Sunday, April 13, 2014

Back on the main line.

Written yesterday, not posted till today (Sunday). I struggled with an internet connection..

A cool grey day today as we retraced our path to Hazlehurst Junction to get back on the main line. Sad to say I cracked; back to long trousers….

Looking back across the Churnet, Leekbrook to the left and the railway running just this side of the rising ground.SAM_8928

Through that fine tunnel again…


There are good moorings just the other side of the tunnel, if those nearer the terminus are full. An unlikely event, though. We’ve only seen one other boat arrive while we were there.

We wriggled and wound our way along the hillside, spotting a vey young brood of duckilngs…SAM_8933

…and another boat!SAM_8935

Looking down onto the main line as we approach the junction.SAM_8940

Ready for the sharp right turn at the junction.SAM_8943

A three-point turn was required to line us up for the top lock, it would have been a lot harder with a full length boat!

Dropping down the three Hazlehurst LocksSAM_8946

Beside each lock is a side-pond, which was designed to save half a lock of water for every boat that passed. Those at middle and bottom look to be in working order, unlike those on the Atherstone and Glasson flights.

Hazlehurst Lock side-pond

When I tried to lift the connecting paddle, though, I found it had been locked shut, by the simple expedient of whacking a lump of studding in above the rack…
Simple but effective.

There are a few boats moored below the locks, we had a chuckle at this well presented pair…

The Jammy Dodger and the Jammy Butty.SAM_8949

Shortly we were passing under the aqueduct carrying the Leek Branch. The convoluted arrangement was necessary to make sure that the water running down from Rudyard Reservoir entered at the summit level. The junction was slightly different when originally constructed in 1797, three locks further down at Park Lane were replaced with a triple staircase at Hazlehurst. This was altered again in 1841 to the current arrangement to accommodate the railway.

Hazlehurst Aqueduct

A clue to when the junction was last modified is on the face…SAM_8952
Also the lock cottage and iron bridge at the top of the locks date from then.

The main line to Froghall was completed in 1779, then extended through to Uttoxeter in 1811, using the Churnet Valley. The Uttoxeter extension was short-lived however, filled and covered by a railway line in 1845.

We moored about a mile and a half further on, just short of Cheddleton Flint Mill. If you want any TV down here you have to be selective in your mooring locations, to give you line of sight to the spot in the sky. Digital TV is almost impossible, satellite the only alternative.

Locks 3, miles 5

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