It’s finally time for me to face me greatest canal tunnel fear and go through the (almost 3,000 yard long) Harecastle tunnel. It’s wide enough only for one boat and has partially collapsed in the middle so headroom is extremely limited and all boats are checked before they enter (and counted in and out by dedicated tunnel-keepers). Here goes!
After spending the night at the village of Barlaston, I’m ready to go through the substantial town of Stoke-on-Trent, past the CRT facilities yard at Etruria and on towards the southern portal of the infamous Harecastle tunnel.
Continuing my journey up the Trent & Mersey canal, this time I go through Stone in Stafforshire and its assorted locks before arriving at Barlaston for the night ahead of the trip through Stoke on Trent the next day.
In this vlog, I move on from Fradley Junction, take a sharp 90 degree turn to the right and start heading North West, still on the Trent and Mersey canal, up towards Shugborough. En route, I get a haircut in Rugeley and despair of the plastic waste drifting along the canal.
After a couple of days in the rather lovely village of Alrewas I take the boat further along the Trent & Mersey canal to Fradley Junction, where it meets the top of the Coventry Canal. From the CRT cafe, I buy and enjoy a nice slice of lemon drizzle cake. Yum.
As I continue along the Trent & Mersey canal on my narrowboat, I need to get some coal – the early April evenings are still a bit chilly sometimes – as well as kindling, a new Calor gas cylinder and most vitally of all, do a load of laundry. So I stop at Barton Turns marina for those essentials as well as popping into PC World in Burton-on-Trent for a portable hard disc to offload loads of old vlogs onto; my poor old laptop is filling up!
Consider this not so much a vlog (because it isn’t at all one of those) and more as some extra bonus footage; it’s a compilation of shots taken from the bow of the boat as I went along the Trent and Mersey in the last two vlogs.
In this vlog I bid farewell to Alan, Wendy and the dogs Max and Monty, and continue along the Trent and Mersey canal encountering a large plastic bag around my propellor, a lot of shallow canal edges and some quite pretty countryside too.
Here it is, the big crescendo to the River Soar trip – coming out at the end where it meets the Trent. Then I turn onto the Trent, and head onto the Trent & Mersey canal for continuing my Big 2017 Tour.
My voyage up the River Soar in Leicestershire continues, this time going from Loughborough up to Ratcliffe lock. On the way we – me and my convoy pals Alan, Wendy and the dogs Max and Monty – encounter Many Interesting Things.