Rain was forecast and rain happened. We waited until the rained eased and set off just before 8.30. It wasn't actually raining at first, and I walked along to the first lift bridge, which has been electrified since we were last here in 2009. The next one still needed to be wound up by windlass, though. At Stockton Brook locks, it began raining again, and was quite heavy for a while. No photos -- too wet. We stopped at Park Lane Wharf to fill the water tank, and also started a wash load. When we set off again, the rain had stopped.
When we got to Hazelhurst Junction, it was just gone 11 o'clock, so we decided to take an excursion up the Leek Arm of the canal. On the outbound journey the rain came back with a vengence. At times it was torrential. Near the end of the arm is an idyllic pool, and the entrance to Leek Tunnel, which the builders seem to have tried to make as small as possible. The pool photo is from the way back.
There's a very narrow section to the final bridge, after which there's a winding hole and some moorings. We turned and headed straight back. Now the rain stopped, and the sun even came out at times. In this direction, you see the tower of the former Leekbrook Asylum sticking up above the trees.
As we approached Hazelhurst Junction again, I got off to set the first lock. At this junction, the mainline goes down three locks, and then passes underneath the Leek Arm, which is on an aqueduct. Coming from Leek, the turn into the lock is pretty much doubling back on yourself.
As we did the locks it rained again for a little while. A short distance later is the aqueduct, which looks much more impressive from below than when you're crossing it.
We continued through Cheddleton, where there are two locks. At times the sun was out in force, but at Wood's Lock there was another sharp shower, which seemed odd because the sky ahead had blue patches.
We did one more lock which dropped us onto the River Churnet, and continued to Consall Forge. There were no other boats here, so we've taken the best mooring, between the weir and the bridge, right opposite the Black Lion pub.
Almost as soon as we arrived it chucked it down again. There is virtually no phone or internet signal here, so BT Wifi in the pub has come to the rescue.
14 miles, 12 locks. (133 miles, 76 locks)