of early on bank holiday Monday and were through the locks by 09.30 – helped along by a nice gentleman from the Macclesfield Canal Society who were doing a lock wind to raise funds for the excellent work they do in helping to maintain and restore the canal. Lunch in Congleton and on to an overnight stay back near Little Moreton Hall. The weather has been less than kind to us all week and we have had a couple of fires to warm up and dry out. After the excitement of using the launderette in Kidsgrove we had the even greater treat of the Harecastle Tunnel. This is 2950 yards long and you are booked in by an official who informs the other end that you are on your way. The tunnel has no ventilation so doors close the southern end and fans suck air through the tunnel. It is quite an adventure - no light at the end of the tunnel to follow, the arc of light from the entrance gradually diminishes behind you and darkness descends. It took us 38 minutes, we know because we were timed through, and as we reached the doors they swung open and admitted the light and warmth of the day. We never cease to be amazed by the feats of engineering achieved with no technology, just manpower. We stopped overnight at Hanley and took the opportunity to visit the museum which is excellent with lots of ceramic history and a Spitfire aeroplane. In the covered market we found a little cafĂ© serving a Hungarian/Slovakian speciality, langos, a kind of flat deep fried bread served with sour cream, onions and cheese which was delicious. We turned at Etruria onto the Caldon canal and after a very urban bit, still interesting as there are bottle kilns still in evidence where potteries used to be, we were again out in the country. We joined the 21st century by hiring a car and driving to Kent for a wonderful wedding, sunshine all the way, and returned to re enter the 19th century by travelling to Froghall and through the tunnel at the end of the canal. To achieve this Martin had to remove the chimneys, tunnel light and all the plants from the roof. Because the tunnel is so low we had the lovely basin to ourselves. Briefly the sun shone and it was delightful. We left in the morning and are currently at the end of the other branch of the canal in Leek, again moored in a wonderfully rural and lovely setting.

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