Calf Heath to Weston Lock
8th October 2012
18 miles - 15 locks - 8 hours
Other posts in this series:
1. Calf Heath to Weston on Trent - this post
2. Weston on Trent to Etruria
3. Etruria to Consall Forge
4. Consall Forge to Leek
5. Leek to Hem Heath
6. Hem Heath to Tixall
The start of our autumn pilgrimage to the Caldon canal was delayed by our attendance at the Banbury Canal Day, so we arrived at the boat late on Sunday night ready for an early start on Monday. The Caldon is a firm autumn favourite and have been found on these remote waters in September / October for the last three years.
We were awake at 6.30am and ready for the off by 8.00am, moving along the Gailey summit under a drizzly grey sky. The plan was to get to The Caldon as soon as possible leaving plenty of time to dawdle in the Staffordshire moorland rather than on the less interesting Staffs and Worcester / Trent and Mersey.
Things don't stay the same on the cut and even at Four Ashes things are a changing. To the west a new waste to power unit is nearing completion and to the east the abandoned section of the Four Ashes Chemical Works has been leveled and a huge area prepared for re development.
There was little traffic on the canal and I guess I got a bit lazy, starting to fill Otherton lock when suddenly the was a bang on the bottom gates as a boat was trying to force its way in against maybe a foot of water. A single hander was coming up and I hadn't seen his solitary paddle raised. I quickly lowered the top paddles and worked the boat up offering profuse apologies. Actually the boater was someone I have met several times before, I dint know his name or that of the boat but it is distinctive with the letters THG painted on the stern doors.
We paused at Midland Chandlers to try out the cassette toilets, feeling a bit foolish to be sitting on the various products and quite literally, trying them for size. WB is scheduled for a new loo this winter and we need to be of one mind about the model which will replace the aging dump through which currently graces the shower room.
The rain stepped up a gear and held steady all the way to Tixall Lock after which it cleared up and we pressed on as long as the light permitted, stopping just beyond Weston Lock.