Barlaston via Harecastle Tunnel

Tonight we are moored up at Barlaston near the Wedgwood Factory. This morning it was misty and cloudy but as the day progressed the weather got better and we saw some evening sunshine. We cast off from our mooring near Ramsdell Hall, Scholar Green and picked up water by the stop lock at Hall Green. It is somewhere near here that my ancestors lived and worked in the coal mines. Back in 2009 we had a good look around the area but today we were focused on going homeward, south.
Stylish restored railings along the canal, Ramsdell Hall

Ramsdell Hall from the Macclesfield Canal

We arrived at At Harecastle around 11:15 and joined a small queue. By the time we set off through the tunnel there were five boats and we were third. The water around here is ochre coloured from iron workings, and has been for many years, but it did appear to be more intense that last time we passed this way. Maggie sent a photo of the water to a friend who suggested that it was tomato soup and we could have it for lunch.

"Tomato soup" water, Harecastle

Harecastle Tunnel never fails to thrill. The descending roof, because of subsidence, makes steering the centre section interesting.  You definitely need to be right in the centre and you appear to speed up because the roof is nearer. The changes in profile are helpfully painted white.

Waiting at the Northern Portal of Harecastle Tunnel

We entered to tunnel 12:00 and got out 40 minutes later.

Bottle Kilns in Stoke

At Etruria we saw boats getting ready for the weekends Etruria Jubiliee Canals Festival. Ex FMC Badger who we met at Gurnett was in place and there were several boats sporting bunting. As we left Stoke Locks we met Skylark and Sweden, sporting her new livery, coming up.

Sweden with Anderton Livery

Near Hem Heath we were passed by motor Ibex, steered by Roger Fuller, towing the butty Ilford on a long line. They were also going to the festival.

Motor Ibex and butty Ilford en route for Stoke from Stone