Thursday, 6 June 2013

Good Timing

We got to the southern end of The Harecastle Tunnel at 8.05am and by 8.15am we were leading other boats through the tunnel!  Good timing!

Approaching the Southern Portal (768x1024)

40 minutes later we emerged at the Kidsgrove end without catching even a glimpse of the reputed resident ghost (most tunnels have one!) ‘The Kidsgrove Boggart’!!  Perhaps it was all too early in the day for him – or, for all I know, it might be a her!  I did, however, manage to see a white painted skeleton in one of the recesses but I was too slow to catch it on camera.  I’ll be ready for it on the return passage.  The water at the northern end of the tunnel is a definite shade of red!  This, apparently, is due to some sort of leakage from a nearby mine.  Could it be iron?  I don’t know.

Emerging at the northern end (1024x768)

The tunnel may be 1 and 3/4 miles long but, being a one-way system, at least there isn’t the worry of meeting on-coming boats!  The only worry is a breakdown – engine or lights! (or an encounter with that ghost of course!!)Heartbreak Hill 004 (1024x768)

                                 My decorative solar lights came on:-  

And there was always ‘light at the end of the tunnel’!  A good saying don’t you think?  You always know which direction you are going in and, although the ‘end’ may seem a long way off, you know that if you keep going you’ll get there eventually!!  

Light at the end of the tunnel! (768x1024)

So, at 9.00am we began tackling ‘Heartbreak Hill’ – the section of the Trent & Mersey between the tunnel and Middlewich. (I’m not sure that’s strictly accurate!)  Don’t let the name put you off!  Yes, there are a lot of locks but some of the Cheshire countryside is absolutely fabulous and, being part of ‘The Four Counties Ring’, there are usually lots of other boaters coming towards you and making life all a little easier!  When the canal was built in the 1830’s most of the locks were duplicated – ie there were two chambers side by side.  Many of these are still in operation today.

(Derek, my little slice of fruit cake, I think you would like this section of canal – no time for boredom!! xxoo)

I did, however, find some of the paddle gear very hard to wind up and down and some of the gates very heavy to open and close.


Lola is learning the routines well:-

Extra cabin crew! (1024x768)          Locking practice! (1024x768)

Tomorrow it is our intention to get to the junction with the Middlewich Branch of the Shroppie but I have a sneaky feeling that the Middlewich Canal Festival is imminent.  If it’s occurring this weekend then ………………. our timing will not be so great!!



  1. Jill, Matilda Rose7 June 2013 at 12:57

    Well worth considering walking over the tunnel with Lola - much nicer than being underground. Really lovely water parks (oh and an open air 'gym')

  2. Thanks Jill. I'll think about that when we go back later in the year. Lovely pictures of the area around Bugbrook and so glad to read that you are now both on the mend. We have some friends who took their boat over to France last year and she absolutely raves about it - says it's 100% better than here. They do have a house over there too where they stay in the Winter. I'm strictly an English Rose myself!! xxoo

    1. Jill, Matilda Rose10 June 2013 at 06:25

      I could do with picking her brains. It seems a lot of the waterways close down in the winter (perhaps that's why they have a house too) but lots of free electric apparently. Do you know where they were lifted out and, more importantly, where they were put in and who did the transportation? xxoo