Rode Heath to Church Lawton

We met a nice single-handed chap, called David, on Snowgoose. He was out of Venetian marina and was heading for the Harecastle tunnel. We’d helped him up through some of the locks – just setting paddles and opening gates etc. I suggested we repeat the same today, only we’d planned just to do the next six locks only, just around 2 and a bit hours away. So we all set off – up the Lawton locks, Hall’s Locks and Church Locks – it was quite warm!

And here’s the sweet mooring at Church Lawton, before bridge 135
It was quite a hot day – the matt grey roof does make the boat hot but it also dries clothes really fast! (Did you really take a photo of your pants & socks, Steven?)
I went for a stroll to see this interesting church
It looked rather unusual – the main building burned down in the 18C
Hence the new-ish, brick work
It has quite a modern interior – with signs of quite a vibrant congregation
Some handmade things for sale
And even refreshments!
A longer shot showing how rural this little spot is.

Saturday, 6th July. It was so quiet – boat movement wise – that we thought we’d move – it did rain and it was still spitting . . just the 6 remaining locks and the Harecastle tunnel to do. So we went. And it did rain. Quite a few locks were out of action plus we got stuck in No42! The gate wouldn’t fully open. So a bit of argy-bargy and we did get the boat in. No pix here, cos it was too wet. The canal was turning more orange as the water from the tunnel contains iron minerals. We got to the top and met up with Snowgoose again. And luckily, saw 4 boats ready to go in the tunnel – here you have to wait. The tunnel master allows six boats in at a time, then shuts the door. It’s a 40-45 minute transit – 2.7km or 1.5 miles!!! Anyway, in we went . . at least it wasn’t raining!

Yes, nearing the tunnel . . . the ochre water!
And out the other end – notice to boaters: good water point here (also a fast one at Red Bull services)
Longer shot showing Viv looking after the business end of the water hose. Plus the nice house that was for sale last time we came this way.
CRT blurb . .
And a pic of the original, Brindley built tunnel, which subsided – as you can tell!
Just ten minutes further on and it’s Westport Lake – a good spot to moor with a large bird lake (note Viv is brushing the goose poo off the towpath!) and a huge visitor centre, all very eco as they have a sedum roof with solar panels plus straw bales for insulation and a ground source heat pump underneath!
View from the boat . . . lake in the distance and yes, the sun is trying to peep out.
Those lovely geese . . .
The Eco visitor centre
Note to boaters – looks like good services (for boaters) underneath
The lake – a reclamation site – opened by Ted Heath 1971!
And Viv gets to finish her masterwork! Hurrah. Marvellous