Friday, October 21, 2011

Two Days to Sawley

Sorry, didn’t get to post yesterday, we had a visitor in the evening. But more about that later.
We had a bit of a frost on Wednesday night, but once again it led to a fine, sunny Thursday. We toddled the few hundred yards to Stenson Lock to meet a boat coming up, and were joined by NB Water Spirit to drop down.

Following NB Water Spirit into Stenson Lock
Z..SAM_0001 Water Spirit at Stenson
It’s about 3½ miles to the next lock at Swarkestone, through farmland with very few settlements. The canal runs along the edge of the river flood plain, and the villages stand higher up the valley sides.

Heading to Swarkestone
Z..SAM_0005 Near Swarkestone
At Swarkestone we caught up with a Canaltime boat, and, as we weren’t going further than Weston, we hung back and let NB Water Spirit join them in the lock first.

NBs Water Spirit and Buzz Top in Swarkestone Lock
Z..SAM_0017 Water Spirit and Top Buzz, Swarkestone.
It was a fine day but the wind was cold. Mags’ ears were getting chilled as she waited for the lock.

Cold Lugs
The Swarkestone Boat Club Moorings are in the short arm that is the remains of the Derby Canal. There’s an active restoration campaign going on for this canal, spearheaded by The Derby and Sandiacre Canal Society and Trust. Their objective is “To restore the canal as near to it’s original line as possible”. A fair bit of the original route is still viable, but some sections of new channel will be needed. When reopened the 12½ mile navigation will connect to the Erewash Canal at Sandiacre, and a branch using the River Derwent will take boats up into Derby. Sounds good to me.

Derby Canal at Swarkestone Junction
Z..SAM_0021 Derby Canal
Another hour of gentle cruising saw us arrive and moor up above Weston Lock.

Dappled sunlight below Cliff Wood

Clear Skies

Weston Church stands in isolation above the village

Moored above Weston Lock

Our visitor, Carol,  arrived for tea, shepherd’s pie and apple crumble.

Good friend Carol
Z..SAM_0001 (2) Carol And Sealy

We haven’t seen her for quite a few months, so it was good to catch up. Her dog, Sealy, likes to make herself at home….

 Double decker dog sleeping. Sealy on Mag’s knee, Meg under her chair.
Z..SAM_0003 (2) Double Decker Dogs

It was getting on when Carol left for home, too late to write and post.

This morning we had a steady start after a milder night. Overcast skies and a stronger wind indicated a change in the weather.
Meg and I took a walk around to have a closer look at Weston Church before we got away. St. Mary The Virgin is mainly a 13c building, with later additions.

Weston Church, closer viewZ..SAM_0004 Weston Church

Looking over the Trent Valley from the churchyard.
Z..SAM_0007 Weston Church

We dropped back down into the village, which seems to be mainly of modern housing. Maybe we missed the best bits. 
We headed down the short distance to Weston Lock and joined a Shakespeare Line hire boat. We ended up sharing all three locks down to Shardlow, where they pulled over to have a look around the village as we toddled on to Derwent Mouth.

Sharing Aston Lock with NB Portia
Z..SAM_0015 Aston Lock

They were a party of Americans, experienced canal boaters, and a joy to work the locks with.

NB Portia’s crew
Z..SAM_0017 Gene. Jane, Larry and Meg from US
L-R, Gene, Jane, Larry and Meg (I hope I got that right!)

Jane and Gene are thinking about basing a narrowboat in the UK for holidays, rather than hiring. They had a look around Seyella, and we had a good chat about costs and equipment.

Heading through ShardlowZ..SAM_0020

We arrived at Derwent Mouth Lock just as two boats were leaving, so they left the gates open for us. There was another waiting to come up, so I was ordered back on board while they emptied the lock and opened the gates for us. Thanks, chaps.

Upper gates of Derwent Mouth Lock. I don’t often see them from inside the lock….
Z..SAM_0025 Derwent Mouth

Motoring out onto the wide waters of the Trent, the new bridge crossing the river is visible on the right.

New footbridge.
Z..SAM_0028 New Horse Bridge

It’s not open yet, there’s still some work to do either end, but this will remake the link from Nottinghamshire to Leicestershire. The county boundary follows the river here. The old bridge, known as Long Horse Bridge, was demolished in 2003 after being found unsafe.
Through the floodgates on Sawley cut and we were looking for a mooring opposite the marina. There was a gap in front of another boat with someone on the roof cleaning the paintwork. It looked familiar, because it was. It was Carol on NB Corbiere, waiting for us.

Carol Corbiere cabin cleaning.Z..SAM_0034 Corbiere

Corbiere looks smart, with newish paintwork on the cabin sides, and new blacking on the hull.

She’s not bad looking for a 30+ year old boat. Carol’s been doing some work inside, too. The cabin is now lighter and brighter, with cream walls, new lower panelling and new curtains. Smart.

We’ll maybe stay here tomorrow…. or maybe not. We’ll see.

Locks 4, miles 5

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