Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Caldon Canal & Leek Arm

Written Tuesday but unable to post due to being in another universe...

Yesterday (Monday) saw us travel through Harecastle Tunnel and Stoke to join the Caldon Canal. A damp start, but the day improved as it went on weather wise. If anyone ever asks us about the Caldon, we always reply that the further you go, the better it gets. It's 3 years since we were last up here and there has certainly been a lot of building and re-generation taking place in that time as you leave Stoke. We eventually moored up above Engine Lock for the night. The weather forecast for Tuesday was for torrential rain overnight and into the morning, so we were thanking our lucky stars we weren't on a river. 

Monday evening - water level normal under pontoon

What a surprise then when we woke this morning to find ourselves listing. We were woken in the night by very heavy rain, but as it turned out, the water level had risen about a foot !!! The piling had disappeared and the water almost up to the towpath. Now on a river I wouldn't dream of mooring with really tight lines, but on a canal I like the ropes quite tight to avoid too much movement from passing boats. Other boats in the pound suffered the same experience... you never stop learning.

Tuesday morning  - check the difference compared to the pontoon above !!
BW (sorry...CaRT) were actually down at Engine Lock running water through the lock to prevent flooding. They seemed quite concerned about the state of the levels. Needless to say the River Churnet is well in flood as are surrounding fields. 

This afternoon we went onto virgin territory for us and travelled the length of the Leek Arm. Only a couple of miles, but a lovely stretch of water and we are glad we did it. We managed to get a mooring on the Hazelhurst Aqueduct and have had a lovely meal in the Holly Bush at Denford. We got a really close up view of the water levels in Endon Brook behind the pub which was almost to the top of the bridge... quite frightening.
Leek Tunnel

Leek Arm

Leek Arm

A lovely canal side property
Endon Brook at Denford
In view of the forecast and the fact that we've quite simply had enough of this dreadful weather, we are thinking it's pointless doing the run down through Cheddleton tomorrow and are going to head back to base a bit earlier than planned.

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