The Bank Holiday weekend weather was like the parson’s egg – good in parts. But that didn’t stop us much at all.
Barry and Pauline (aka Wind Me Up B*^ch as that is what she has done to David from the first time she met him in Tuscany back in about 2006) are intrepid travellers who have travelled with a group on a truck/bus from the UK to Thailand, I think, across some pretty dodgy places politically and geographically; so a bit of rain on the cut wasn’t going to stop them.
On Saturday we set off quite early from a Black Prince mooring in Festival Park Marina as the hire boats were due back at 9.30 and we wanted to be well out of the way before then.
Within a few minutes we were on the Caldon.
|This is not far from the entrance to the Caldon Canal|
While we were at Festival Park on the Friday I asked a guy just back from the Leek and Caldon how they had enjoyed it: they hadn’t - too narrow and too many corners. It is 8 or 9 years since we were last on it and I had forgotten much of it so I was a bit concerned, esp given it was a Bank Holiday. I did wonder if it would be heaving with boats. But no, it was pretty empty. And it was just lovely. It didn’t seem as narrow as parts of the Maccie or Peak Forest and nowhere near as shallow. And there has been (and continues to be) a lot of work being done on establishing very well paved towpaths with heavily compacted grit of some sort and lots of armco to moor against.
|Just moored up for lunch. I was drenched!|
It persisted down with rain on Saturday morning for a time so we stopped for lunch while the worst of it precipitated, and then moved on in increasingly fine, sunny and warm weather. Barry and I shared the steering and I took the opportunity to have some time off the stern by doing locks. It is fun!!! And in the rain it certainly keeps you warmer than steering does. I am going to need to get David doing the steering somehow …
|It got very warm and sunny in the afternoon, and I am happy Barry was steering!|
|The only trouble with doing the locks is that sometimes ...|
|... it's a long walk to where you can be picked up (esp if you forget to ask the steerer to hover in the lock exit for you). By the way, I cannot seem to find a photo of me that does not show either my big bum or my big tum!!!|
|In one of the lock cottage gardens|
|Barry happily leaving us behind, the b*stard|
|This pony previously belonged to gypsies. Her mane has been trimmed and is growing back very slowly.|
We moored about 4pm next to a small field with horses and ponies in it across the cut from Stanley Moss in a lovely spot that had room for our table and chairs, wine/beer/cider and nibbles – the latter attracted the attention of a number of dogs walking their owners in the sun. It is lovely chatting with the owners and making a fuss of the dogs – and it isn’t hard to keep them away from our food!
|A very peaceful spot, and I am in one of my favourite poses ...|
|Standards are slipping - biscuits in the packs rather than on a plate|
|David setting up the pram cover for the night while Pauline and I finish getting dinner ready|
|Isn't that a lovely photo?|