Tuesday 27th August, 2013 at Longport, Stoke-on-Trent.
Less sunny than yesterday, but still a bright day. M has three pots of violas on MM's roof and they constantly attract butterflies and bumble bees.
Our destination today was the northern end of the Potteries. This necessitated a passage through the famous Harecastle Tunnel, 2,926 yards long. The original tunnel was built by James Brindley, took eleven years to build and opened in 1777. A second tunnel was built by Thomas Telford in just three years and it opened in 1827. For a while both tunnels operated together until gradual subsidence of Brindley's tunnel led to its closure in the 20th century. The entrance to Brindley's tunnel could still be seen alongside the current tunnel, but closed up with an iron gate. A sad sight.
M decided to walk over the top of the hill on the route that would have been taken by the horses while R took MM through the tunnel. She watched him go in and wondered if she would ever see him again! The middle part of the tunnel was very low, just about a foot above MM's roof, but the passage was uneventful. The only problem was that the noise of all the engines reverberating in the tunnel was so loud that R couldn't hear MM's engine and had to set the revs on the rev counter!
At the other end, R moored up and was surprised to have a cyclist stop next to him to say "Your wife is a bit lost but says that she will be along soon!" In due course M arrived, having been led astray by a map given her by the tunnel keeper that was hand drawn, very unclear and certainy misleading!
Later in the evening, we walked all round the lake, which had originally been formed by mine subsidence but has since been turned into a very pleasant wildlife park.
Trip: 329 miles, 258 locks and 266.9 hours.