Monday 6 May 2013
We left the Black Lion at around 9:30 canal time and headed towards Consal Forge. There we had to stop out boat was too large for the Froghall Tunnel the turning circle before it was only large enough to turn boat 65 feet in length. The turning circle at the forged proved very tight and after a little effort with the pole we eventually had the boat turn round. A mobile phone signal appeared long enough for us to text and get a call from Malcolm "The Special Guest of the Day". He parked at Flint Mill and followed the scent of millionaire shortbread we had laid the day before. He boarded just before the first lock of the day. We decided to play safe with our pub meal and have pub lunch rather than evening meal. We can confirm the reviews of the Red Lion at Chedderton proved to be correct and they provided us with same excellent fair. The fish cakes are highly recommended and steak and ale pie was huge and tasty with the largest slices of meal I have every seen. It defeated Gerry but Chris made it one all. Malcolm's made it two one with his ham eggs and chips. We then took the opportunity to explore the Flint mill. It started as grain mill but was converted to mill flint for the pottery trade. After lunch some of us need a walk to overcome the effects of our food and drink. We left Louise in charge of steering the boat with Stuart overseeing. After the locks we opted for another short trip along the Leek canal to get there we had to turn the boat round and after an encounter with a few overhanging trees much use of the pole and Roger and a passer by pulling from the bank we made it! We only had time to go to the first turning circle. We dropped Malcolm on the way by the aqueduct so he could descend to the Calden canal and back to his car.
We provided the evening entertainment as we got the boat turned round but this time in more efficient manner. We had our first debris round the propeller just before we re-joined the Caldon canal. Stuart soon has it sorted and we of again without the vibration from the propeller. We decided to moor very we spent the first night. We were greeted by the same goose when we arrived.
Sunday 5 May 2013
Saturday 4 May 2013
We collected the boat from Stoke on Trent. As the boat had not been booked out previously we were able to collect it at 12:00. The "Canal Crew" soon had everything stowed on board and we were ready for our safety briefing. The team shirts were then unpacked and a team photo was taken as we joined the canal and were ready to set off. The distraction of the burger stall delayed our start so we had lunch just outside the boat yard with some of us just having the pastrami and humous they had brought. The canal split just after the boat yard and we took the left hand fork on the Caldon canal. After a very tight right hand turn we encountered our first lock. The first of around 21 each way we will have to negotiate. The first couple of hours we thought the out skirts of Stoke on Trent with evidence of the former pottery trade now being replaced by housing. At the first the lift bridge we had to stop the traffic lower the barriers and the raise the bridge. Louise soon had the buttons on the control panel sorted and we let her have temporary charge of out British Waterways key. The scenery soon became more rural as we wound our way past Milton and Stockon Brook. We negotiated the 5 locks of Stockon Brook before finding a pleasant spot to moor for the evening.