Some 4 miles along the Trent & Mersey from the jct. with the Caldon canal you come to Harecastle Tunnel. This tunnel is almost 2 miles long and is not as wide as other tunnels on the canal system and so it`s controlled by a tunnel keeper at each end. A maximum of 8 boats are allowed through north and the same can then go south once they emerge.
The water colour in this area for some distance both sides of the tunnel is caused by the ironstone mineworkings that are present all over the hill above the tunnel. The drainage from these mines causes the brown soupy colour.
There are actually 3 tunnels through the hill. The first was finished in 1777 . A second was built, to help speed boats through the tunnel as all the boats had to be legged through while the horses were walked over the hill, this was finished in 1827.
The 3rd tunnel was some 40` above the canal tunnels and was for a railway line. Now Following the closure of the original tunnel through subsidence and the re-routing of the railway only one tunnel is useable.
After exiting the tunnel the branch to the Macclesfield canal leaves to the left and as the Trent and Mersey drops down through 2 locks the Macclesfield canal crosses over the top of us. Just like a road flyover.
This area is Kidsgrove and there is a large Tesco 5 mins walk from the canal so an overnight stop followed by breakfast and seriouse re - stocking at Tesco was captains orders. OK so i am the captain, to tell the crew i just look in the mirror.
About 4 miles on is Hassall Green and a 17c pub called the Romping Donkey, i did ask but no one knew why. What i can tell you is they do a fab sunday roast, carvery style and a few pints after who wants to move after that so an o`night stop is order of the day.