2nd September 2020 (not filmed)
We make our way from Leek to Cheddleton today, its a cool start to the day but the weather soon warms up and by the time we reach Hazelhurst Junction and descend the locks I have started to shed a layer of clothing. We make a fairly early start (for us!) and are moored in Cheddleton by 1145. By the time I have prepared lunch the sky has clouded over and the rain has set in for the rest of the day.
5th September 2020
Leaving our mooring at Cheddleton, we pass Cheddleton Flint Mill. a fine example of a water mill that uses water from the River Churnet to grind flint for the pottery industry. Sadly the mill was closed but we did get to look around the grounds and on our return journey made sure that we arrived when the mill was open. Once through Cheddleton we reach the railway station which is just on the edge of the village. The station was closed in 1988 but was later purchased by rail enthusiasts who re-open the line in 1996 to run a steam operated passenger train. The Churnet Valley Railway operates between Ipstones, through Cheddleton, to Consall and Froghall.
We pass through 3 locks and some attractive countryside before entering Oakmeadowford Lock and the River Churnet which takes us to the pretty Consall Forge. Here there is a popular Canalside pub (The Black Lion), where the railway passes between the pub and the canal, also restored lime kilns, dating from the early 19 century. We didn't manage to get a picture of any trains crossing the canal but we did get some video of the steam train chuffing its way through the valley! We only stay for the permitted 48 hours here but there is no internet, wifi or phone signal , we had to walk a mile up hill out of the valley to phone our daughter to let her know the we would be incommunicado for a couple of days!
We walked the Consall Loop which took in the Devils Staircase and a lovely little waterfall.
We stay for a couple of days before continuing our journey towards Froghall.
7th September 2020
Leaving Consall Forge, we pass through Consall Station with its’ waiting room cantilevered over the canal, we enter a steep wooded valley, seeming to be untouched and unspoilt by man, a raison d'être to its original purpose, when boats and trains laden with limestone from the Cauldon Valley would compete for trade.
It was a 2 mile cruise to Froghall and there were several narrow sections on this stretch of the water so I walked ahead, even so Pat said that he found this section a little stressful at times and he didn't enjoy the cruise as much as he would have liked. At Froghall there are some derelict industrial factories which make this area less attractive, and the 24 hour moorings mean that we can only stay overnight.
We moored a little before the tunnel as we were too high drafted to go through the tunnel, here you can moor for 2 weeks in the rather attractive basin. We did however walk into Froghall Basin and was quite surprised at how lovely it was. There is a great little coffee shop, several walking routes which are popular with the locals and some more of the lovely ancient lime kilns.