Monday, July 02, 2007

We stayed put Friday, Saturday and Sunday due to less than clement weather. In fact, it was horrible, windy and with very heavy showers.

We intended to get away to move on down to Froghall at around 10:00, but a lady dog walker left us with the responsibility of a moorhen chick, apparently abandoned further up the canal. It was cold and wet, and very sorry for itself. But after drying and warming up, it became quite chipper.

Milly the Moorhen
I didn’t fancy trying to hand rear the chick, so rang the RSPCA for advice. I was amazed that they offered to come and collect it, and take it to a wildfowl hospital. I expected them to tell me to put it back where it was found and let it take it’s chances.
Anyway, we arranged to meet at the road bridge next to Endon sanitary station. Before we set off I took Meg for a short stroll back up the towpath, and spotted a couple of adult moorhens in the undergrowth on the opposite bank. This was close to where the dog walker rescued the little one, so I dashed back to the boat, collected the chick and released it back into the water. After a couple of circles to get it’s bearings, it set off purposefully across the canal to a clump of overhanging vegetation, where it was soon joined by an adult. I hope that it was Mum.
Anyway, they seemed happy enough, so I left them to it, and we set off after cancelling the RSPCA mercy mission.

First stop was at bridge 28 for shopping, then to the services for water, rubbish and loo, and finally on route proper at around 12:00.

After a showery morning, the afternoon was mainly fine, and we made good time through the locks at Hazlehurst, Cheddleton Mill, and Woods and Oak Meadowford locks. Not far from Cheddleton Mill is Cheddleton Station, where the Churnett Valley Railway starts.

Cheddleton Station

At Hazelhurst, the 3 mile Leek Branch heads off to the right, and then back over the main line on the aqueduct.

Hazelhurst locks, the Leek Branch off to the right.
Hazelhurst Aqueduct
Cheddleton Mill, the original watermill
After Oak Meadowford lock, the River Churnett joins the canal for about a mile, until it leaves over a weir at Consall Forge. When I came down here on my morning run on Sunday, the river level was high, above the level where it would be safe to proceed.

Oak Meadowford Lock
I was pleased to see that the water had gone down to safe levels, so we carried on through the lock. But with the weather being so variable, we decided to turn at the next lock, Flint Mill, and moor so we didn’t get stuck on the wrong side if the river flooded again. We finally stopped at Consall Forge, near where the river leaves the canal.

In the evening a photographic club turned up, travelling by train, and took pictures of the area, with Seyella in the foreground.

Photo Club

Locks 7, miles 8½

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