1st - 8th April 2021 (7 nights)
From: Stone ( Trent & Mersey Canal)
To: Telford Basin Manchester (Ashton Canal)
Via: Trent & Mersey, Macclesfield ,
Peak Forrest and Asthon Canals.
We kick off our 2021 Cruise season with a couple of trips requested by a returning visitor from Oz.
Having overwintered in Aston Marina (well that's the plan anyway) we'll be chomping at the bit to set off cruising again.
This is made up of approximately 57miles, of narrow canal and 60 narrow locks.
Our cruise will start somewhere around Stone town. Our guest will join us around 1.30pm and we'll chug off Northwards through Stone locks, through the Meaford flight and (perhaps after stopping for a pint at Neil Morrisey's pub in Barlaston) head close to Wedgwood to moor for the night in case a quick visit is required the next morning.
Assuming we've not lingered too long (if at all) we'll set off in reasonable time and head on to Stoke on Trent and (perhaps pause at the junction of the Caldon Canal for a look in Etruria Museum). rather than spend our 2nd night there, we'll chug on a couple of miles and tie up around Westport Lake where it's a bit quieter... in preparation for Harecastle Tunnel the next day.
Once we're through Harecastle (very low and 2926 yards long), well head to Hardings Wood Junction and Join the Macclesfield Canal. From Memory there's a tap not far on from there that we'll probably need to use before continuing our journey up the Macclesfield before we hopefully moor at the Bottom of Bosley Locks – that is unless we've made good progress... in which case we may head up and tie up at the top.
We've quite a lot of ground to cover the next day – through Macclesfield and hopefully on to through Bollington and ideally on to Marple … if we don't make it all the way no matter... we can have an early (ish) start the next day.
At Marple, we'll turn left on to the Peak Forrest (Lower) canal and begin our decent through the Marple flight... the flight that had been closed for the first 2 years NB Ellis had been trying to get down it! ASSUMING all works out, we'll explore the lower Peak Forrest canal (now new territory for us) and head on to Portland Basin for the penultimate night of this trip.
Next morning – BRIGHT and early, our plan will be too set off down the Ashton canal … I'm afraid after an initial quite nice bit, it does get a bit … lets call it GRITTY. Ergo, after Droylsden, we just keep on going until we get to Piccadilly Village. Hopefully it being early on in the year, there'll be plenty of water in the pounds to ease our transit.
Our final night will (if there's room) be spent in the secure moorings of Telford Basin, where our guest will depart after breakfast the following morning to have a couple of days away to explore Liverpool... while we'll be heading off down the infamous Rochdale 9, through Castlefield Basin and on to Stretford Marina – where we'll plug in to shoreline to clean and restock the boat ready for our guests return in a few days time.