Our continuous cruising journey in our Narrowboat Hang Loose continues along the beautiful Caldon Canal. We also cruise down the Leek branch.
In my previous post we travelled from the village of Salt onto the Caldon and up as far as Engine Lock. The Nicholson’s guide and everyone you speak to tells you not to moor before you get here – so we moored up just after the lock. There are lovely moorings below the lock too, which is where we moored up on the way back.
Thursday 1st August
Yesterday we moved on from Engine Lock and moored up just after we turned on to the Leek branch of the Caldon Canal.
It’s a really beautiful mooring place but we were plagued by wasps so we decided to move on today. We cruised as far as we could along the Leek branch – boats over 45ft have to wind at Bridge 9.
On the way there you go over the Hazlehurst Aqueduct, which takes you over the Caldon Canal and you also go through the Leek tunnel.
We were unable to moor at the end as there were no space, so we turned round, went back through the tunnel and moored the other side.
The sign said it was a 15 minute walk back into Leek but it definitely is not! It took us about 40 minutes to walk into the centre of Leek.
There is a Morrison’s before you get into Leek though, but it’s still a good walk if you’re carrying shopping back! It was also throwing it down, so we had to take shelter in a pub – luckily we found one serving Plum Porter – one of our faves.
Back through Leek Tunnel
On Friday we decided to turn round and go back to the end of the Leek branch as we had seen a couple of boats leaving. So, off through the tunnel again!
Unfortunately, the only space was on the winding hole so we decided to turn again and keep going. Back through the tunnel for the fourth time lol. It’s definitely worth a trip along the Leek branch if you come down the Caldon Canal. It’s so pretty and Leek is a lovely place with some great shops.
Todoay we managed to find a fab spot just before Hazlehurst Aqueduct. It’s only a 24 hour mooring but it’s really beautiful. We had a great view and right by the aqueduct there are some steps down to the Caldon Canal and it’s just a little walk along to a great pub called The Hollybush.
We ate there that evening and it was delicious. It’s a lovely pub to sit outside, especially if it’s sunny, and watch the boats go by.
Sadly, as this was only a 24 hour mooring, we had to move on. It had been a beautiful sunny day and no sooner had we set off it threw it down. We turned back onto the Caldon Canal and you immediately go down 3 locks, which is when the rain came – typical!
Luckily we managed to get a mooring just before Cheddleton Flint mill (thanks to a couple of boats moving a little so we could fit in). The sun came back out pretty much as soon as we moored up.
Our very good friends, Nigel and Tracey, came to visit on Sunday. They treated us to a lovely lunch at Oceans Coffee and Waffle House, which is right next to the canal, just by the Cheddleton Locks. It was so lovely to see them both and we had a good catch up. The panini and the milkshakes were fab.
After lunch we had a look around Cheddleton Flint Mill, which was really interesting. I loved the little cottage.
This evening we went for a lovely stroll and surprisingly found a very nice pub. It’s called The Black Lion. There’s also a pub called the Red Lion, which is just along the road to the left (the road is just past the Flint Mill). However, we were told that the Black Lion was well worth a visit. It’s not much further to walk. When you get to the Red Lion there’s a road opposite and it’s just up there. It’s a very popular pub and it’s lovely. Worth a visit.
And off to the end of the Caldon Canal
It’s Monday 5th August and today we cruised to the end of the Caldon Canal. Actually we didn’t get to the very end as Hang Loose would not fit through Froghall Tunnel so we had to turn just before.
The Caldon Canal is so very beautiful and todays cruise was amazing. We stopped off at The Black Lion at Consall Forge for lunch.
This is a pub that we visited on a Camra pub walk we did last year. We sat at this pub dreaming of owning our own narrowboat and mooring it on the canal opposite. It’s a really beautiful place to sit in the pub garden, with the steam train running alongside. We didn’t get the dream spot unfortunately but the steam train was running that day so that was fab.
A mooring was available just after the winding hole before Froghall tunnel and had a walk up to The Railway Inn for a couple of pints. We did an online shop with Asda as we had run out of groceries and they managed to find us near Froghall tunnel with no problems.
The next day we had a lovely walk around Froghall and went to Hetty’s Tea Shop, which was fab. We found the end of the Caldon Canal, walked up an old tramline and found a lovely nature reserve.
There are also some nice little pontoons for mooring up – if you’re lucky enough to be able to fit through the tunnel and get to them! We didn’t see one boat go through the tunnel.
Friday 8th August
Brilliant day – Chan, Ross and Winston came for the weekend.
Yesterday we cruised back to just below Engine Lock ready to meet up with them. They stayed till Monday and we cruised down to Milton, turned round and went back to the end of the Caldon and back again. We had a fabulous weekend. It was so good to have them with us for a few days. We miss them so much. We also managed to get the dream spot outside The Black Lion.
We stopped at Cheddleton again and also went to Ocean’s again for waffles. We re-visited the Black Lion at Cheddleton and cleared a tree from the canal – well, Ross did!
Chan really enjoyed driving and we were lucky to have mostly good weather. Wish they could stay forever – love you guys all our ♥️
The Caldon Canal has been fantastic. It’s beautiful and peaceful and we were lucky to do it twice. I can’t recommend this canal enough. You really need to do it, or go for a walk along it. It’s probably the most beautiful canal we’ve been on.
We had moored back below Engine Lock and after they went we had torrential rain, so hunkered down for the evening.