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Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Harecastle Tunnel to Congleton

Map picture

Congleton

Despite getting up early to be ready for the 8:30am start promised by the tunnel keepers yesterday, and just as I finished cooking breakfast mushrooms on toast, a knock on the cabin and the tunnel keeper was asking if we wanted to go through at 8:00am, to which we said yes. Breakfast eaten, and preparations made, we were ready to go as he opened up the tunnel doors and beckoned us forward. I really must shorten our short exhaust stack so I can use it in Harecastle tunnel! The amount of crud I blasted off the tunnel roof was quite painful in my eyes. About 300metres from the end something substantial wrapped itself around the prop and almost stalled the engine, which takes some doing. A couple of bursts astern and ahead cleared a lot of it, but there was definitely some still left on there. AS we emerged from the tunnel I said to the tunnel keeper about it, as we were concerned for other boaters. We pulled into the lock landing above the left hand top lock of the Red Bull flight. This is what I removed from the prop.

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The stringy stuff is what is left of the rope the prop chewed up, the rest is still in the tunnel. I popped it all in a carrier bag and walked back to the tunnel. The tunnel keeper was delighted I had brought it back to him, and he kept it to show his boss. Apparently tomorrow the tunnel is closed so they will take the rescue boat in there to see if they can find the rest, unless one of the two boats waiting to head south through the tunnel picked it up. I was rather surprised that I actually made the sharp right turn outside the tunnel considering that lot was around the prop! It isn’t an easy turn at the best of times.

We reversed back the short distance to negotiate the junction and turn onto the Maccy. We had been on the Maccy before with Hadar, during our test run in January 2008. Same as then we have got as far as Congleton, so tomorrow when we set off Hadar will be on new territory, although we have been this way with Misty Lady. After lunch we walked down into Congleton. Jo didn’t remember ever visiting the town, but as we got nearer the town, and actually into the town she started to recognise it.

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There are some rather splendid old buildings in the town.

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We liked the rather small low door on the left of this old building.

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This is the town hall.

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And this rather small but exquisite shopping arcade, modern but very attractive in its own right.

It is quite amazing how in one  big name charity shop they wanted £12.50 for a crocheted blanket, and yet in one little local hospice charity shop, which was not in the main shopping street, one we have visited before, they had 3 blankets, £1 each!! These mainstream charity shops are getting to be a joke these days if they are going to charge such prices for stuff, especially when they get it all for free.

Keith.

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