Harecastle TunnelEngine Start 65.8 Finish 70.2 -  4.4 hours
Distance 6 miles 12 Locks

We found a Tesco at Kidsgrove railway station (our lives are dominated by buying food), just before the Harecastle tunnel, a one way, 2926 yards long, brick lined edifice. It can be said with some certainty that the tunnel is wet, cold and in actual fact rather boring due to it being completely dark (we have a headlight and a torch). They must have been truly awful to build, all done by hand and dark and so dangerous (there were three tunnels, now only one remains)

The big news is that the rain has stopped, a couple of light showers of no consequence and we even saw the sun for a couple of short bursts.

You meet some interesting people on the locks and some unusual ones. One woman one her own in a fairly run down boat told us "I do my own paddles". She obviously thought a bit better of it as she was a bit more forthcoming at the next lock and explained that she had been caught on a 'cill' (an often large shelf or protrusion at the bottom of the shallower lock gate). This can easily sink a boat if the lock is going down and one end of the boat is caught up on the cill as water will flow into the boat at the other end.

Harecastle TunnelI gather sinking a boat in a lock is considered very bad form by other canal users, also by the owners and the canal management team. Anyway having once been caught she wanted to handle the water inflow very carefully but it was clearly causing her some stress.

We stopped for the night in a very pleasant park, Westport Park Lake, just north of Stoke on Trent. Charlotte and I had a brief excursion to a local pub. The canal passes a number of derelict factories and then the Duke of Bridgewater pub which the chart said was being refurbished. There is no sign of refurbishment just boarded up and terminal.

The Pack Horse opposite offered live music and Karaoke on saturday nights so we steped through the litter and broken bottles and passed on back to our moorings where the BBQ was ready. I think we are getting the hang of lighting it.