Today’s very very wet journey can be found here:
Without being disrespectful to the people of Stoke, it is not somewhere, as a boater, you feel welcomed. All advise is to get through it and don’t stop. We donned all the waterproofs and for me about 5 layers as we know it was down to be a cold, west & windy one.
From the get go we were going past lots of run down old factory buildings with lots of graffiti and smashed windows. Such a shame really when you think the place was booming with industry (potteries, mining & steelworks) during the 1800’s through to the 1970’s.
You could see some attempts to make some of them more of an attraction but they were few and far between.
As normal there were a few odd things spotted along the way on the canalside to make us chuckle as the city gave way to suburbs and then countryside.
A small run of locks leads us out into the countryside. This next lock was positioned next to the turning off for the Caldon Canal. We had once again, caught up with our hire boater from yesterday. They were through the lock (first, of course as not to upset them!). Whilst I was with my boat, another boat appeared from the junction. There was also another boat coming up behind me. I had expected the boat approaching from the other canal to go past us down the winding hole just a little down the way but no, there were going to try and turn their boat right there! I looked to the up coming boat from behind and he has slowed down, equally as confused. There was nothing I could do to help because I was holding the line on my boat as the wind blew them out of shape and into Māhina. The woman started getting annoyed as the other boat was coming into what they had determined was their spot. I said to her that to be fair we all expected them to go down to the designated place to turn around and not do it at the junction so were taken by surprise that they thought they were in the queue. I ended up having an unhealthy dose of the giggles as she got het up about ‘needing to be second’. What is it with lock queuing obsession, you’ll all get there!
Lock 3 was fun, the gates opened and as I looked I thought, our chimney is not going to fit under that! We have been spoilt with taller bridges and got caught off guard. Luckily with some quick reactions and a little reverse I managed to get her back in the lock and Richard was able to reach down and pull the chimney off and lay it down on the roof!
Made it to Trentham and unfortunately it was too wet to go to Trentham Gardens and the Wedgewood Factory have paused their factory tours due to Covid. Nevermind, i will have to come back another time. Richard picked a challenging mooring for me to get into (i’m sure on purpose) behind the annoying hire folk (we’ll be seeing them on and off for a while i think) and on a corner and by a fisherman. Made it though so that felt good! Got the fire roaring and hung the wet weather gear up by the fire to dry off!