Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Back in the 21st Century, as far as we can that is

Since we left Stoke a few days ago we have been without any internet or even phone signal.  What bliss, not tied to the computer checking emails etc.

So now that we are back from the past, and a very lovely past it was, I am able to catch you all up on what we have been doing.

We wandered up the Caldon with the intention of doing both the Froghall and Leek sections.  The Leek won out for first up.

Turning onto the Leek Arm at Hazelhurst Junction

Field of buttercup and dandelion

Hazelhurst Aqueduct from the top

and crossing Hazelhurst Aqueduct

and looking down the other side

Entering Leek Tunnel

and 'zipping' through
A really lovely section of the canal, winding through beautiful woods and then through the Leek Tunnel to the end of the Leek arm.  We were lucky an found a mooring with no problem. 

As I wanted to post off some mail, we waited until Monday to wander into town.  A bit of a walk but most interesting.  Leek itself is a lot bigger than I thought it would be and is a very ecclectic combination of building styles.  Once we had found the post office and sorted out the mail, we had a good look at the town.
Leek College

Market Square with the original medieval Cross

The old police station

the things that one can buy for your dog !  Wigs and sleeping masks

St Edward street

another shop with great buys

Chimney pots

Ashdown moored in the middle
With all necessities sorted in Leek, we returned to Hazlehurst Junction and turned back on to the Caldon heading towards Froghall. 

Bunny in the bluebells

boat following us through the Leek Tunnel

Hazelhurst Junction from below

and the other side

I can't believe Andrew picked up the camera and took a picture. I also can't believe that I really look like that.  Good thing I am getting lots of exercise this year :)
cows on a hill

onto the River Churnet  (river coming in from the right)

River view

That night we stopped at Consall Forge and partook of some very necessary refreshments at The Black Lion, as it had been a most pleasant day.  Andrew was keen to sample as many of the ales on tap as he could and proceeded to do so.  We had a great evening chatting to some of the 'locals' including Wil, who we had met at the Gnosall easter banter.

The following day we ventured as far as we could, mooring before Froghall Tunnel.

Cruising under Consall Forge station waiting platform

We walked over the top of the tunnel to the other side to have a look at the Lime Kilns and the Uttoexeter Arm which we last saw back in 2006.

Froghall Tunnel

Lime kilns at Froghall

Great Spooted Woodpecker

Her nest where her kids were making one hell of a racket.  Unfortunately she would not go near them while I was there
Masses of tadpoles in the terminal pool of the Caldon Canal

and little fish

Froghall Wharf
 The moorings at Froghall were not so great so we decided to return to Consall and spend the night there again.  A really lovely and quiet spot.  We did not re-visit the pub though!

On our trip back we also wanted to visit the Kingsley Falconry.  After a long, hot and steep walk we arrived there to find that even though the sign says open 10am to 4:30pm every day, it is only every day for short periods during the year.  As expected the last day was 2 days before we got there!  So after missing out I now still had to walk back, at least most of that was downhill, but we were both very disappointed.  With no phone signal or internet on the canal the only way to find out was to walk there.  Once we got there the open signs were very confusing.,  Eventually the only way we found out that they were closed was because up on the ridge I was able to get a slight signal and looked up their website on my phone!  Anyway I am sure that I must have lost a few pounds on the walk :)

walked from the canal to the red arrow !
Once we got back to Consall Forge we went on a short walk to the station and then around through the forest back to the boat.

Signal box

Station house

Waiting platform

nothing on the track

Andrew checking the timetable - from 1965

forest walk - would take a while at his pace

Peacock butterfly

White Lipped Banded snail
I don't want to make this too long, so today's travels will be added with the next blog, which hopefully will be tomorrow. Provided of course we have internet :)

Cheerio until next time :))

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