On Saturday we continued our climb up Heartbreak Hill. The paraphernalia (cans, chimneys and tall exhaust pipe) was removed from Albert’s roof in preparation for Harecastle Tunnel. The tunnel has subsided in the middle and the roof is quite low in places. 

Albert without paraphernalia

 We got off sharpish and were soon joined by an Anglo-Welsh hire boat at Lawton Locks. With duplicate locks we tried to work in a system with their crew of six. This went well for a while but they appeared to “go off the boil” as we went up Red Bull Locks and in the end we reached the top of the flight a good twenty minutes before they did.

Albert entering a Red Bull Lock

Great Shed at Red Bull

Red Bull Wharf
Harecastle Tunnels (Telford 1827 left and Brindley 1777 right)

We were greeted by the tunnel keeper who explained the process. Three boats came through the tunnel in the other direction and we were eventually joined by the hire boat for the journey south. Passages through Harecastle are never dull.  The narrow dimensions, long length, dipping roof and the ventilation doors all make it a unique experience. We managed to go through in 37 minutes.

Maccesfield Canal Junction

After Harecastle we continued on to Westport Lake where we moored up for lunch. We took lunch at the visitor centre café. The weather had started fine and bright but as soon as we left the tunnel it became dull. We contemplated staying at Westport but decided that going through Stoke would probably be a better idea. As we got to Etruria it began raining and it stayed wet for the rest of the day.

Etruria Museum

We finally moored up at Trentham close to the Wedgwood Factory. We worked hard today, eighteen locks, thirteen miles and, of course, Harecastle tunnel.