Our plan for Tuesday was to get to Froghall which is at the end of the Caldon canal and we left Cheddleton about 10 in the morning.  Shortly after leaving we went down Wood’s lock,

through a wooden lift bridge,

and then down Oakmeadowford lock.

After Oakmeadowford lock we joined the River Churnet for about a mile and consequently we were back on wider waters.  This warning sign is displayed at the lock but fortunately for us the river wasn’t in flood.

Just before we turned back onto the canal we passed these old lime kilns.  We had passed some others earlier but they were hidden behind trees.  This area is known for its limestone hence the number of lime kilns.

At Consall we rejoined the canal as the river went off to the right under the footbridge.

The canal got narrow again especially after Consall station which has the platform and waiting room overhanging the canal as shown at the top of the page.  We drove into Flint Mill lock, the last on the canal…

… and noticed this sign.  

In two miles, at the end of the canal, is Froghall tunnel which is low and narrow in the middle and thus very few craft can get through so have to turn at the entrance.  The sign seemed to indicate that craft over 65 feet had to turn before the lock we had gone into rather than two miles further on at the tunnel entrance.  It was a bit worrying as we had believed that boats up to 70 foot could turn at the tunnel.  I rang the CRT and they confirmed that we were too long – they explained that due to a build up of silt the maximum length had been reduced to 65 foot.  Anyway, we reversed out of the lock and turned round and moored up for lunch.
After lunch we walked the two miles to the end.   We went past the lock we had had to reverse out of and at the exit was this template to see whether or not the boat profile is OK for the tunnel.

This bridge was built when the railway was built and was made out of railway lines.  The bridge had to be built as the towpath was moved to the other side as the railway was being built so close to the canal.

We came across these mini stanking planks – they are used to stank a small overflow weir at the side of the canal.

We both found this bridge rather attractive.

The canal was narrow again towards the end.

This is Froghall tunnel – the gauge shows that it gets narrower and lower further in to the tunnel.

This is practically the end.  Straight ahead is the Caldon canal which goes into Froghall basin.  To the right is the start of the Uttoxeter canal which went 13 miles south to Uttoxeter but is now disused apart from the first lock and a new basin.  The Caldon canal was opened in 1779 and its main purpose was to transport limestone which was quarried at Caldon and taken by tram ways to Froghall to be loaded onto the narrowboats.

The basin had one boat in it which obviously managed to get through the tunnel – not many boats are low enough these days but this one is an old freight boat..

In the evening we had roast chicken that had been in the slow cooker all day – a great way to do a roast as the meat is really moist.  I always think a roast meal is far more enjoyable when someone else has cooked it – thanks Karen!

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