Saturday, 15 August 2015

Goodbye Stone, hello Barlaston

After yesterday's downpours, it's been quite pleasant today, though distinctly fresher. We reckoned around three hours to Barlaston, though it seemed a lot for a comparatively short distance. Checking back on previous logs for the trip confirmed us in our estimate, though. It being Sheila's turn to lock, they were all against us, with a top paddle left up on most of them what's more.

We made a seven o'clock start and plodded steadily onwards and upwards. We didn't meet anything in the opposite direction until we got to Meaford, in which flight we crossed with a couple of boats. By this time we were being followed by an Anglo Welsh that had gone through Stone yesterday evening and had had to settle for tying below Stone Top, all the earlier spots being full. Mind you, there was a load of room above the top lock, by Roger Fuller's yard, as there so often is.

La Suvera was tied between Stone and Meaford; Gina was up and about, exercising Basil the dog. She told us that a boat had passed them at two in the morning, presumably the one we had to thank for the raised paddles. We cleared Meaford after two hours boating and took another 45 minutes to do the final pound to Barlaston. It's pretty busy here – we've had to tie on one of the less favourable stretches, under some trees and on a bit of a bend. Still, it's only for the one night.

A trip into the village butcher enabled us to restock with decent meat. For some reason, there's no proper butcher in Stone, its only defect as a canal town, really. La Suvera went by a while after we'd finished, aiming for Westport Lake tonight, a serious day's boating, but not as serious as the Anglo Welsh's intention as I understood it, which was to finish near Macclesfield today. Maybe the lockwheeler misunderstood my question and that's their aim for the week...

We'll get away in good time tomorrow, aiming to get through Stoke to tie either at Etruria or Westport Lake. It's Sheila's turn to steer, so her call.

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