Friday, August 18, 2017

Up to the Caldon summit, and what’s in a name?

Two sets of lock yesterday to get us onto the highest point of the Caldon Canal, a pair at Cheddleton and three at Hazelhurst. And is it Hazelhurst or Hazlehurst? Two and a half inch OS maps show a Hazelhurst Wood, House and Cottage just to the south of the locks, but Nicholson’s in their canal guides use the alternative spelling. I’m sticking with the local version…

The locks weren’t always here anyway. When the canal was opened the three were at Park Lane, about a mile to the west. But with the construction of the Leek Arm within a few years the locks were moved to Hazelhurst so that the new arm could feed in at the summit level.
They were also originally built as a triple staircase, but this was replaced by the current three individual locks in 1841. The elegant latticework bridge at the junction dates from this time. The earlier route below Park Lane Locks has disappeared now, in fact it’s likely that it’s under the adjacent railway line.

But our first were the two at Cheddleton, and both had to be emptied before we could use them.

Cheddleton Locks DSCF0825


The water wheel at Cheddleton Flint Mill above the locksDSCF0831

Almost opposite The Holly Bush pub, a mile or so further on, there’s a short quarry arm on the left.

Starling, on the left, is another Yarwoods boat built in 1936 for Cowburn and Cowpars of Manchester. All of their boats had bird names beginning with S.

WH Cowburn and Cowpar’s main business was in carrying chemicals for Courtaulds in Manchester. One of those carried was the volatile Carbon Disulphide, with cylindrical tanks installed in the hold to store the hazardous product. Boats thus equipped also had a flood valve installed to sink the boat rapidly in the event of a fire.
I can’t make out any detail on the other boat in the undergrowth, although she may be a Thomas Clayton motor boat.

Under the Leek Arm again at Hazelhurst Aqueduct…DSCF0835

…and back up Hazelhurst Locks


It looks like the British Waterways Board had trouble with the spelling, too!

Having not seen a boat up to this point, we were pleased to see a steady stream of boats heading down the locks, making it an easy passage for us.

It’s really rather pleasant up here…

We topped up with water at the Park Lane Bridge services, then pulled in on a pleasant sunny spot just before Endon Wharf.

Over the last few days both Mags and I have noticed that the morse control for the engine has been getting rather stiff. So I disconnected either end of the throttle cable and found that it’s very tight in it’s jacket. I’ve tried running some oil down inside the sheath but with little success so have ordered a replacement that I’ll pick up in Stoke. Meanwhile we’ll put up with the old one. It’s an easy enough swap when the new one arrives.

We decided to stay put today, I had to reassemble the control anyway. A good job really, we had some pretty heavy showers,  two with hail mixed in!

We might even stay here tomorrow, as well.

Locks 5, miles 4½

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