Saturday, 13 November 2010

Caldon 2010 Hem Heath to Leek

Caldon 2010
Hem Heath to Leek
30th October 2010

15 Miles - 14 Locks - 8 Hours

We awoke to find the wind, which had blown unceasingly for two days, had died away and the new morning heralded in blue skies and sunshine. Sure, its gone cold so we need warm jackets and gloves, but a small price to pay for the improvement.

 Norton Green lift bridge

For the last two days I have observed the autumn colours are been considering how muted they appear this year, but today the sunshine revealed them in all their glory and I realised it was the overcast skies which had dampened them down. The winds have ripped many of the leaves off the trees and the horizon has been adopting its skeletal winter appearance - the 2010 boating season is marching rapidly towards its conclusion.

Stockton pumping station

The five locks at Stoke were negotiated without problem and it was a pleasure to turn into the Caldon Canal - our destination for this trip. Whilst the Trent and Mersey owned the Caldon network, it is very different. The wide deep waters of the Trent and Mersey are replaced by a narrow and shallow channel, reducing the maximum speed from about 4 mph to 2.5. The Caldon is not a canal to be hurried, similar in some ways to the Peak Forest or the Huddersfield Narrrow.

Sculpture at Stockton Green Locks

The stretch out of town is always a worry, where the line of the canal runs parallel to an abandoned railway track which offers the local youth with an abundance of ammo which they hurl at boats  from the cover of dense trees. Things didn't look good when we saw lads tearing round on motorcycles, but thankfully on this passage was achieved without any inbound.

Hazelhurst Junction

We paused for lunch at Engine Lock, using the break to repaint the solid fuel stove, which was starting to rust.

Leek Arm

At Hazelhurst Junction we opted for the Leek Arm which was particularly lovely when dappled in the last rays of autumn sunshine. We moored in the pool just west of the Leek Tunnel, and you would be hard pressed to find a prettier spot. It bears comparison with Tixall wide but being backed by low hills and enjoyed in splendid isolation it has the edge for my money.

Sunset on the Leek Arm


Alf said...

I hope that you are off the Caldon by now, if not see - Stoppage: Between Bedford Street Lock 2 and Planet Lock 3

11 Nov 2010 until further notice

Associated Regional Office: Central Shires Waterways

UPDATE (12 November 2010): Following investigations into yesterday’s closure of the canal between Lock 2 and Lock 3; it would appear that a third party retaining wall, along with a section of towpath over a 10 metre length has collapsed into the development site. Our engineers and the developers are working closely to find a solution.

More updates will follow when information is available.

Craft may wind at the bottom of Bedford Street Locks and down stream of Bridge 8, Lichfield Street.

Captain Ahab said...

Thanks fo the update - I know exactly the bit you mean. Thankfully we exited the canal over a week ago and WB is back at bose nursing her scars fron Froghall. Good luck with the repairs.