Sunday, October 31, 2010

An early start….

Unintentionally! Come on, own up. Who else forgot to put their clocks back and were up at half past six this morning?
It wasn’t until nine that I realised!

Oh, Happy Hallowe'en!
Black Bats

It was a bit of a grey day as we pulled out of Cranfleet Cut and turned onto the river proper. We had an interesting few minutes heading up to Sawley. The local sailing club was out in force, tacking back and forth against the wind.

Lee Ho!
We had to time it right to cross their courses as they moved across the river, to be clear of the next port tack.
Three times we slowed right down, then had to wind it on to get through the gap.

We made a fleeting visit to the services on the backwater alongside Sawley Locks, then swung around, back under the railway bridge into the lock.
Carol was there waiting for us.

Sawley Lock
This is the last one we’ll share for a while.

Coming out on the river again after Sawley cut we encountered more small craft, this time a canoe race of some sort.

Giving it some welly.
They had to portage their boats around the large Sawley Weir.
We waved goodbye to Carol and Sealy at Derwent Mouth, as she stayed on the river up to Shardlow Marina and we carried straight on onto the Trent and Mersey Canal.

Bye, Carol
We dropped lucky with the locks heading up through and past Shardlow. A boat had just set up Derwent Mouth Lock as we arrived, so we joined them. Then Shardlow Lock was empty ready, although we were solo from this point on as our locking partners had stopped for a pint.
Both Aston and Weston Locks were empty, invitingly with the bottom gates open as well. Both of these locks have very heavy bottom gates, and I think the last boat down (a Canaltime heading back to Sawley at the end of their hols) had had enough. Still, it helped us out a bit.

Approaching Weston Lock, gates open invitingly.
We pulled over for the night just above the lock. It’s a pleasant spot here, far enough away from civilisation to avoid trick or treaters!
Trick O' Treater

We’ve had a very enjoyable few days with Carol. She’s good company, always cheerful. And I always enjoy a trip on the river. Any river.

Although it’s been dull all day the rain held off. Till now. It’s chucking it down at the moment.

Just picked up an article on the “This is Leicestershire” news website. Although it’s a tragedy that Mr Dillon lost his life in the canal, I’m pleased to see that the Safety Elves have not had it all their own way in this case. There’s only so much that you can do to protect people from themselves….

Locks 5, miles 6½

Back to Cranfleet

There was quite a bit of activity this morning as I jogged around the long rowing lake at the National Water Sports Centre. The centre is right alongside the lock, with the canoe slalom course just over a grassy bank from the moorings.

It turned out that today was a British Canoe Union white water event, so that was why there were so many folk about.

The slalom course
A bit wet!
We got away from Holme Lock at around 10, heading back to Nottingham. It was quiet on the river, but there were a few boats pottering about on the Nottingham and Beeston Canals through the city.

The entrance to the Grantham Canal, near the Notts Forest ground. This is another canal with an ongoing restoration campaign.

Heading away from Meadow Lane Lock. Mower World on the right, London Road on the left.
It’s a shame the city council don’t provide step ladders under the bridges. Vomie (or is it Vomit?) and his crew would have far more space to work with….

Under Clifton Boulevard
We had a quick stop at Sainsburys on the way through, then went back up onto the river at Beeston Lock.

Beeston Lock
Out on the Trent. Ratcliffe Power Station is on the horizon.

There are quiet a few riverside weekend properties on the south bank of the river towards Cranfleet.

Some are rather impressive…..
Some slightly less so.
The river must have been a good 8 foot up to dump this log here.

We left the river again on the short Cranfleet Cut, then moored after the lock.
It’s been a fine, mainly sunny day, but there’s been a cool breeze out on the water. Still, can’t complain. The clocks go back tomorrow morning….

Locks 4, miles 12

Friday, October 29, 2010

A short day….even for us.

We had a quiet night moored below Nottingham’s County Hall. Just the odd deedah as an emergency vehicle crossed the bridge behind us.

This morning, from across the river.
Today’s forecast was for rain, but it’s been dry although pretty windy.
We set off around 10, with just a short cruise downstream to Holme Lock. Carol was meeting friends there at 11:00.

On the left heading north are the old BW warehouses, built in the 50’s using concrete and little imagination. Functional they are, pretty they ain’t!

Cubist warehouses.This area was due to be developed as part of the Trent Basin scheme, with over 2000 new homes and retail and office space thrown in. The credit crunch has put it on hold, though.

Just a bit further downstream there’s the new River Crescent development. I think there’s a degree of art deco influence in the design.

River CrescentPrices for a 2 bed apartment start at £295k, but it’ll cost you close to a million for a penthouse with a river view.

More pleasing to the eye is the Georgian style of the next house.Now that’s more like it.

It only took about 45 minutes before we arrived at Holme Lock, and both boats were moored well in time for Carol’s visitors.

Holme Lock cut on the right, Colwick Sluice on the left.

Carol took her guests for a cruise up to Nottingham and back, we just took it easy, doing a few odd jobs that needed attention.

Locks 0, miles 2½

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Old Woman Syndrome strikes….

Our plan was to head up the Erewash Canal today, taking 2 days to do the 12 miles and 14 locks to Northern Basin at Langley Mill, then turning around and coming back down again.
This particular canal runs through quite a built up area, being on the fringes of Nottingham, and has, in the past, had a reputation as “bandit country”, with youths targeting boats with abuse and missiles. This has changed now, things are apparently a lot quieter these days.
But it’s still half-term, and we’re rapidly approaching bonfire night. Boys and fireworks can make an unpopular combination, so we’ve decided to play it safe and head out down the Trent for the weekend. Call me an old woman if you want.

We had to turn around, so travelled just less than a mile to the winding hole in Long Eaton, before heading back and down Trent Lock onto the river again.

There are a couple of long established boatyards on the canal near the junction.

Mills Boatyard
And quite a few houseboats, too.

One along here is for sale, £135,000.

An unusual solution
Through Cranfleet Cut and Lock takes you back onto the river, with a 4¼ mile broad, winding cruise to the next artificial section starting at Beeston Lock.

Corbiere on the Trent
This bit was built to bypass the un-navigable river through West Bridgeford. It linked to the then existing Nottingham Canal at Lenton Chain, so called because the junction was chained off out of hours, to prevent unauthorised (non toll paying!) access to the canal.

Watching the boats go by on Beeston Cut …..
Lenton Chain, once the junction with the Nottingham Canal.

From Lenton Chain the Nottingham ran north-west to Langley Mill, linking up to the top of the Erewash and the bottom of the Cromford Canals. This section, and the Cromford, are closed.

There is still the remaining bit of the Nottingham though, running through the town below the castle to link up with river again below Trent Bridge.

Handy boat access to the Magistrates Court….

This is the through route, heading north, and the way we went, stopping for shopping at the canalside Sainsburys, then dropping down Castle and Meadow Lane Locks to the river.

Clear message on a building on the offside
But who would want to?
Meadow Lane Lock, back down onto the river
We turned right here, upstream, and moored below County Hall. There’re a few folk about, but I reckon it’ll be quiet later. We’re not the only boats here, it looks to be fairly popular.

Under Trent Bridge, the moorings on the steps just through the bridge.
Dog swap on the County Hall steps
Locks 5, miles 12.5

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A long day….for us.

Well, we certainly made up for our lazy day yesterday!
Off at around 09:45, and into Stenson Lock following three Canaltime boats that were up and about before us. The Canaltime base at Sawley will be busy when this lot gets back, I think we’ve seen at least a dozen of their boats today, far outnumbering the private boats.

Canaltime boats overnighting at Ragley Boat Stop
Today’s trip has dropped us back down the six broad locks at the eastern end of the T&M, back down to the Trent.

This section of the canal is pretty and remote, all the settlements are away from the navigation, keeping clear of the fickle River Trent and it’s flood plain.

Weston on Trent church stands in splendid isolation about half a mile from the village.
We were able to share the last four locks with a family on the Canaltime boat Silver Jubilee. They were well experienced, having hired for several years all over the network.

Shardlow Clock Warehouse

Derwent Mouth Lock, the end of the Trent and Mersey Canal.
I watched a swan family messing about below the lock while it was emptying.
I thought they were just enjoying the flow from the bywash….. until they disappeared up it!
We crossed the wide open spaces where the Derwent joins the Trent and motored through the open flood lock onto Sawley Cut.

Sawley Cut
We had thought about calling it a day here, but Carol had rung and told us she was waiting for us at Trent Lock on the Erewash, so we pushed on, down the locks, along the river to Trent Junction and turned into the Erewash Canal at what the boaters used to call “cut end”.

Trent Lock, Erewash Canal, just up from the junction.
We pulled up behind Carol’s NB Corbiere, and gave her a knock to let her know we’d arrived.

The Erewash was built to carry coal from the Nottinghamshire coal fields to markets in Loughborough and Leicester. Having no bridge across the Trent, specially constructed ferries carried the boat horses across the river to the Soar. I don’t know how the boats got across though. The canal was constructed in about a year, opening in 1779. Not bad going for 11½ miles and 14 locks.

Locks 8, miles 12.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Damp but short….

That best describes today’s cruise. We left Mercia Marina in the rain, travelled to Stenson in the rain, tied up above the lock in the rain and then it stopped. Typical.
It still looked a bit gloomy, so we called it a day.

Mercia Morning
And Mercia Sunset.
We had a good weekend “oop north”. We had a chance to see Mags’ grand and great-grandchildren, met Bess the dog’s new pups…..

Aahh… 3 black and 2 golden labs.
And had a good time with friends Val and John, where we stayed for the two nights. Meg and Harry the Wire-Haired Dachshund got re-acquainted.

Two beautiful, clear and frosty mornings saw Meg and I up on the flanks of Ingleborough, enjoying the fresh air and fine scenery.

Whernside, the highest (at 2416 ft) of the Three Peaks.
Looking up Ingleborough.
View down towards Ingleton and Morecambe Bay
A frosty look up the River Doe valley
Mags had her checkup yesterday, and then her ‘flu jab. She feels the effects of the injection, it makes her a bit snuffly and weary the day after. Another reason we decided to have a short day today.
We’re heading back downhill to the Trent, aiming to join our mate Carol with NB Corbiere on a trip up the Erewash Canal.

I’m glad to see that HMS Astute is OK after the unfortunate episode on Friday. Though I don't know what all the fuss was about. We run aground pretty well every day! Then again, Seyella isn't worth around £1 billion! And we have to stick diesel in to make her go...

Locks 0, miles 1½