We are now moored at the end of the Leek Branch of the Caldon Canal in the county of Staffordshire and since our last blog we have been having a great time.The reason I haven’t posted for a little over two weeks is because,as well as having visitors for a few days we’ve also finally met up with some friends and as a result,there doesn’t seem to have been enough time to do a blog.
A couple of pic’s of the old Top Bridge Works at Middleport,just south of Westport Lake as we were leaving.The Bottle Kiln in the right hand picture is the basic Updraught Type,built about 1830 and the only one remaining of as many as 7 at various times.There has been a pottery on this site since 1783.
We left Westport Lake a couple of weeks ago and cruised a couple of miles along the T&M to Festival Park where we intended to stay for a couple of days while we replenished our stores ready for Richard,Karen,Joshua and Owen arriving on a visit from Perth in Scotland.They duly turned up mid morning on Saturday,and we headed off down the Caldon Canal,this route seemed like a good idea as they would only be staying for five days and we could cruise all of the Caldon in that time.
39 Steps ???,no,there are 197 of them and they are alongside the Lime Kilns at Consall Forge,you can’t even get onto the top of the kilns off them.The Lime Kilns are on the right.
The statue of James Brindley,the builder of the Trent & Mersey Canal,as you enter the Caldon Canal at Etruria.A couple of Bottle Kilns that can be seen as you leave Hanley,they are the only structures left on a site that has been levelled.
The Lime Kilns at Froghall,the end of the Caldon Canal today.It did continue on to Uttoxeter but after thirty odd years that stretch was closed and a railway line built in 1845.On the right is the Flint Mill at Cheddleton on the Caldon.The Mill here was powered by waterwheels and was used to crush Flint for the pottery industry.The crushed Flint being transported by Narrowboat to Stoke on Trent.
Richard winding the Lock Paddles and you can see the effort he’s putting into it.Owen at one of the artworks on the Stockton Brook Locks.
Richard and Karen relaxing as we exit a lock and Owen and Josh at the stern when we moored at Consall Forge.
A Steam Train Leaving Consall Forge Station and crossing the Caldon Canal.Chyandour Moored at Consall Forge with the BBQ lit and a train passing the Black Lion pub in the background
Last Wednesday while on our way back to Etruria,so that Richard and Co. could return to Scotland,who should we meet,about half a mile below Stockton Brook Locks,but Rob and Suzie Conroy on their boat Swamp Frogs.After a brief exchange of details as to our intentions over the next couple of days,we agreed to meet up by the end of the week and then went our separate ways.We moored up by the Museum at Etruria and walked to Festival Park and the Toby Carvery where we had a great meal before waving away the family.Better for them to drive back to Scotland on an evening than first thing in the morning.
All stocked up again,toilets empty,water tank filled,we set off back down the Caldon on Thursday and our rendezvous with Swamp Frogs.We “ ran into “ them shortly beyond where we had seen them on Wednesday,they don’t travel far it seems,which suited us all over the next few days.Sunshine,BBQ’s,Beer and laughter were what we enjoyed from then on.We stayed below the locks at Stockton Brook till Saturday and then did the 4 Miles and 8 Locks as we headed for the Hollybush pub just after Hazelhurst Aqueduct.Xzena and Evelyn were coming out to see us the next day,bringing our mail as well,and then staying for lunch.After they left we stayed with Rob and Suzie,enjoying the same amounts of beer and laughter as before until today,then we winded at Cheddleton and made our way here.There’s a weekly market in Leek tomorrow and we are going to pay that a visit and do a bit of shopping before heading back towards Etruria again for the weekend.
Robbie and Suzie from the good ship Swamp Frogs crossing the stepping stones on our walk through Deep Hayes Country Park on our way to the Red Lion at Cheddleton,which unfortunately,is closed on a Monday and we didn’t know.A Guyser at the middle lock on the Hazelhurst Locks.There’s a vent next to the Ground Paddles and water gushes up through the vents when filling the lock and catches the unwary.
That’s all for this week folks.Since our last blog we have done the stupendous number of 45 Locks and 57 Miles,giving us a grand total of 377 Locks and 515 Miles since we left Trent Lock in October.