Sunday, 6 April 2014

Harecastle Tunnel

Last nights mooring was noisy until the last diners had left Toby Carvery, then at midnight a knock on the roof, a pizza boy with a delivery for the boat behind. 

Today was our day to do the Harecastle Tunnel we were both apprehensive remembering our Braunston Tunnel trip ( read it here)

Sky's are moisture laden as we set off in windy conditions, it rained lightly for the first couple of miles. We pass Middleport Pottery our last sign of the Potteries for a while. A lot of the canal side industry has left and the buildings are in decay, things lighten as we pass Westport lake. 

Soon enough we are in sight of the Harecastle Tunnel, two boats are already waiting to go through. We chat to the tunnel keeper, a jolly man, who has been keeper for the last six years, we hang on to his every word, his advice was comforting, the beer hunter has to be taken off the roof and stowed under the cratch cover. The keeper set the three boats of at 2 minute intervals, we brought up the rear, once inside, the tunnel doors to the portal are slammed shut and huge extractor fans started (there's no ventilation shafts in this Pennine hill). We settle into our cruising speed and relax, but keep an eye out for the Kidsgrove Boggart. We are back into daylight 35 mins later having travelled 1.7 miles  under ground. In the days of one horse power the crews would leg it through.


Harecastle Tunnel south portal.

Nearing the end our tunnel light rings the brick arch.

Exiting, note the iron deposits leaching into the canal water turning it orange.
Once through the tunnel the two boats a head of us use the locks to continue their journey on the Trent & Mersey we make a turn to port on to the Macclesfield canal which takes you on an aqueduct over the T&M.

T&M viewed from Red Bull Aqueduct.

On the 'Maccie' we are soon into a pleasant landscape of rolling hills interspersed with smart homes, gardens and attractive bridges.

Hall Green Lock 

Today's favourite bridge.

Ramsdell Hall

We made a short stop at Heritage Narrowboats to fill in the gaps to our cruising library of map books and fill up the diesel tank.  We say a quick hello to fellow blogger's Ken & Sue of 'Boatwif fame who have come to use the chandlery. Just a short while later and we are moored on the opposite bank to Ramsdell Hall which we may visit tomorrow.

After lunch Sue got her fishing rod out while I got my head down the engine 'ole and changed the oil and filter and greased the stern tube.

View from kitchen window

1 comment:

Boatwif said...

Hi Andy,
I think you'll find that Ramsdell Hall (the other side of the canal) is a private residence. Try walking across the fields (about 15 minutes) to Little Moreton Hall, a superb black and white timbered 500 year old Elizabethan manor house. It's under National Trust ownership now. Check that it's open before you go. If you like good wide views (and don't mind steep hills) a walk up to the folly at Mow Cop can be very rewarding.
Hope you enjoy the Macc - we are really glad to be back on it after a six month long refit at Stoke Boats. We're heading back to moorings at Higher Poynton this week...
Sue /Boatwif / nb Cleddau