Harecastle Tunnel Day Five - Harecastle Tunnel
Wednesday - July 10th.

It was really raining this morning when I woke up, so any plans for a walk before breakfast were ditched and I got up late and read until it was time for breakfast.

We went along quietly as usual after breakfast, stopping to take on water just before we tackled our one lock for the day, which dropped a whole twelve inches. Naturally this was not a particularly onerous task. Soon after this we left the Macclesfield Canal for the Trent and Mersey at Kidsgrove.

The major boating event for the day was the Harecastle Tunnel, over one and a half miles long, which we motored through before lunch. We had to wait for about 40 minutes while three boats came through in the other direction then it was our turn. The tunnel itself is quite narrow and rather damp, with rust coloured secretions shining from the rough brick walls. The water is rust coloured too. Going through was quite interesting though smelly, but I was not sorry to see light at the other end.

We moored for lunch soon after this beside a pleasant park with a great many swans and ducks. After lunch I went for a bit of a walk beside the lake and took some swan pictures.

Plant in Etruria MillOnly an hour or so later we reached Etruria where we stopped for the evening. On the way we passed some of the more industrial aspects of the canal - a couple of old bottle kilns, now derelict and some warehouses built down to the water's edge with old cranes etc. for loading cargo. None are now in use unfortunately.

At Etruria we called in to see the Industrial museum which was an interesting display of the buildings, machinery and process for providing the ground bone and flint for the potting industry. After looking around there, I decided to go for a walk along the Caldon Canal as we are continuing along the Trent and Mersey tomorrow. There were several hours before tea so I decided to walk for a hour before turning back. Along the Caldon Canal

Again this canal was very industrialised - some of the old buildings were once very handsome, but are now rather sad.

The canal also runs through a pleasant park where I walked on the way back. From lunchtime onwards the weather began to improve, perhaps there is hope for tomorrow.

Day Six