We had a lovely evening meal in the delightful Boat Inn at Cheddleton. From the outside it only looked like a tiny cottage bedecked with flowers, but there was plenty room inside and outside undercover overlooking the canal.
We cruised back past Cheddleton Silk Mill and under the Hazelhurst Aqueduct to turn at the junction and head up the Leek Branch of the Caldon.
There were several large canoes moored on the lock landing as we came up. The group were enjoying a picnic nearby, so I asked them if they could move them as we didn’t want to chance touching them and cracking them while manoeuvring round the corner as it was a bit tight. Further along we went over the same aqueduct and moored up. As the Hollybush Inn was close by we went for an evening meal there where we chatted to some boaters at the next table. The next day we cruised up 5 locks and under 2 lift bridges to moor above Engine Lock in the countryside. I walked across the fields to Baddeley Green for a few groceries. There was a Co-op and an excellent butchers shop selling home made cakes, fresh vegetables and eggs, as well as all things meaty. We also took a bus ride into Stoke City centre which is in Hanley and looked round the Potteries Shopping Centre.
Then we pressed onward to Leek and the canal was very shallow in places so we had to be careful. On approaching Leek Tunnel there were three boats moored in the turning space just before it. A chap on one of these boats told us that there was no room to moor beyond there. He had been up and had had to reverse all the way back through the tunnel and had turned to go back down. So we turned and went back whence we came as it was not deep enough for us to moor anywhere en route. A bit disappointing for us as we didn’t see Leek at all.
This is the Froghall Tunnel and Leek one was just as short. I like the little tractor resting in the long grass after a lifetime of hard work. In fact it looks just how I feel some days, knackered!