We had a lovely time Exploring the Village of Salt on The Trent and Mersey Canal but it was now time to get moving again and we will be cruising from Salt to the Caldon Canal.
Our cruise took us as far as Stone, which was only about 4 miles and a couple of locks today. It was a lovely stretch of canal with lots of Armco in lovely spots to moor up. It was so hot today though and I know I shouldn’t complain about the weather, but I have to, I’m British – it’s the law!
There is a Marks and Sparks right next to the canal so we treated ourselves to a bit of shopping there – I do like M&S! There is also a Morrison’s and Aldi if you prefer and apparently not too far to walk. Stone is a very pleasant canal town and worth a look around.
We did have a lovely walk down by the river here and Tilly had a lovely dip.
Friday 26th July – Barlaston
It was a short cruise to Barlaston today and we moored near to a pub as Chan and Ross are coming to see us on Sunday and we have been told this pub does excellent food. We popped in just to sample the beer and they have Plum Porter – so we had to have a couple as we love it so much. The lovely Fran and Rich of Floating our Boat – my fave u-tube vloggers – joined us for a couple and we had a lovely time.
It literally threw it down on Saturday and Sunday so most of Saturday we hunkered down and kept dry. However we did pop down to the pub at tea time, just to give Tilly a walk you understand. We ended up having tea there and sat talking to a wonderful couple – Phil and Pauline. they were so lovely and very interesting. They had been married for 50 something years and so many stories to tell.
Our tea at The Plume of Feathers was delicious – we had fish, chips and mushy peas – fab. It’s dog friendly – they just can’t go in the restaurant so we ate in the bar.
Sunday 28th July
Chan and Ross came to see us with Winston – so happy to see them. We miss them more than words can say and had loads to catch up on. We had our lunch at The Plume of Feathers. Paul, Chan and I had roast beef and Ross had the vegetarian option, which was a portabello mushroom burger. Everything was really delicious and we all enjoyed it- highly recommended.
After popping back to Hang Loose for a coffee they had to be in their way – but they will hopefully be back soon for a weekend – can’t wait.
Monday 29th July
Barlaston to The Caldon Canal
The rain has finally stopped and we are on our way again. Today we cruised 11 miles and did 11 locks. It was quite a long day but we really enjoyed it – the sun was shining again – that always helps.
We took a very sharp right turn from the Trent and Mersey Canal onto The Caldon Canal – and stopped to fill up with water.
Opposite the amenities, where we filled up with water, is a statue of James Brindley, the builder of the Trent and Mersey.
Unfortunately, James Brindley’s association with The Caldon Canal was not a terribly happy one. In 1772, he was carrying out some initial survey work for a possible branch going east towards Leek and Froghall. He caught a chill after being caught in the rain and getting wet through. He became seriously ill after sleeping in a damp bed, in the wet clothes, and died on 27th September.
A Little bit of History
The caldon canal was designed as an outlet on to the canal system for the Caldon limestone quarries near Froghall. It was opened as a single branch to Froghall in 1779. Eighteen years later, a secondary branch to Leek was built.
At the beginning of the 20th century a new railway line was opened and The Caldon canal gradually deteriorated until it became more or less unnavigable in the early 1960s. It was fully reopened in 1974 and once you are past engine lock it is quite possibly one of the most beautiful canals on the system .
We were so happy to be on The Caldon.
Last year we went on a Camra pub Walk where we stopped off at The Black Lion pub. It was right by the canal, where a narrowboat was moored up and we sat there dreaming of owning and living on our own boat one day – and mooring it right there! So, of course, this had to be the first canal we headed for now that our narrowboat dream has come true. Now we just have to hope there is a mooring spot outside the Black Lion so that that little dream can come true too!
We made it to the top of Engine Lock as everyone who we have spoke to about the Caldon advised us not to moor up before there. It is a lovely quiet spot – and on the Tuesday morning we had a lovely walk to Stockton Brook and found a Co-Op to get some shopping.
The walk along the two path was lovely and then Tilly went off into the woods and found this old railway line, which was lovely to walk along. It was the old Leek to Stoke line, disused since 1988 and we came out at lock 7 where there was an old railway bridge. She always finds the best little walks lol.
As the rain began again we had to shelter in a pub! Another Hollybush Inn – we’ve already been in a HollyBush Inn in the village of Salt. We had a lovely lunch at this HollyBush Inn at Stockton Brook – I had a Greek chicken wrap and Paul had a Moroccan lamb kofta wrap. Both were delicious. Another highly recommended pub. Dogs are allowed in the conservatory or the garden – so we sat in the conservatory which was really nice.
We wandered back to Hang Loose – complete with shopping ingredients to rustle up a chilli.
So happy to be on The Caldon Canal – we are living the dream and absolutely loving life.