As ther was no phone or internet signal at Consall Forge, we had to go to the Black Lion last night for wifi -- and ate there too. The food is good pub grub (we had pies and chips) and they have some interesting local beers and ciders too. Later in the evening, Nev from Percy dropped by to say hello, as he lives about 20 minutes walk away.
This morning we set off at about 8.30 to do the final bit of the canal to Froghall. The gauge at the final lock confirmed that we wouldn't fit through the tunnel, so when we got to the winding hole we turned and moored up, and had a walk round the tunnel to the basin and a very nice looking cafe.
One reason we'd aimed to be at Froghall today was that steam trains would be running. We walked down to the station and booked tickets; we got some of the last ones for the cream tea on board. When the train turned up, we found the dining car and were told where our table was.
The train stops at Consall Station, then goes to Leekbrook Junction where the engine switches to the other end, and then returns to Cheddleton station. There we got off and moved to the First Class carriage. The return journey is Consall and Froghall. Once back there we went up onto the bridge to watch the engine switching back to the front of the train for the next run.
We walked back to the boat and found that the guys with strimmers had been along cutting the grass on the towpath, and the side of the boat was absolutely covered with bits of grass.
Adrian brushed off the loose bits, but it now needs a proper wash.
Setting off again, we headed back down the very narrow canal, hearing the train go by as we went. By a fluke of timing, as we approached Consall station, where the platform is cantilevered out over the canal, the train was there. We were delighted to get such a great photo opportunity, even if the engine looks slightly odd, as it's the return journey when it's going backwards.
As always, click on a photo for a bigger version. After that excitement, we made our way back along the river section where the boat really loves the extra depth, and back onto the canal. We had to turn most of the locks on the way, even though we've seen several moving boats today. At Cheddleton, the flint mill looks rather nice.
At Hazelhurst Locks the bottom one was empty for us, and there was a boat coming down the middle one. At the top, a boat was approaching, so we could leave the gate open for them. By now the wind was getting up and it was a bit chilly. On the next stretch, a gust of wind blew my famous hat off, and I had to do a hard astern to go back and rescue it. It confirms that Tilley hats do indeed float. It's been washed, and is sitting on the engine boards drying out.
We've continued to just before Endom Basin, a place I remember mooring when we came here on Debdale in 2009. This evening, we researched shops for milk, and found that there's a Co-op very close. We walked to the bridge by the junction and took a footpath over a field to the main road. The Co-op is a decent size, and only ten minutes walk away.
11 miles, 9 locks. (144 miles, 85 locks)