Jam and Steam and nearly a Pub Crawl

It’s easy to lose track of the days and even weeks, but the Gin Festival reminded us that it was a bank holiday weekend, so we expected things to be busy, and they were. Setting off on a lovely morning, we’d hope to partake of a lunchtime beverage at the Black Lion at Consall, where we’d moored a few days ago.

Consall Forge StationConsall Forge Station

With two trains running in opposite directions all day, they had to wait for each other at Consall, and as we passed their steam engine was waiting for the train coming from Cheddleton.

Consall Forge Station

Immediately past the station the canal bends through a low bridge under the railway, then immediately back again under the hump-backed bridge giving access to the pub. It’s very narrow, and some how or other the helmsman or helmswoman managed to get Song & Dance  thoroughly wedged and stuck, even though we’d had no problem in the other direction. Managing to back out with a degree of sound and fury from the engine, we took the fenders up, and squeezed through without incident at the second attempt…

Black Lion, ConsallBlack Lion, Consall

… just in time to see the steam train finally depart. Sadly, all the moorings there were taken, so we continued to Cheddleton, and luckily finding a suitable place for lunch if not the rest of the day, we walked up to The Boat Inn. We’d left the car there yesterday, so thought we’d frequent their bar rather than the Gin-fest across the bridge; they were mobbed too, with live music, cheap gin in competition, and a BBQ.

Near the Holly Bush Inn

Thinking it might all be a bit noisy to stay the night right between The Star’s and the Station’s festivities we pottered on through Cheddleton locks and village, eventually finding a delightful spot just short of the Holly Bush Inn, where we’d been several, even many times before. With lovely evening weather most inappropriate for a bank holiday Satyrday, loads of grass, swings and roundabouts etc. that pub was really mobbed – even the grass overflow car park was overflowing. But a couple of hundred yards back along the canal, just around the corner, it was lovely and peaceful.

If a bit full! Mis-estimating our length by a foot or so, we only managed to squeeze in by noticing that the boat behind was (a) padlocked up and unoccupied, and (b) using piling clips to moor, so we pulled him back a few feet. Wonder if its crew will notice on their return…

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