Wednesday, June 25, 2014

One canal, two rivers, two days.

I didn’t post last night, we had guests in the evening.

Carol and Ellie, not seen them for nearly a year.IMG_0221

Meg had a good run around with Sealey.IMG_0222
Ellie brought us a lovely carrot cake, which we shared with tea and wine according to preference. They were with us a couple of hours, by which time it was a bit late for me to start writing.
Enjoy your summer cruise, you two, wherever you get to!

That was yesterday evening, during the day we’d shared the locks down to Shardlow with the group on the Sawley hire boat who’d also moored at Swarkestone the night before.

It was a good day, cruising gently down the Trent valley, with Weston, Aston and Shardlow Locks to descend. Not a lot to say about the day, so this is more of a photo-blog.

Preparing to leave Swarkestone.IMG_0168

This little robin chick was on the towpath. I hope he can fly, or he’s not going to last very long…

There’s a heavily wooded section as the canal approaches Weston on Trent and our first lock.

St. Mary the Virgin Church and Weston House sit on a rise to the west of the villageIMG_0180
The church is mainly 13th century, the house dates from 1865 and used to be the rectory. With seven bedrooms I guess Victorian clergymen were expected to have large families!

Weston Lock


Dodging the charity trip boat Serenade, out of Loughborough on an extended voyageIMG_0188

Weston Grange, alongside Bridge 7, is a fine Georgian building.

Weston was established as a village by charter by King Ethelred the Unready in 1009. A ferry crossed the River Trent just south-east of the village at that time, making it an important destination for north-south travellers.

The locks get shallower as the valley gradient lessens. Stenson Lock is 12’4”, Swarkestone is 10’11” as is Weston, then Aston is nearly 3’ less and Shardlow Lock is a diminutive 4’5”.

Aston Lock, good timing, two boats leave as we arrive. IMG_0195

Our locking companions for the day.IMG_0196
L-R, Luke, Lisa, Vanessa and Tom.

We parted company below Shardlow Lock, we filled with water and pushed on to moor above Derwent Mouth Lock, they stopped in the village for their last night aboard.

Black Swan leaving Shardlow LockIMG_0204

Crossing the wide below the Clock Warehouse

Now a pub, the Clock Warehouse was one of several large warehouses in this inland port.
The clock’s stopped, though…

As I said, we moored out of the village above the last lock before the river, where Carol, Ellie and little Sealey came to see us.
A good day all round, a pleasant trip and good company.

Today we were just preparing to move out when a boat arrived out of Shardlow so we teamed up with them as they were also heading onto the Soar.

Below Derwent Mouth Lock, across the wide expanse of Derwent Mouth.IMG_0223
The un-navigable Derwent comes in from the north (left), the Trent comes in from the south and continues eastward towards Nottingham.

Under the M1, the orange buoys beyond the bridge mark the weir which takes the river around Sawley Cut
Yes, the chap on the boat in the middle of the picture is standing on the roof!

Sawley Locks, duplicated and push-button operated.IMG_0230
We’re dropping down on the right as another pair of boats are coming up on the left.
While we were setting ours up I spotted the other two coming upstream so emptied and opened the chamber for them. They, not surprisingly, thought I was the lock-keeper when I closed the gates behind them, offering me the ropes to drop around bollards. I had to explain politely that I was leaving them to do the rest of the work themselves…

Leaving Sawley Locks…

…and out onto the riverIMG_0234
It’s great to be able to wind her up and blow the cobwebs out of the exhaust.

The four-way junction at Trent Lock is just about a mile below Sawley. Here, Cranfleet Cut takes the Trent Navigation straight on, bypassing another large weir, the Erewash Canal starts it’s ascent up to Langley Mill under the bridge on the left, and the Soar joins the Trent a bit up on the right, just above Thrumpton Weir.

Trent Lock JunctionIMG_0236

Turning right onto the Soar, Thrumpton Weir, crossed by the railway, ahead.IMG_0238

Through Redhill Flood Lock, Redhill Marina through the bridge arch.IMG_0243

Not sure what’s going on here; several identical cruisers, all up on blocks. There’s another four or five out of shot to the left. They’re all named for composers, we have Verdi, Strauss, Ravel, Bach and Bizet, which implies they’re a hire fleet. But  can’t find any mention of them on the marina website.

The cooling towers of Ratcliffe Power Station loom over the area, one of a dozen large facilities alongside the Trent, giving it the nickname “Megawatt Valley”. Abundant cooling water from the river and coal supplies from the Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire coalfields made the valley an ideal location for power generation. At one time 25% of the UK’s power needs were supplied from here.

Ratcliffe Lock is the first “proper” lock, now going uphill as we climb the Soar Valley to the other side of Leicester.

Ratcliffe Lock, the old, infilled chamber in the foreground.IMG_0249
Flood protection measures have adjusted the river levels along here, making the earlier locks either too deep or too shallow. Or, in the case of Kegworth Flood Lock, superfluous in normal conditions.

Hitch-hiking damsel fly near Kegworth.

Kegworth Deep Lock is another new lock replacing the shallower chamber filled in alongside.

Kegworth Deep LockIMG_0261

It’s too deep allow control of boats from the lockside bollards, so slip-ropes are fixed in channels in the lock walls which the boat ropes can be taken around. These are common on Trent locks.

Above the lock there’s a good mooring spot opposite fine house where the river course leaves the lock cut.IMG_0266

But you need to be a bit deaf…
It’s on the landing flight path for East Midlands Airport!

Having learnt our lesson by mooring here once, we pushed on another mile or so.

Moored between Kegworth and ZouchIMG_0273

Two anglers, cormorant drying his wings, heron looking hopeful.IMG_0272
We’ve had a really enjoyable two days, one way or another.

Hi Peter, thanks for the kind comment, welcome aboard!

Locks 7, miles 13 (both days)

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