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Harecastle Tunnel


Arthur Marshall
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1 hour ago, PhilR said:

How many other boats turned up for their 1pm booking slot?

If all passages need to be pre-booked the tunnel keeper should have known how many boats were booked and whether or not they could slot you in.

probably a bit like the lift, if you turn up at five to ten and there is space on the ten o'clock transit some will put you on. others will hit the computer and because of the time it will probably say 12 o'clock because you haven't given enough notice for 10. The Volunteer or CRT tunnel keeper is probably happy to slip you through early because the end of day tally is right, but a day early makes the records wrong. Who knows 

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1 minute ago, ditchcrawler said:

probably a bit like the lift, if you turn up at five to ten and there is space on the ten o'clock transit some will put you on. others will hit the computer and because of the time it will probably say 12 o'clock because you haven't given enough notice for 10. The Volunteer or CRT tunnel keeper is probably happy to slip you through early because the end of day tally is right, but a day early makes the records wrong. Who knows 

It probably makes a difference if it was a volunteer at the southern end. I can understand that they might not have a flexible approach and have to play by their instructions.

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8 minutes ago, Chris-B said:

Having not been that way for a number of years where is the best and nearest overnight mooring for the northern end 

Hardingswood Junction is the nearest and the Bluebell is a real ale pub. Alternatively, Red Bull (either 2 or 3 locks north. Or if you are coming down the Macclesfiled Canal  there are good moorings before the aqueduct over the T & M, although you might notice a slight wiff from the sewerage works nearby.

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I asked how many boats were due, so that we'd know we could move up to the start of the queue. He said he didn't know, which made me wish I hadn't mentioned our booking as we may have been on our way if I'd kept quiet. As it happens no more boats turned up, and after 2 coming through Southbound, off home he went. I asked why they'd changed it to a booking system as it seemed to work fine before, the answer was 'because of covid'.......

He didn't shall we say speak highly of the system, and said many people do turn up without bookings. Surely they wouldn't make you wait for the required 48 hours notice period? The signs on the locks don't give you that length of time to book ahead if that was the first you knew of it. 

Anyway, it's a nice spot and nice weather, just frustrating to have to wait 20 hours for no apparent reason. 

And he wasn't a volunteer. 

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10 hours ago, Chris-B said:

Having not been that way for a number of years where is the best and nearest overnight mooring for the northern end 

If I'm taking a first passage in the morning, I will come up the T& M, and then reverse round onto the Macc.

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I always moor before the last lock up at the Macc junction on the green bit but not too close the the factory with all the pipework because it can be noisy if they are working. Never had a problem though we did once have a lad evading the police who swam across the canal from the wood on the off side.

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I’m another who stays below the top lock. 
Just back far enough to be amongst the greenery. 

I don’t think there’s anything to stop someone mooring at the tunnel entrance over night but I was advised not to because of vandals.  

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If coming up the locks mooring in the longish pound below the top lock is good or the pound at Red Bull services, obviously not on the service mooring, that way you can use the services in the morning if you need to. From either it's only a short walk to the shops and the Blue Bell. I would check the opening times of the pub as they didn't used to open on a Monday and weren't open at lunchtimes last time we were there. If coming down the Macc anywhere near the aqueduct is fine 

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5 hours ago, Tracy D'arth said:

I always moor before the last lock up at the Macc junction on the green bit but not too close the the factory with all the pipework because it can be noisy if they are working. Never had a problem though we did once have a lad evading the police who swam across the canal from the wood on the off side.

Same spot that I use

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5 hours ago, captain birdseye said:

When I booked in for Monday next week I asked how long ahead they recommend booking in and was told at least 48 Hours as slots get fully booked some days

Interesting it can get fully booked.  Before this booking system was imposed I have turned up at all times of the day and NEVER been refused passage.  However, on one occasion there were so many of us heading to the Etruria Festival that boats 6 and 7, myself and another, strung a line between us and convinced the keeper a boat and butty counted as one! ?

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I booked in on Wednesday about 4pm looking for the 2pm slot on Thurs. Nope was the reply we're very busy it will have to be 12 noon on Thursday. Rather an inconvenience as I had just come out of Kings Lock.

 

I exited Lock 42 at 11am,  but unfortunately the sunken boat meant I didn't get to the tunnel mouth until about 1pm, and was waved in after a 10 minute wait. There was just me and one other boat! After I had exited (the 2nd in the convoy) they locked up for the day. If they are as busy as they claim, you'd think they'd extend their hours past 2pm!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I went through Last Monday and had booked and was told confirmed for 13:00 southbound. Got an e mail at 07:30 which I picked up whilst eating breakfast at Congleton saying sorry it should have read 12:00. So it was fire the engine up and get a move on. Made it in time and to be fair the tunnel keeper rang me to ask if I could get there so he knew if I was last minute and assured me I would be OK to get through. Coming back north we were in half an hour early.

 

Furness Vale. I gets booked up because there are only three passages each way with a maximum of six boats per passage, whereas when the keepers let you in as and when the other trip was all out the had more passages a day, as has been said if the demand is there maybe they should staff the tunnel all day.

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3 minutes ago, captain birdseye said:

Furness Vale. I gets booked up because there are only three passages each way with a maximum of six boats per passage, whereas when the keepers let you in as and when the other trip was all out the had more passages a day, as has been said if the demand is there maybe they should staff the tunnel all day.

Yes, it is worrying that if they can "force" the booking system to work, CRT will make it permanent to save staffing costs.

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8 minutes ago, Arthur Marshall said:

I can see no reason for this except to save money. Social distancing can't possibly be a problem for either boaters or a single tunnel operator.

 

One further step up the ever steepening wedge, it wont be long before the 'thin end' is a dim and distant memory.

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3 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

One further step up the ever steepening wedge, it wont be long before the 'thin end' is a dim and distant memory.

Doing the Llangollen in August has been an education. I'll do a summary when I get back to a real computer... I'm pleased to have got out on the boat this year, but can't say it's been a totally pleasurable experience; a combination of the now normal maintenance problems and boater behaviour. But still, 80% of them are fine...

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On 07/08/2020 at 11:10, Goliath said:

I don’t think there’s anything to stop someone mooring at the tunnel entrance over night but I was advised not to because of vandals.  

 

We did exactly that mid-April last year as there were no moorings at the lake, were too late for the last transit, and needed water anyway. was nice and quiet and we didn't see a soul until the staff arrived next morning.

 

oddly enough we heard later it was best not to stop at the lake because of vandals ?

EDFC8385-E7DD-4223-96AC-32CB5DF16CAD.jpeg

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4 minutes ago, Hudds Lad said:

 

We did exactly that mid-April last year as there were no moorings at the lake, were too late for the last transit, and needed water anyway. was nice and quiet and we didn't see a soul until the staff arrived next morning.

 

oddly enough we heard later it was best not to stop at the lake because of vandals ?

EDFC8385-E7DD-4223-96AC-32CB5DF16CAD.jpeg

We have used both no problems

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1 minute ago, Goliath said:

I was on about the north end of tunnel. 
 

South us fine. ?

 

Unless it has been repaired - look at the bridge just before the North entrance - there are (were) loads of coping stones and bricks missing - these were pulled off by vandals and used as missiles on boats moored between there and the North Portal.

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