Tuesday, August 28, 2012

From the Soar to the Trent

We had a later start today, only a short cruise to take us to Trent junction and Cranfleet Cut. Where we’d moored there’s often wood knocking about, so I got a couple of good logs on the roof to dry out ready for winter.

Several boats had headed past us going in the same direction, so we waited for the queue at Kegworth Deep Lock to clear before setting off. The lock lives up to it’s name, and takes some time to fill.

We used to moor about a mile further on, nearer the lock, but after a couple of interrupted nights we’ve started mooring at Devil’s Elbow instead.

Here’s why….SAM_2531SAM_2532
It was right under the approach path for East Midlands Airport! Great for plane spotters, not so great for a good nights sleep.

We timed it right, arriving at Kegworth Deep just as a boat was leaving, then having another arrive at the bottom as we were dropping down.

Swapping at Kegworth LockSAM_2537 Kegworth Deep
This lock is around 12 feet, the deepest on this section. As part of flood alleviation work the level of the river below was lowered, entailing a deeper lock. The original chamber lies alongside, now filled in. Conversely, the second Kegworth lock just a quarter mile downstream is now very shallow, in fact it’s only used during winter and unusually high flows in the summer.

Kegworth Deep Lock, with the spire of Kegworth church visible over the treesSAM_2538 kegworth Deep

A sharp bend and duck under Kegworth Road Bridge takes you through Kegworth Shallow, open at both ends today.

Kegworth Shallow LockSAM_2540 Kegworth Shallow

It’s about half an hour to the last “proper” lock on the Soar, at Ratcliffe. The large power station near the junction starts to appear through gaps in the trees, it’s eight cooling towers often producing a micro-climate in the area.

Racliffe Power StationSAM_2545
This coal-fired plant has the capacity to produce up to 2,000 MW of electricity, enough for 2,000,000 homes they reckon.

Ratcliffe Lock was empty when we arrived but a cruiser had also just turned up at the bottom so I opened the lower gates and we brought them up first. They were returning from a truncated trip after running aground on one of the many backwaters. The rudder was damaged and judging by the sound of the motor there was something amiss with the drive train, too. Give me an over-engineered steel narrowboat any time…

Leaving Ratcliffe LockSAM_2548 Ratcliffe Lock
This is another replacement chamber, the original can be seen to the left.

Redhill Marina offers full boat services from a range of businesses on site. Boatbuilding, painting, cover making and a slipway make it a useful spot. And there’s a good café.

Redhill MarinaSAM_2550 Redhill Marina

Redhill Flood Lock operates under the same principal as those at Pillings and Kegworth; normally open when the river is at Summer levels.

Redhill Flood LockSAM_2551 Redhill Marina

Redhill is named for the red hill, a ridge of sandstone and shale wedged in the angle between the Soar and the Trent.

The Red HillSAM_2553 Redhill
Around the corner and the view opens up, the flood plain of both rivers a huge expanse of flat land off to the left. Passing Thrumpton Weir on the right we’re going upstream on the Trent for a couple of hundred yards, before turning right onto Cranfleet Cut.

Wide open spaces across the junctionpano

The large Thrumpton Weir takes the combined waters of the Trent and Soar around to the south of Cranfleet Cut, rejoining below Cranfleet Lock.

Thrumpton WeirSAM_2556 Plumpton Weir

The junction is actually a cross-roads. Straight on is the entrance to the Erewash Canal, left is Sawley, Shardlow and the Trent and Mersey Canal. A right turn takes you onto Cranfleet Cut, the Trent and points north.

That’ll be us, then…SAM_2560 That's us
We moored just around the corner, below the flood gates.

We’ve a longer day tomorrow, down to Beeston, around Nottingham, then back onto the river aiming for mooring at Holme Lock.

SAM_2565We’re now on the last book of our journey north. We’ve used three others between Reading and here….

Final chapter…

Locks 2,  miles 5

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