Barlaston to the Caldon Canal

On Thursday we moved from Barlaston and headed for the Caldon branch of the Trent and Mersey. It was a long day travelling, but weather was dry. Along this stretch we negotiated Stoke Locks which are close together and rise approx 50ft. DSCF5877

Etruscan bone and Flint mill by the lock.

The turn from the T&M is very tight and there were services to empty elsan, rubbish and take on water just after the turn. A statue of James Brindley overlooks this little basin, which looks quite pleasing with new apartments lining the route.DSCF5880

Next we had to negotiate a set of 2 staircase locks which were quite deep rising 19ft.DSCF5884

Entering the staircase.DSCF5886

Looking down at the gates. Pretty scary.

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Disused bottle kilns, along the route at Hanley.

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Ivy House liftbridge which has been recently upgraded and all operated by pushing a button. This was negotiated after the locks.

We then travelled along the Caldon for about 5miles through  Hanley (one of the 5 towns that make Stoke), before we finally left the industry and found countryside. We stopped for the night just outside Milton overlooking a field with horses.,just before Engine Lock. Friday we shuffled up a bit more before the 2nd liftbridge. Saturday we decided to move to Endon, travelling through 2 more liftbridges that are operated by a windlass.DSCF5903

Winding down the bridge.

And also negotiating another flight of 5 locks at Stockton Brook rising 41ft.DSCF5905

Artwork at Stockton Brook locks (shame the potteryware had been vandalised.

At this point we hadn’t seen another boat and were told we were the first to pass through after the stoppages. We filled up again with water and partook of the elsan facilities and also cleared the weedhatch as much debris floating in the canal, especially through the locks. We couldn’t moor here as there were work boats taking up the moorings and also winter moorers. We travelled along and decided to turn onto the Leek arm, another interesting turn right, and all I can say after turning onto this stretch is WOW! It is beautiful along here albeit narrow and overgrown with reeds, I bet it is lovely when the trees come into leaf. The canal twists and winds all the way along so concentration is needed at all times. We even scraped the bottom a couple of times.DSCF5918

Winding along the Leek arm.

 

Approaching the Leek tunnel (130yds)IMG_1310

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Will we get through?

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Yes we do as inside the tunnel.DSCF5923

exiting the tunnel.

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This is the end of the Leek arm, so we turned at the winding hole, reversed the boat and moored to explore Leek further. We were surprised to see 3 boats already here, but I think been here for a while.

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Last bridge with winding hole on the left. Breakaway first boat in the distance.

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