Sunday, October 02, 2005
The weather forecast was good so we decided to walk along another section of the Cauldon Canal. Our previous walk had taken us along the section from Cheddleton to Deep Hayes Country Park, past the Flint Mill and the sub-aqua diving boreholes at the Wallgrange walk-in and café. This time we decided to walk from the country park to where the canal branches into two and forms the Leek arm (built in 1817 to supply the town with coal) and the continuation of the main canal to Froghall (it used to go all the way to Uttoxeter.) There were still quite a number of boats traveling slowly along the canal, one already stocked up with logs of wood in readiness for the autumn weather. We passed the Hollybush Inn where a group of ramblers had congregated to have their mid-morning break. Just around the corner, beyond the little animal farm at the back of the pub, was the Hazelhurst aqueduct which carries the Leek Arm over the main Canal. We clambered up the steps to the top of the aqueduct and turned left to walk along the arm section to the Hazelhurst locks and back along the main canal to the Hollybush, where we consumed cheese sandwiches by an open log fire before going back to the aqueduct and this time turning right and walking back towards the Leek Tunnel. By this time the sun was very warm and the water, undisturbed by any passing traffic, was crystal clear and the trees and bushes were reflected in its mirror stillness, disturbed only by a couple of Canada geese and a water rail or two. Having reached the Leek tunnel and viewed it from either side we wandered back and diverted towards the walk-in café for refreshment. Gathered in the car park were quite a large group of people climbing into diving suits and donning oxygen tanks in readiness for their descent into the boreholes and presumably the caves below. I think that is something I couldn’t do. After a large glass of apple juice we were ready to walk the short distance back, along the main canal, to the country park car park and to wend our way home.