Sunday, 10 September 2017

Nearly back at our new home moorings - moored at Stone

A welcome change of weather today.  It was overcast with a chilly breeze, but what really mattered was that there was no rain! We left the Wedgwood moorings at 9:50 and made a very quick journey of 4 miles and 8 lock descents arriving in Stone at 12:30. The timing was helped considerably by us only needing to fill one lock,  the others having been filled by people travelling up.

It is raining now but our fire is keeping us dry and warm.

Tomorrow we will be travelling the 1.5 miles to Aston Marina.

This is my last Blog for this year.   See  Densie's new colours and replacement windows in next year's reports.

4.14 miles, 8 locks, 2 hours 40 mins

Saturday, 9 September 2017

A very wet cruise to the Wedgwood factory

We are now planning to arrive at our new permament moorings at Aston Marina on Monday as the continuing bad weather is making cruising more of a chore than a pleasure, especially as we have travelled the stretch of the Trent & Mersey Canal many times.

The weather forecast was dire, and unfortunately correct.  We stayed at Etruria in Stoke on Trent untill 11 am when the rain appeared to stop when we stop off.  However it started again almost immediately and so during the first 1.5 hours Denise  operated the 5 Stoke locks in a downpour.  The rain then stopped for the next hour or so we spent cruising at a good speed out of Stoke.  We had just arrived at the final lock, Trentham, when the rain started up again.  This time it was my turn.

We moored for the day a short distance further on near the Wedgwood factry at Burleston at 14:15.

5.23 miles, 6 locks in 3 hours 10 minutes.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Back in Stoke on Trent

The weather forecast was for heavy rain until lunchtime but fortunately it more or less stopped at 10:00 so we set off dressed in our wet weather gear which proved useful during the few light showers that followed. It was an uneventful journey back into Stoke on Trent to arrive in Etruria at 14:50 where we planned to spend the night.  Traffic on the canal is very light, we only met 4 other boats during the 5 hour journey.

We were short of groceries so had to walk the 3/4 mile  to Hanley Tesco to stock up for our last 3 days of this journey.

8.22 miles, 9 locks 3 lift bridges,  5 hours cruising

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Consall Forge and then back up the Caldon

Oakmeadowford Lock

The wooded Churnet Valley near Consall Forge
Steam train passes Densie's moorings at Consall Forge

Two postings today as we had no interenet connectivity yesterday..

Wednesday 6th August
We left Cheddleton in bright and sunny weather  at 10am, descended the two Cheddleton locks, Wood's Lock and Oakmeadowford Lock where the canal joins the River Churnet for a mile. Since leaving Cheddleton the scenery has been delightful as the canal makes its way along the wooded Churnet Valley beneath the Peak District hills.  Further interest was provided by the Churnet Valley Railway which follows the canal and was running a steam engine passenger service that day.

We reached Consall Forge, a small remote settlement with an excellent pub, the Black Lion, and a Churnet Valley Railway station. We intended to spend the night there but carried on for half a mile to a winding hole where we could turn the boat before returning to Consall Forge at lunch time to moor near where the river leaves the canal.

After lunch on the boat we took a short steam train journey to Froghall 3 miles further down the canal and caught the next train back 20 minutes later.  In the evening we enjoyed a meal and drink at the Black Lion.

Thursday 7th August

We are now on our way home.  The return to Cheddleton was again very pleasant and we were lucky to catch several sightings of kingfishers, or perhaps the same kingfisher being chased up the canal by the boat.  The route took us up the Hazelhurst Locks to Endon where we filled up with water and moored half a mile further on.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Short cruise to Cheddleton

Hazlehurst Top Lock

Hazlehurst Bottom Lock

Hazlehurst Aqueduct

Cheddleton Flint Mill

It was raining heavily when we got up and the weather remained wet until midday.  Then it seemed to clear so we set off.  There were a few showers en route but not bad enough to make us stop.  The first point of interest was Hazlehurst Junction where the Leek Branch of the Caldon leaves by the right and then swings around on an aqueduct over the main line which in the meantime has dropped by 3 locks.

This takes a bit of working out.  We are still definitely on the west side of the Pennines yet the river Churnet which is now alongside the canal is flowing eastward and in due course will join it.

The Hazlehurst locks are in an attractive wooded setting with a whitewashed lock cottage.  Beyond the locks the canal is narrow and progress is slow but the scenery rural and hilly.  By 2pm we have reached the village of Cheddleton where we will spend the night.  Its main claim to fame is the restored flint mill driven by a waterwheel.  Just across the main A road through the village there is also a South American restaurant which we hope to visit this evening. But we found little else to attract a visitor.  The pub next to the canal with a painted sign advertising their meals has a handwritten notice in the window saying "We do not serve food!".

Hopefuly tomorrow will bring better weather.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Uphill To Endon

Norton Green Lift Bridge

Stockton Brook Locks

Another mason's mark

yet another

A warmer and rather humid day but fortunately there was no rain.  We set off at 10:50 and ascended Engine Lock which was followed by 2 lift bridges on farmer's tracks, one electricly operated and the other operated with a lock windlass.  No cars were inconvenienced this time.

The bridges were followed soon after by the 5 Stockton Brook locks where again there was a variety of mason's marks to be seen, particularly at the top lock.  A couple of miles further on the stopped at the Endon services where we had a pump out and refilled the water tank.  As the time was now after and we are ahead of schedulen it seemed a good point to moor up for the night.

3 Miles, 6 locks, 2 lift bridges

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Up the Caldon out of Stoke

Sadly the met office forecast that the weather would remain dry until mid afternoon proved to be wrong as there was a general cold dampness with intermittent light rain on our journey from the start of the Caldon through Stoke on Trent towards the Peak District.

Entering the upper staircase lock chamber

Passing under Ivy House Lift Bridge

Caldon Canal near Milton
The Bedford Street staircase locks provided the first point of interest.  Here there are two lock chambers the top gate of the lower chamber forming the bottom gate of the upper one.  Before starting the ascent one has to ensure the upper chamber is full and the lower one empty, otherwise the results could be embarrassing.

After leaving the staircase there is a long dreary journey through built-up Hanley where the contour canal wanders from one sharp bend to the next.  On the outskirts of Hanley there is the first of the lift bridges.  This one is electrically controlled and simple to operate.  One just presses a button to turn the traffic lights from green to red and raise the bridge, wait while the boat is driven through, and then press a second button to reverse the process.  This time we only caught one car.

After Hanley the scenery improves as the canal passes through woodland making its way along the side of a valley.  We stopped soon after the village of Milton out in the  countryside at lunch time as the rain was getting worse.  The weather didnt improve durng the afternoon so we stayed where we were for the night having lit the fire to provide some homely warmth.