We were going to move on yesterday, but decided not to bother as it was dull and cool. There was plenty of boat traffic about, though. Instead I went foraging for wood and now we’ve a few more logs on the roof.
With the improvement in the weather we decided to push on today. We’ve also done several loads of washing since the last water tank top-up, so must have been getting low.
It was only 15 minutes into Willington, and I was pleased to see the facilities wharf vacant. There’s only room for one boat on there, and with the village moorings being so popular there’s not much space anywhere else to wait. With the blustery wind coming from astern today was not a day to hang about in the middle of the canal!
A boat was just coming around the corner towards us, angling in towards the wharf. I thought “Oh no, that’s blown it”, but a chap jumped off and dropped a bag of rubbish in the skip before jumping back on again.
It was then that I realised it was James and Doug on NB Chance. I knew from their blog posts they were heading this way but didn’t expect to see them quite so soon. Last I read they were still in Nottingham, but it seems they’ve travelled from there to Willington in a day and a half. Makes our piddling 3 mile days look a bit insignificant…. We will meet up for a chat at some point, I promise.
James and Doug head off into the distance at Willington. The boat looks fine, guys.
Topping up the tanks at Willington
Leaving the services we headed off to Findern where the canal does an almost 90° turn to head SE. It was a relief not to have the cold wind blowing from the stern. I had to put a jacket, woolly hat and gloves on to keep it out. Still in shorts though. I try to stick it out till the clocks go back.
It was only a temporary reprieve, though. The wind started to veer to a north-westerly so it was still blowing down the canal, but it’s dropped a bit now.
Not far around the corner is Stenson Marina, and we moored opposite.
Stenson Marina and our stop for tonight.
Just down from us is the first broad lock heading towards the Trent. It’s also the deepest, at around 12 feet.
The navigation was built to broad (barge) width from Shardlow up to Horninglow in Burton on Trent to compete with the then navigable Trent.
The Burton Boat Company had a vested interest in keeping traffic on the Trent, with wharves and warehouses at Bond End on the riverside. They approached Brindley to convince him to terminate the eastward end of the Trent and Mersey Canal at Burton, onward traffic to Nottingham and points east would then use the river. Brindley’s views on the unreliability of river navigations caused him to refuse the request, so the canal was built parallel to the river.
The Bond End Canal at Shobnall was built in 1770 to link the river and canal, but the canal company refused a connection on the grounds of water loss to the lower level of the river. Cargoes had to be transhipped from boat to boat across “Shobnall Bar”.
It took a further 24 years of discussion and argument before the bar was replaced by a lock, allowing through traffic.
Not sure what we’re doing tomorrow, we’ll see what the weather gets up to….
Thanks for the comments regarding the formatting problem. I've edited this post in the HTML window to correct the spacing, but it's messy, so it looks like I'll have to investigate this Windows Live Writer thingy.
Locks 0, miles 3