Wednesday, May 06, 2015

A wet and windy couple of days, but the socialising makes up for it!

The wind and blustery showers made cruising less than pleasant these last two days, especially on the exposed sections.

Branston Lock, I had trouble getting the boat off the lock landing here!IMG_4570

An hour saw us at Shobnall, reversing into the basin for diesel.IMG_4572
Thankfully the winding hole is sheltered, else turning and reversing into that narrow bridge hole would have been interesting…

Travelling through the built up area around Burton wasn’t too bad, the buildings affording some shelter from the wind, but they didn’t keep the rain off!

Moorhen chicksIMG_4574
That’s almost the full set of common chicks. Mallards, goslings and moorhens. Just need some cygnets now. I don’t think it’ll be long, there’s lots of “sitting” swans around.

A swan unusually sharing living space with geese and ducksIMG_4571

Over the River Dove

We’d arranged to meet up with Terry and Pam, NB The Rooster’s Rest, near Bridge 25 and they were waiting for us as we arrived.IMG_4582

We had a good afternoon, catching up with news, and were joined by Nigel and Glen, Ami Bovard, who also arrived mid-afternoon.

Glen with Meg and their lovely young lab, TallyIMG_4583

Tea and cakes were the staple in the afternoon, but later Pam and Terry joined us again for something a little more alcoholic… A good night! That’s why I didn’t get to publish a post.

The wind was still with us this morning as we left at just after 9 o’clock.

Terry looks perished…

…and Pam is typically laughing!

Rain was due, but not until late morning. So we hoped to get through Stenson Lock at least before it arrived.

Into Willington, quiet now the Bank Holiday is overIMG_4587

I had a short shouted conversation with Bruce on Sanity Again, moored outside Mercia Marina and wisely choosing to stay put today. They’ll be off on their travels tomorrow.

We finished with the narrow locks yesterday in Burton; from there to the Trent it’s all broad canal, six locks able to take two narrowboats side by side. Stenson is the first, deepest and slowest of the lot, so I was pleased to see a boat pull off the Willington visitor moorings ahead of us. Lock partners!
It’s funny how your attitude changes with context. If it had been a narrow lock ahead and a boat had pulled out in front of us I’d have been a bit miffed!

The rain started in earnest, early and driven by a strong wind, long before we got to Stenson Lock. Above the lock our would-be locking companions decided they’d had enough and pulled in. Bugger!IMG_4588

But we’re made of sterner stuff, and toddled around the corner to the lock to find it full and with a top gate left open ready for us. So passage down was fairly quick, but also pretty wet.

Showers came and went as we cruised on to Swarkestone, where we’d decided to make a decision about proceeding.

Swarkestone lengthman’s cottage…IMG_4591

…and Swarkeston Lock, with the junction with the currently closed Derby Canal on the left.
Our friend Carol’s dad, sadly now no longer with us, used to be lengthsman here.

Our arrival coincided with a drier spell, so we elected to drop down the lock.

Filling Swarkestone Lock.IMG_4593
You wouldn’t want to do it this fast if you were coming up!
The tree alongside indicates how windy it was.

After the lock there’s just less than three miles to the next at Weston, where we’d decided to pack it in. It rained most of the way there, and was still raining when we moored at around one o’clock.

Above Weston Lock, that’ll do for today. Got to save something for tomorrow…IMG_4594 

More socialising this evening, Carol (who I mentioned earlier) and Ellie are coming to see us. Wee-hee!

Locks 2, miles 9¼

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