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Cruise 6 - Stone to Nantwich    N/E half Four Counties & Potteries cruise.


20th – 27th May 2022 (7 nights)
North East half of the Four Counties Ring (Potteries Cruise)
From:   Stone (Trent & Mersey Canal)
To:       Nantwich (Shropshire Union         
                                Wedgewood Factory,
                                Middleport Potteries,
                                Harecastle Tunnel,
                                Rode Heath,
                                Church Minshull,

After a few days rest and recuperation (with the luxury of Shoreline) in Aston Marina, we’ll  have chugged into Stone and be ready to depart when our guests arrive around 1.30pm.


On this occasion, we’re splitting the Four Counties Ring into 2 parts – This being the North Eastern half, we’re using it as a relocation cruise to Nantwich…from which we’ll make a couple of trips to Llangollen and back before we complete the South Westerly part of the Four Counties Ring later in the year.


Typically allowing for circa 5 hours of cruising per day… that is flexible though depending on weather conditions and desired excursions etc.


After an introductory blah blah and a glass of something fizzy, we’ll pull ropes and chug off up through Stone.  Depending on a) weather conditions and b) a desire to visit the Wedgewood Factory, we may put in a long first afternoon and tie up for the evening around Etruria.  This will facilitate a next day visit to the Industrial museum OR we can just chug off  through Stoke on Trent instead.


We can stop at Middleport for a visit to the Potteries if desired – likewise for a wander around Westport lake before we head through Harecastle Tunnel (2919 yards long) – hopefully by 2022 CRT will have stopped using ‘Covid’ as an excuse to restrict operating hours… if not, we may have to over night at the tunnel entrance if we get there too late… it’s not a problem.


Assuming we’ve gone through the tunnel the previous day, we’ll awaken somewhere around Hardings Wood in readiness to continue our Northerly journey.  ‘Heartbreak Hill’ lies ahead and’ we’ll probably moor up for the day at the top of Wheelock.


Next day we’ll approach Middlewich (Kings Lock) and depending on timings, may stop for Fish and chips…  chances are it’ll be around tea time when we get there so rather than stay in the noisy place (near the chippy) we’ll descend the lock and then turn left on to the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal – tying up for the night as soon as there is space.


The Middlewich branch is quite lovely and in no time we’ll have chugged past the sight of the infamous breech which left the canal closed for over a year.  It’s all fixed now (although reports of water leaking “near” the repairs are a bit alarming.  Hopefully we’ll ascend the locks before anything else goes wrong there!


It’s a shame to rush through the branch ,so we’ll take it at our own pace.  Hopefully we’ll be able to moor at Church Minshull and perhaps visit the pub.


Following a (hopefully) peaceful night,  after breakfast we’ll chug on through the rest of the branch – possibly topping up with diesel and having a pump out at Venetian Marina… it might be worth holding off breakfast and taking advantage of the coffee shop/café there… from memory they do a mean bacon butty.  After Venetian, we’ll cruise off ,  turn left at Barbridge Junction and on to the Shroppie Main Line.  We follow this through to Nantwich (waving at the Llangollen canal as we pass it’s junction)  and moor for our final evening together somewhere in Nantwich.    We’ll say goodbye to our guests the following morning after break fast and we’ll begin cleaning and prepping the boat for our next trip – up the Llangollen Canal.


Total distance is 43 miles and 50 locks . There are 13 small aqueducts or underbridges and 1 tunnel (Harecastle Tunnel (2919 yards long).

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