We diverted on to the Caldon Canal to meet up with friends of Clare’s sister, Dave and Jane. We winded (turned) Bartimaeus at lunchtime at a convenient location before the locks, and then went to the shops before setting off further up the canal on foot to meet them coming the other way.
We said hello as we walked past Jane on the towpath, and waved to Dave on the boat without realising these were the people we were supposed to be meeting. So we were a little later, and a little more tired than planned when we eventually met. They moored up next to us and we had a very enjoyable chat with them before and after dinner in the evening. Their boat is very cosy, with a country cottage feel inside. It is quite a contrast to the modern lines inside Bartimaeus.
The Caldon is a lovely canal and deserves a much longer look than we have given it – this time. In the morning we both set off down the Caldon and through the park we had stayed in the night before.
The weather forecast suggested we would get heavy rain later in the day. So we hurried along the Trent and Mersey Canal to get to the South Portal of the Harecastle Tunnel. We’d booked a passage for 3pm, with the weather forecast suggesting it would be raining hard by then.
The weather wasn’t as bad as forecast, so we entered the tunnel largely dry. The tunnel is over a mile and a half long and is much lower in the middle than it is at the entrances. Although I had to keep my head down a little, it was nowhere near as tight as some of the tunnels we’ve already traversed.
At the north end, we turned on to the Macclesfield Canal, heading towards Manchester via Nye and David in Marple. We found a mooring spot fairly soon as the weather was gradually getting wetter. Dave and Jane have moored up alongside again, so we will have another evening with some additional company.