Wednesday, August 16, 2017

To the end and back again.

This morning we set off down the last bit of the canal to Froghall. Leaving Consall Forge the navigation heads under two bridges, then past Consall Station on the restored Churnet Valley Railway.

I had a walk around before we left…

Looking upstream from the bridge crossing the river channel.DSCF0775

The Black Lion, with the railway line crossing in the foregroundDSCF0777

Black-faced sheep on the line…

…and a fine looking Jacobs.

Maybe need to click to enlarge…

Three of the four kilns are bricked up for safety, but one has just railings to expose the interior.DSCF0785

We got off at around a quarter to ten, under the footbridge then the railway bridge, putting the line now on our right hand. The platform and waiting room are cantilevered out over the canal…


Flint Mill Lock is the last before the terminal basin at Froghall, above it is a winding hole for full-length boats that won’t fit through the tunnel, and below is a profile indicator to check those that are going to give it a go…

If you can get through without the suspended plastic sheets touching the roof, you’ll fit through the tunnel. No chance for us, even if I emptied the roof.

Where the channel has been cut through rock as it follows the side of the river valley, the engineers understandably didn’t do more than necessary…DSCF0793

Cherryeye Bridge has an unusual, almost Norman, arch.DSCF0795

The woods on the right bank end as the industry at Froghall appears. Or it would do if there was any left…DSCF0797


We turned around at the winding hole short of the tunnel, backed up a bit and moored so I could have walk to visit Froghall Basin.

The low Froghall Tunnel

At the basin the wharf buildings now host a sanitary station, basket maker and tea rooms.DSCF0800

I learned to drive in a Morris Minor Traveller very similar to that one…

More lime kilns

Loading docks for lime brought down from Caldon Low quarries.DSCF0802

Lock 1 of the Uttoxeter Canal has been restored, dropping down into a basin with mooring pontoons.DSCF0805


The canal goes no further, now.

Getting loaded full-length boats around the sharp bend into the tunnel must have been challenging!DSCF0808

Back at the boat we had a brew and then set off back to Consall Forge and beyond.

Back through Cherryeye Bridge.

I was tempted to stop for lunch back at Consall Forge, but the most pleasant mooring opposite the pub was taken, so we carried on. There was an ulterior motive too. On Wednesdays during the school holidays there’s a steam loco on the railway schedule, and I was hoping to catch a sight, especially in view of my disappointment at Market Bosworth a few weeks ago.

Well, I caught a glimpse…
…of the tender going backwards!

Oakmeadow Ford Lock, at the upstream end of the river sectionDSCF0816
That’s the Churnet coming in on the right.

As we headed towards Cheddleston, having ascended Woods Lock, the train returned from it’s trip to Froghall, but was too far away and obscured by trees. But finally, after we’d moored up across from the station, I got the picture!DSCF0822
The loco was built in 1945 in Lima, Ohio, and exported to China where it spent the next 40-odd years working in the coal industry. In the 90s it was withdrawn from service and earmarked for scrap, but was rescued and brought to the UK by an enthusiast. Overhauled it went back into service on the Llangollen Railway, before being bought by the CVR.
Last winter, after a full rebuild taking 4 years, it returned to the tracks.
I’m a happy bunny.

Locks 4, miles 6½

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