Wednesday 27th june 2018
Discovery of the day – Jannocks smoke alarms are dual purpose, smoke and insect killer spray ;^)
We left our quiet overnight mooring and made our way towards Hardings Wood junction with the Trent and Mersey canal. As we passed the moored boats between bridges 96 and 97 I could see a boat heading towards us. As soon as we passed the last moored boat I moved across to give them room and spectacularly ran aground on a sand bank that was indicated by a traffic cone stuck over a spike in the canal bed. Jannock stopped so fast and lurched to the left and Brenda almost spilt tonight’s curry she was preparing in the slow cooker. I hadn’t spotted this obstruction as it’s very low level with no other warning. The oncoming boat was a canaltime with experienced crew who offered to snatch us off but I declined due to the restricted width available because of the moored boats. I wouldn’t want him to clout one. I hoped to push us off sideways but no luck.We finally managed to shift by me pushing backwards on the pole whilst Brenda put the engine in hard astern. With Brexit in mind, we’d still be there if it wasn’t for our Pole!
We were second in the queue at the North portal of Harecastle tunnel with alomost a one hour wait for the northbound craft to emerge. We followed a very smokey Anglo Welsh boat but once in the tunnel the fans kept his smoke to himself ;^)
At Westport Lake, the area was closed off with miles of Police tape with PCSOs dealing with pedestrians and a dive team in the water using a rib. It would seem that they found the body of the missing 13 year old at about the same time as we were passing, just before lunchtime today. The Police were allowing boats to moor there but not a happy place to stop.
We stopped at Capital gas in Etruria (other side of road bridge and canal from the marina – they have a gate on the towpath, ring the bell and ask for service) for a couple of 13Kg Calor cylinders – cheapest supplier for miles. Unfortunately the Holy Innadequate was closed so I didn’t get an excuse for a beer, maybe try again once we leave the Caldon.
The last time we passed through Bedford St. staircase we spotted that the instruction sign alongside the top lock was incorrect. All that there is there now are two poles where the sign used to be. With all the new logo’d signs that have appeared everywhere else in the area I’d have thought they would have replaced the instruction sign as a priority.
As we passed through Hanley Park we picked up a large amount of white fabric around the prop so had to tie up to one of the bankside mooring rings to visit the weedhatch – first time this year! We moored for the night close to Mill Farm on the outskirts of Hanley under a nice shady tree and had a Brenda curry for dinner.