The first job this morning was to walk up the hill to Moorland Leisure and get a gas refill as one of our gas bottles is empty and the other is very low. Another 21.30GBP
Then we set off toward the head of navigation. I saw a kingfisher diving for fish a couple of times this morning and a heron flying overhead. The sun was shining until we started to go ascend Stockton Brook locks. Here the lock sides have been adorned with sculpture as part of the regeneration of the Canal Corridor.
We stopped for lunch aboard at Stoke Boat Club just after bridge 27. Just before the bridge there is a mini roundabout in the middle of the canal. Anyone know why?
At the water point at Park Lane Bridge I fell into conversation with boaters who had been up the Froghall branch and were visiting the facilities before going up the Leek branch. They convinced us to go up the Leek branch before the Froghall. So at the junction we turned right and then crossed the canal again by aqueduct. We had had enough cruising by now and moored for the night at Hazelhurst, overlooking the valley.
We found out way to the Holly Bush Inn for recommended bar meals. "Don't have the soup!", the boaters on the next mooring advised. We didn't and were very satisfied.
The only problem today was that the canal is shallow in places particularly under bridges. I checked the draught and the depth and think that at some points there is less than a foot of water below us which needs to be squeezed past. Our engine is having to work hard.
I am getting used to the squeaking of the generator drive belt now but will have to change it very soon.
I also had to check the diesel tank today just for peace of mind. We have five eighths of the usable capacity remaining so will have no problem getting back to the main Trent and Mersey to fill up. I do not want to put extra weight on the rear of the boat and increase the draught even more.
We left it until 10am, and a break in the rain, on Tuesday morning before heading for Leek. The run here, although in the wet, is stunning. The remoteness of this canal has a real beauty in its own. There are so many greens. Also, the way the canal hugs the valley side reminded me a little of the Mon and Brec which is, similarly, very slow.
At Leek we got 3 phone reception back so made some calls, checked mail and posted. We go back into the etherless countryside ion about an hour!
The only downside today was the distance of the town from the canal. Not fun in the rain. We got a bus back to the boundry of the Ladderedge Country Park.
Sunny Mercia Marina
3 days ago