We untied at just before 8am which turned out fortuitous as by the time we had got to Trentham lock there were three boats behind us.
Another beautiful start with lots of blue sky.
I have never been to the factory tour - it is on the to do list.
No queue for us at Trentham lock
We were soon joined by three other boats who left just after 8
I like the run into Stoke, it gets progressively more urban then industrial,
What is difficult to appreciate is the growing noise as you approach the A50/ A500 roundabout then it is just full on noisy.
I can't help but imagine the faces that have looked out onto the canal from these long last used windows
You just know this is someones well thought out home
The couple of hours went very quickly and we were soon at Stoke bottom lock. This is just a massive concrete box and it echoes like no other lock on the system. We were helped initially by an Austrian crew who were off up to Chester. We then got help by a very enthusiastic lock wheeler and entrepreneur - a young man on his cycle called Rob. He was very efficient and advised he cycles as far as Stone and will help on the Wolverhampton 21. He also said he does laundry and shopping ! I have his mobile in case you ever need it.
The top lock was staffed by volunteers, Rob said he had been a volunteer but did not like it as he had to stay on one lock. It is an imposing lock and one I do not like being in for no reason I can put my mind to !
We are still climbing and have been ever since leaving Fradley. Tomorrow I'll tot up the feet we have risen when we hit the summit pound. This is looking back from the top of the stoke flight.
Yep you guessed it my 180 degree turn onto the Caldon was perfect and no one saw it . We watered up and emptied the bogs then off to the staircase to climb some more.
Again we met and chatted to a fella who lives close to us .... he come to the locks to operate them for boaters to pass time while he waits for his boat time.
Then off through Stoke .... I have to say it's much improved since we last came. Lots of new property by the canal. Shame the canal is not in better condition with lots of off side growth needing cutting back. It really is a meander and slow due to the reduced width and tight turns.
We both got it wrong on a couple of turns. Bridge 18 is shocking I had to pull the boat around on the centre rope as there was no other way of avoiding trees and bushes on the off side as I came through the bridge hole.
Good old bridge 9 - it caught us out last time on Waterlily when I creased the chimney ! This time we were ready .....
Lots of decent development and some renovation.
It does get better - wider and more rural. Only one hand lift bridge now as the other has been converted. Still impossible / difficult for a single hander as the winding mechanism is on the off side
We made out schedules stop at the bottom of Stockton brook. CanalPlan said 7 and a half hours we did it in 7 with half an hour to water up so very good cruising
Moored with fishing in mind. Caught well until some predatory fish were attracted then it went dead. I put a spinner on and lifted out a large Perch - proper fishing.
Tomorrow we aim to eat at our local - The Black Lion.... lets see !