Sunday 7 August 2016

Summer Cruise Day 25 - Milton to Park Lane Wharf

Well what a day!  The weather finally defeated us.

Unusually I was awake and up at 7:30am.  Chris followed at 8am and we got under way at 8:45am, early for us.  The plan, if there was one, was to make for Leek today.

Although a tad chilly the morning had some sunshine but plenty of cloud as well.  The overnight wind had dropped so not an unpleasant cruise.

Our first lock of the day was Engine lock.  Here we meet our first boat going the other way,  As the lock was in our favour we came up first.  The boat going down warned us all the pounds ahead were very low so it made for a slow run all the way.  

Leaving Engine Lock
 Next was lift bridge 21,  we thought it was a windlass job but in fact it was electrified so Chris quickly lifted it and we passed through.

Our luck ran out at the next lift bridge No 23.  A Canal Company hire boat had just lifted the bridge as we caught them up.  They only just got through using plenty of revs.  This did not bode well for us.  The young crew member waved us on and as AmyJo got halfway through she suddenly started to reverse for no apparent reason despite applying various levels of forward throttle.  It took  all the might of the young man hauling on the centre line to get her through.  I can only assume it was flow from the nearby locks being let down by the hire boat crew that caused the problem.

Plenty of power and the hire boat crept through
 Further on we arrived at Stockton Brook locks and these are a bit like Bosley Locks.  Although harder working they are set in lovely surroundings and are a delight to go through.  The grass is well maintained and the area kept spotless.

Lovely wooded locks
Just as warned the pounds were indeed low.  Even when the first lock was full I had to wait for Chris to let the next lock down before I could proceed.  I crept AmyJo forward slowly closing the gates behind me and crossed the pounds scraping bottom.  Luckily I only ground to a halt once.

This lock is full and still a good foot lower than normal

Stockton Brook Pumping station now looks unused and in a sorry state.  Its now owned by two artists
that have plans for it.  The steam engine is long gone but the electric generators are still there.

Artwork at lock 8 in remembrance of the potteries industry
 As we passed to lock 8 the heavens opened and a torrential downpour hit us.  Chance to try out our new rain coats.  They worked quite well.  This is me modelling mine

And Chris modelling hers.  Have to say they were a good investment we made at the Crick show this year and they kept us really dry.

Between the showers the sun did shine and then the cut looked fabulous.

No chance of using the lock landing here as it seems to have collapsed.

Unusual stable block conversion.  Loved this place.
 At Stockton Brook these lovely cottages sat right on the edge and one can just imagine sitting there watching the world go by on a warm summers evening.

Wouldn't mind this impressive place Lisa.
 By now the sky was darkening and the wind picking up.  We had to resort putting the canopy up as now the rain started to hammer down.  We stuck it out looking for a suitable mooring passing this odd obstruction in the middle of the canal.  Quite why its there is not clear to us but its definitely no good as a roundabout.

Keep right but why?

Stoke on Trent Boat Club seemed closed off to visitors.
We battled on in the wind and rain until we came across Park Lane wharf services.  We pulled in for water on the first of three water points and found we had actually moored on the last of the visitors moorings a mere 10 feet from the tap.  We sat out the rain and when it stopped we filled with water and disposed of the rubbish.  Once again the heavens opened and this time it did not stop.  As we were on visitor mooring we decided to call it a day and settled down for some lunch.  It continued to rain heavily on and off all afternoon to the decision to stop turned out to be a prudent one.

There are good showers here so tonight we plan to make good use of them.  Leek will have to wait until tomorrow now.  Guess what?  Now we've moored up...... 

Total distance:3.59 miles Elapsed time:2h54m35s Locks:6 Bridges:15 
Average speed:1.23 mph (3.30 lock/mph) 


Adam said...

The obstruction is what used to be the centre of a swing bridge.

nb AmyJo said...

Thanks for that. Makes sense now. Would love to have seen it when it was working

Lisa said...

If you meant me with the house....? Too much hoovering for me and I only dust twice a year wether it needs it or not.