As Covid-19 lockdown measures eased, we booked ourselves a little holiday, a long weekend in Staffordshire at Froghall Wharf at the end of the Caldon Canal, near the southern edge of the Peak District.
Out for an exploratory stroll, this is Froghall Tunnel. We’ve walked over the top, but when we were here in a boat, the tunnel was too low for our boat (as it is for most boats).On the far side of the tunnelHetty at Hetty’s tea roomI think we frequented Hetty’s, for one reason or another, every day. Social distancing meant it was a bit slow, but some nice food.The first lock of the Uttoxeter Canal, from the driveway of the cottagesOut for a walk along the Manifold Way from WaterhousesThe far point of today’s walk, ready to turn around.Further up the Caldon Canal is Consallforge, an interesting place to get to by car.Despite Lucy having checked beforehand that they were open and doing food, that turned out to be a ham roll.A shame as it would have been a good spot for dinner, but we went elsewhere.Brindley during a run along the Manifold WayHazlehurst Aqueduct, where the Leek Branch of the Caldon Canal crosses over the main lineLucy and dogs at the junction bridgeThe Leek Branch heads to the right, the main line descends through three locks to go under the aqueductHetty’s tea room at Froghall WharfThe route of one of the inclined tramways that brought limestone down to the wharfAt the top of one of the tramwaysFrom the very, very end of the Caldon CanalLime kilns where the limestone was cookedThe basin below the first lock on the Uttoxeter Canal. For the moment, this is as far as the canal goes, but the enthusiasts hope one day to restore the canal to a new terminus at Uttoxeter – though it’s more akin to building a brand new canal than restoration.The row of holiday cottagesFrom the north end of the Manifold Way, the six of us walked south for a while, before Lucy and the cavaliers turned back to the car, while Brindley and I ran on.Brindley in running harness getting ready for actionCrossing the river while it has water in it.Crossing one of the many bridges along the old railway lineHere the railway dived into a tunnel which is where we’re about to go. The route is shared with a minor road for a while, but there were no cars outRunning along the road that now sits on the route of the old railwayThe river, now with no waterA cave high above the river as we continue south to our arranged meeting spot with Lucy and the other dogs, meaning that Brindley and Stephen had completed the Manifold Way over this long weekend, either walking or running.
Cheesecakes and Staffordshire oatcakes, courtesy of Hetty’s
Another walk along the Caldon Canal, complete with mileposts to Uttoxeter – maybe one day!
On Lucy’s birthday, we booked the barbecue shelter at the cottages for a little meal, keeping the dogs under control – we had a crate for them when we were eating.
And so ended a delightful little holiday. We were fortunate with the weather, so that when we ate out, we were able to do so outside. It would be good to be able to go when Covid-19 isn’t at the forefront of everyone’s minds, and when places are reliably open, but in the meantime it was just great to get away and have a delightful change of scene.