Harecastle Tunnel and Little Moreton Hall

The good weather continued and today we had a glorious day's boating in warm sunshine, although some of the time we were underground. We left Etruria just after 9:00 and made our way to Harecastle. We passed Middleport Pottery which has recently received a refurbishment.

Middleport Pottery

Close to the tunnel a school party was investigating the canal. They were pleased to see Albert and gave us a load of waves.

School Party near Harecastle with a truck leaving the Johnson Tiles factory
Harecastle Tunnel South Portal

When we got to the tunnel we were third in line and over the next half-hour another two boats arrived. We have passed through the tunnel a few times over the last fifteen years, for some reason mostly going south. With last year's fatal accident boater advice was even more tight and the tunnel keeper even checked that our horn and light were operating. The passage through the tunnel was a bit slow because the boat second in-line steered an erratic course and slow in some unexpected places.

We branched off onto the Macclesfield canal after the tunnel and stopped at Hall Green for a lunch break. After lunch we moved a few miles to bridge 86 which is just beyond Ramsdell Hall to moor up on the visitor moorings. This area is overlooked by the folly at Mow Cop which I posted about a few years ago.
Mow Cop
Macclesfield Canal milepost at Hall Green
Ramsdell Hall
Ramsdell Visitor Moorings
The view from these moorings across the Cheshire Plain is glorious. Just visible through the trees is the gable end of the National Trust property Little Moreton Hall. It is, in our view, one of their best properties. We got there via a twenty minute walk across the fields. This was not without difficulties because although the route was easy to follow, it was cut up by cattle and quite muddy in places.
Perhaps white trousers were not a good idea

It is an Elizabethan masterpiece that has largely remained unchanged since the late seventeenth century. It is one of the best half-timbered buildings in Britain and to some extent it defies gravity because it is very crooked, nothing is straight or level, and yet it is still standing.

Little Moreton Hall
We managed to get onto the last tour of the day which was very well presented. The interior is not well furnished but the furniture that is on show comes from the house. The best feature is probably the Long Gallery which was built straight onto the ceiling of the room below rather than the mounted on the walls. As a result it has moved considerably over the years. 

Oak Circular Table

Long Gallery
Fireplace on the 2nd Floor
The NT volunteer is indicating with a plumb line that the fireplace is vertical and it is the the floor that slopes

Garderobe that discharges directly into the moat

The garden has a moat, complete with fish, and a delightful knot garden. 

Maggie in the garden alcove

We definitely recommend it for a visit if you are boating along the Macclesfield. Don't be put off by the walk, it's not that far, but be prepared for the mud.