Friday, September 20, 2019

Now then, where were we?

Ah yes, we left Loughborough bound for Pillings Lock Marina a week ago, Friday 13th. Nothing bad happened on this potentially fateful day, and we pulled onto our allocated berth soon after lunchtime.

Beautiful sunshine as we left Loughborough


We were only there for the weekend, but with a hire car we crammed in several family visits including a big get-together where 17 of us took over a room at The Griffin Inn, Swithland.
An enjoyable few days, then we were away, heading downstream back towards Loughborough, on the Monday.

Back out of our berth at Pillings Lock


The moorhens, at least, enjoy the floating rafts of Pennywort. 

Not sure if they’re eating the weed or mooching in it for insects.

We didn’t go so far, stopping the night near Millers Bridge then moving on to moor around the corner from Chain Bridge in Loughborough on Tuesday.

Mist rising off the water at Millers Bridge first thing on Tuesday morning.

Although I’d topped up the cupboards while we had the car, I had another trip to make to Tesco’s as we’d planned a cruise down the Trent on Thursday with my sisters Sue and Kay and their respective partners.

So Wednesday we set off downstream again, out of Loughborough for the last time this trip.

We’d arranged to meet the guests at Trent Lock so went further than we’d normally do, mooring up a quarter mile above Ratcliffe Lock.

Bishops Meadow Lock, on the northern edge of the town

Back on the river again.


A cheery wave from the very skinny chap and his dog at Normanton.

Zouch Lock filling.

We shared Zouch Lock but were on our own again at the deep Kegworth New Lock. At least I could leave the bottom gates open for a couple of cruisers going up though.

Barge Albert that we saw at Kegworth New Lock heading downstream a week ago.

Yesterday we set off under cloudless blue skies, down Ratcliffe Lock, past Redhill Marina and out onto Trent waters at the junction.

Redhill Marina


Swan grooming parlour…




I was pleased to see a gap on the mooring pontoon near the Trent Lock Inn, so we pulled on there and I did some last preparation for a buffet lunch to pick at we cruised up to Beeston and back.

It wasn’t until a quarter past twelve that we’d got the temporary crew on board and sorted out, and we were able to set off again.


Cranfleet Lock, with Trevor (left) Paul doing the work.

A fine steam launch heading upstream.


Meg dozing…

…and Trevor and Sue on the tiller.


It was a fine day for a river cruise, everyone enjoyed themselves and The Trent was at it’s picturesque best.

We caught up with a boat at Cranfleet Lock so were able to share that, and once again dropped lucky with a space on the pontoon at Trent Lock.

Trev, Sue and Kay, with me lurking in the background.

It was around half-four we were on our own again, so decided to stay put for the rest of the day.

Beautiful sunset


We had a lie-in this morning, it was a long day yesterday, at least by our standards! We didn’t have far to go anyway, just up onto Sawley Cut, stopping for water and rubbish disposal on the backwater on the way.

Another fine morning as we reverse out from the mooring pontoon.

Heading up the backwater at Sawley to the services.

Water topped up and rubbish dealt with we turned around and pulled out onto the main channel, then turned again and into Sawley Lock 2, invitingly open for us with a lockie in attendance.

Out of the lock we cruised another 10 minutes past the permanent CRT moorings on the towpath side and the Derby Motor Boat Club opposite, mooring opposite the entrance to Sawley Marina at just after mid-day.

Leaving Sawley Locks behind.


That’s it for the pottering about, now we’ll be heading decisively (but steadily) up and over the Trent and Mersey to Middlewich, then across to Hurleston Junction to get up onto the Llangollen Canal before the major stoppage at Hurleston Locks starting 4th November.

Over the last week - Locks 8, miles 27.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Up to town

We’ve had good weather these last couple of days, so I continued with work on the boat roof, tidying up any paint damage ready for repainting. The first three panels are now sorted out, but I’ll only be able to repaint two at once, I’ve got the two top boxes and the coal pallet to move along as I go. The bike, John Sage, is now back on the rack behind the tiller.

We woke up to sunshine this morning, but by ten o’clock grey clouds had rolled in and brought a short, light shower. So we waited till it brightened up again before setting off.

Leaving our out-of-the-way mooring near Kegworth.

Twenty minutes after leaving we were waiting below Zouch Lock for a boat to descend.
This was the first of just three today.

Zouch Lock done we motored along the lock cut, rejoining the river just above Zouch Bridge, alongside the weirs.


The Elephant Bush is looking a bit shaggy at this end of the season…

St. James’, Normanton on Soar. 

A few years ago a programme of spraying almost cleared the Floating Pennywort that plagues the river. But it’s back with a vengeance this year, lining the banks and extending out across the stream. Floating Pennywort is a non-native invasive species, rapidly growing and a threat to native plants and animals.

We left the river again just down from Bishop’s Meadow Lock on the outskirts of Loughborough. A CRT team were doing some maintenance on the lockside and penned us up.
We put a splash of water in the tank from the very slow tap just above the lock, then carried on into town, turning left at Chain Bridge and pulling in a couple of hundred yards up.

Chain Bridge on the left.
That heavy-looking cloud held onto it’s load before it drifted away, luckily!

We’ll be here for two nights, then we’re heading into Pillings Lock Marina for the weekend. We’ve a family gathering locally on Sunday.

Locks 3, miles 5

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Different waters…

For the last several weeks we’ve been cruising the waters of, or closely associated with, the River Trent. but yesterday, Saturday, we came off the Trent and onto the Soar.

Sawley Locks, a boat to share with and a lockie to push the buttons.
A good start to the day.

A few boats about on the river.


We turned onto the River Soar in front of the large Thrumpton Weir.
Here the Soar mingles with the Trent to run around Cranfleet Cut and lock.

Redhill Flood Lock with Redhill Marina beyond the bridge.
The lock, as the name implies, is closed during flooding. There are another two flood locks, at Kegworth and just this side of Barrow Upon Soar.

We had just two Soar locks to deal with, the first just up from Redhill, Ratcliffe Lock.

The second was Kegworth Deep Lock, or Kegworth New Lock.

And deep it is, 10½ feet deep.

Both Ratcliffe and Kegworth New Locks were rebuilt during flood defence work in the 1980s, the old chambers, now filled in, lie alongside.

As the lock filled we had a couple of boats arrive to go down. A small cruiser, and a converted Dutch barge, Albert, originally launched in 1921.

A mile and a quarter we pulled in on a pleasant open spot we’ve used before.

The towpath directly above Kegworth Lock is tempting, but can be a little noisy…

Today has been fine, sunny and dry. Cotton-wool clouds drifting by on a gentle breeze.
A good opportunity to sort out some rusty blebs on the roof under where the anchor and warp are kept, and several others caused by chips and knocks.

There were a few more than I’d first thought, enough to make it worthwhile painting the whole panel. But for the time being I applied rust killer and a couple of coats of deck paint where required.
I need to get some more paint, then I’ll sand the surface, mask off the grey borders, and use a roller to recoat it.

Rain tomorrow so we’ll be staying put. Then into Loughborough on Tuesday I reckon.

Locks 3, miles 5¾ 

Friday, September 06, 2019

Hellos, goodbyes and back to Sawley

Liberty Belle caught up with us on Tuesday afternoon; the trip from Newark to here at Derwent Mouth Lock we’d taken six days they’d done in two!

But they were mob-handed, Dave and Barbara had daughter Christine, her husband Bob and the two lads Tom and Tyler aboard visiting from their home in Canada.

They had the afternoon with us, but moved up into Shardlow later to moor and eat in one of the pubs. Trying to cook for six is on a narrowboat is bad enough, but the washing up is a nightmare! This will be the last time we’ll see Dave and Barbara, afloat at any rate. Liberty Belle goes up for sale when they get back to Shobnall Marina. After twenty-some years they’ve decided to hang up their windlasses.

A nicer couple you couldn’t wish to meet.

We pottered about on Wednesday, odd jobs to be done, then yesterday went up into Shardlow, turned around below the Clock Warehouse, filled with water and returned to Sawley Cut.

The Clock Warehouse, with the clock seemingly stuck at twenty to ten…

…and the Shardlow Heritage Centre housed in one of the old warehouses.

Back down Derwent Mouth Lock onto the Trent.

It’s going to be a good year for conkers!



Off the river again and onto Sawley Cut, with spire of All Saints, Sawley, rising above the trees.

We pulled in opposite the marina for the next couple of days.

Today’s forecast was right, cool, breezy and showery. Better tomorrow so we’ll shove off downriver and then up onto The Soar a ways.

Locks 1, miles 2½