Today we had a marathon day, for us anyway. We set off from Barlaston at 8.30 am, the sun was shining, but there is a definite autumnal feel in the air. We passed through the four locks at Meaford, meeting a couple of boats coming the other way, and soon we were entering Stone, the birthplace of the Trent and Mersey Canal. At this stage we were blissfully unaware of the drama that was soon to occur.
Shortly after passing the above warehouses, we picked up a small grp (plastic) boat ahead of us. This was going to slow our progress through the remaining locks. Sometimes with these small boats, two boats can descend in the lock together, but our 60′ and their 15′ meant our combined length was too long for the locks. At the final lock in the flight, the plastic boat caught up with a shorter narrowboat and followed it into the lock. All was fine and once the top gate was closed, other boat crews began to open the paddles draining the lock. It was at this point the lady from the plastic boat climbed back onboard. The boat tipped and moved away from the edge of the lock, depositing said lady in the water. Fortunately the paddle operators saw what had occurred and immediately dropped them stopping anymore water leaving the lock. At the same time, three or four of us onlookers grabbed the lady before she disappeared under either of the boats. It took all four of us to haul her out, even though the water level had only dropped by about a foot. After all the excitement we pushed on, navigating a further two locks at Aston and Sandon, before arriving at our intended mooring spot just beyond the village of Salt.
Our primary reason for choosing this location, was the good reports we had received about the Holly Bush Inn. It is a 16th century thatched inn and is reported to be the oldest in Staffordshire. After securing the boat we walked to the pub and were not disappointed by the choice on the menu. The food lived upto expectations.
Totals 9 Miles 10 Locks
Running total 346 Miles 207 Locks 14 Tunnels