Saturday, 24 August 2013

Back to Etruria

We slipped away from Stone early attempting to avoid the congestion.  However we weren’t as early as the two boats ahead of us!  Having two boats and crews enabled us to quickly go up the four locks of the Meaford Flight.  We were somewhat bemused by the action of the boat crew following us.  They would stay on their boat until Jan and Margaret had filled the lock and then appear at the bottom end of the lock waiting to raise the paddles.  This was the same crew who had complained yesterday about how slow it was to get through the locks.  If crews don’t work together then locking slows down!

Contractors were rebuilding the towpath above Meaford Top Lock.  All the material was being moved onto the site by boat from a dump at Bridge 100.  They have been working on this stretch of towpath for some time as we passed the work on our previous trip several weeks ago.  This time there were more work boats running a shuttle service to the work site.

We didn’t stop to use the ‘services’

A membrane fabric has been laid and the fine aggregate placed on top before being levelled and compacted.  I think this portion of the towpath is part of the National Cycleway.  Unfortunately my belief is the cycle wheels will quickly “chew up” the aggregate.  If the surface is to last then it really needs something like a bitumen topping.  The boater in me would prefer the money was spent on dredging!  But then I suppose CRT also gets money (or political support) from cycling organisations.

We missed taking a photo of this location on the last trip.

The timber gates to the property have ‘Wharf House’ on them so we assume this was once a wharf.  It’s now a very attractive personal mooring and home.  The boat is Lodestar and I’m sure I’ve seen a photo of it in a magazine?

The stretch of canal towpath between Trentham and Stoke is very well maintained and looks quite attractive.  The locals appear to enjoy it as there were numerous walkers!  With two crews working in tandem it was a quick transit up the five locks at Stoke.

Jan empties “Mr Grumpy’s” lock (Stoke Lock 39) for nb Kelly-Louise while I prepare to enter the top lock.  Peter and I then reversed the boats down the Caldon Canal past the services block to moor on the 48 hour moorings for the night. 

In the afternoon Margaret and I walked to the Tesco Express for essential supplies and I then walked to the local B&Q to buy a couple of ‘Hamilton’ brand paintbrushes as recommended by ‘Towpath Bill’ (thanks Bill).

Tomorrow it’s the Harecastle Tunnel.


Adam said...

Most of the money for the towpath improvements have come from the two local councils.

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Adam,

Well it's great to see the local authorities getting involved. Hopefully that will extend to more than just the towpath.