It seemed like a very long day today and we didn’t achieve our objective which was to reach Froghall. In fact we had thought that we might reach Froghall and return to where we are presently moored at Consall Forge: it would have been possible for those boaters that take on great long days and rush about energetically, but not us. We had completely run out of steam. Which is ironic really as we are travelling alongside the track for the Churnet Valley Railway which uses steam and diesel. Unfortunately it doesn’t operate at weekdays because it would have been a wonderful sight to see a steam train powering along the track beside us. The whole set up is extremely iconic with a very upright old station building at Cheddleton and sidings full of waiting trains, and a neat little station just past the Black Lion pub here at Consall Forge. There are lots of train signals dotted along the track, maybe more for effect than purpose as there is probably only one train travelling along at any time. We had to cross the train tracks to reach the Black Lion pub. There were gates at both sides and a sign next to the gate on the pub side saying that there was a maximum fine of £1000 for not closing it. A shame that one side of the gate in question was laying askew off its hinges.
Despite the dire predictions of torrential rain that had been muttered at us by various boaters we encountered yesterday it wasn’t a bad day. A little rain for a time but otherwise dry but very cold. It was back to winter garb, and thermals for me.
We made an early start and had passed through the five Stockton Brook locks, past the Hazelhurst Junction to Leek and through the three Hazelhurst Locks by 11.30. I thought it would be good to reach Cheddleton before we moored for luch and that took us until nearly 1.00 though it isn’t a great distance. The canal is very narrow and bendy. Near the Holly Bush pub at Denford there was a long line of boats moored on either side and it made steering extremely difficult and very slow.
Our lunch mooring was near the Cheddleton Flint Mill which was open today with several volunteers busying themselves with maintenance. We couldn’t pass without having a look and it was extremely interesting. The water wheel was powering round in the South Mill. It’s a wonderful little museum and completely supported by donations and volunteers.
Today we did 9.33 Miles, 13 Locks and 3 Lift Bridges
Statistics so far:-
2369.22 Miles, 1405 Locks, 128 Swing Bridges, 85 Lift Bridges, 40 Tunnels