At around ten this morning a Canaltime boat arrived at the top of Swarkestone Lock to come down, we were about ready to go so took advantage of the empty lock they left to get away.
Our friend Carol used to live at the lengthman’s house just along from the lock. That was her Dad’s job for British Waterways. It’s now in private hands, but the workshop and store alongside are still used by C&RT.
When the Trent and Mersey Canal was constructed in the 1770’s, the Trent was still a viable navigation, upstream as far as Burton upon Trent. Swarkestone village lies on the north bank of the river and had some wharfs and warehouses relating to the river traffic, so a short branch, through four locks, connected the river near the village to the canal. There’s no trace of the branch now, but it may have left the canal a couple of hundreds yards above the buildings.
The last of the wide locks is also the deepest. At 12½ feet it holds a substantial amount of water, so takes a while to fill and empty. There was a boat coming down when we arrived, and by the time we were in another boat had turned up, so joined us on the way up.
In the summer the cafe alongside is a popular spot to watch boats going up and down. It’s also popular with the local swans….
We pulled in on the moorings above the lock, opposite Stenson Marina. We’ll stay put tomorrow, the forecast is looking pretty grim. On Friday we’ll cruise the 1½ miles to Mercia Marina, where we’ll be staying for the weekend.
Locks 2, miles 3¼