Cruise Manager’s Report – Caldon

CALDON CANAL CRUISE 2015

Our second cruise this year was to the Caldon Branch of the Trent and Mersey Canal.
Dates: June 20th 2015 – June 27th 2015. Six boats attended:
Doinmein
Joie de Vivre
Aquarigo II
Lucky B
Unique
Cormorant II

During the week of the cruise, 27 locks were used and around 45 miles were covered
The original intent was to meet at Etruria Junction, but information about security fears from local boaters required a change of plan. In addition, a failed domestic water pump on a participating boat created a further delay.

While Jim and Joyce went forging ahead, others waited in Barlaston then made a dash up the Stoke locks to Etruria. Here a blocked Elsan disposal point caused a long-running series of jokes! The un-named cause will report his faulty cassette to the manufacturer I’m sure.

After eventually meeting at Hazelhurst Junction, a few hours late, a couple of boats had already explored the Leek Branch, with its dinky little tunnel and sturdy aqueduct which crosses the canal running to Froghall.

Unfortunately, the Leek branch ends some way from the town, and the walk from mooring to the town, for the later arrivals, (who went the following day) was extremely wet and cold. PIMM’s o’clock that evening was one of hot toddies!

During the very pretty and quiet run down the river Churnet the following day, the Commodore’s boat engine broke an injector spring. Quite dramatic pictures exist of the resultant smog-bank!

The Pimm’s o’clock at Consall Forge was memorable for two reasons: It was the first (and only) time where all crews were together and it was Jim Hanks’ birthday. The Black Lion helped celebrate by getting a cake for us!!

Eventually and slowly we made our way down to Froghall itself, and two boats (Unique and Cormorant II) made passage through the ultra-low tunnel and down the first lock of the Uttoxeter Canal. From previous visits, this is the darkest and quietest place on the system!

While some boats and crews stayed in the area to sample the steam trains of the Churnet Valley Steam Railway, others had to leave for a home visit.

So now, two down – one to go. Onwards and upwards to the Lancaster Canal.