Monday 18 July 2011


Well, South first. I learned a lesson: always be aware of where the winding holes are - especially if you are heading away from your intended destination.

With a whole family of friends for company (Mic & our kids being elsewhere for the weekend) we clambered aboard after dark on Friday night and set off early on Saturday to find somewhere to turn the boat around and head North. Two hours
(including a lock, twice) later we were back where we started.

With two PhDs and their daughter to man the locks and make the tea, progress was swift and there were even some sunny spells in an otherwise sodden weekend. We travelled for 12 hours 30 minutes on Saturday, making it all the way through Stoke-on-Trent to a beautiful mooring by Westport Lake.

Stoke was as colourful as ever, with an Elvis impersonator singing from the roof of his boat, loads of derelict bottle ovens and, finally, a rather nice sunset.

The reputedly haunted Harecastle Tunnel was next. Sadly we didn't see any boggarts, but it was still an amazing sensory experience - with the cold, the darkness, the incredible noise of the engine bouncing around the tunnel walls and nothing but a tiny speck of light in the distance overwhelming everyone.

The boat is now safely moored up near my parents' house, and we'll return next weekend for the next (longer) leg of the journey home.

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