Kidsgrove to Longport : 3 miles, 1 lock, 1 scary tunnel
To date : 945 miles, 659 locks
Mick and Barry spent an enjoyable afternoon at the pub yesterday... celebrating Barry's birthday, so they said. Barry was the winner of their little pool competition and they both came back just in the nick of time for Carol's dinner. It was a lovely dinner too.
The Harecastle Tunnel was only open until just before midday so as long as we were there before then we could have a sleep in. As we arrived at the tunnel entrance the fellow came out and waved us straight through. He called out questions... and we called out answers... as we made our way and then we were off. Carol sang her "tunnel opera" all the way through and I hid out inside. About the time we would be reaching the end I heard Mick slow right down. The doors weren't open! He asked me to go to the bow and have a look out... we were almost there. They opened just in time.
We stopped for water just outside the tunnel and nb Winton's Folly went on past us to moor up at Westport Lake. When we joined them soon after we had a lovely mooring in the sun. It had turned out to be a really nice afternoon. After lunch we decided to walk into Burslem. We really enjoy mooring here and being able to walk the area looking at the old pottery buildings. It's so interesting to get a peek of a huge old derelict warehouse beyond a modern day carpark.
I know the derelict buildings aren't everyone's cup of tea but we just love them. It's a bit sad to see rows of empty houses. The one we saw today had lovely ornate lintels over the doors and windows.
Our first stop was the Royal Stafford pottery factory outlet. As we wandered on we passed a little shop we'd been in last time we were here - the Naan Bread Bakery. We couldn't resist and went in for a garlic naan. Delicious. We took the long way around to get back to the canal and then walked the towpath back to the boat, stopping at Longport Brokerage along the way. More stunning canalside buildings.