We set off yesterday morning towards Willington, hoping to pick up a locking partner leaving the moorings there. No-one seemed to be keen to stir a though, and we toddled on to Stenson Lock where a pleasant surprise in the form of a volunteer locky awaited.
He set up the lock for us, then we had a brew while we waited a few minutes just in case. It was worth it, a boat joined us in the lock and we shared with them to Shardlow.
We hadn’t really intended to go that far but with proficient locking partners it made a long day shorter than it would have been.
Busy moorings in Willington
Leaving Stenson Lock
With a 12 foot deep chamber and leaks around the bottom gate it takes a while to fill and empty.
The first three locks are spaced about an hour apart, and we dropped lucky at Swarkestone with a pair of boats just leaving as we arrived.
The entrance to the Derby Canal is now used for moorings but with hopes for the restoration of the canal through to Sandiacre on the Erewash Canal.
Fertile Derbyshire farmland
Weston Lock was a pain, nothing new there then. Heavy gates and leaks. Then we had a half hour to Aston Lock. Another lucky break here as well with boats coming out as we hove into view.
The last lock we shared was Shardlow, and this was where we parted company with our companions for the day. They carried on to drop down Derwent Mouth Lock while we pulled in for the night above.
The Clock Warehouse
This morning we had a later start, not planning to go too far. Movement of the water indicated that a boat was coming up Derwent Mouth Lock, so I untied and headed down expecting a full lock. That we had, but it came with a pair of volunteers who worked us down as well.
Leaving Derwent Mouth Lock, the last at this end of the Trent and Mersey Canal.
Out onto the wide waters where the Derwent runs into the Trent.
The M1 crosses just above Sawley Weir, Sawley Cut swings off to the right here and through a flood lock, to the protected canal section with moorings and Sawley Marina.
There’s only one of the pair of mechanised Sawley Locks at the moment, but this was staffed so we were back out onto the river in good time. We swung around onto the backwater for the services then set off downstream to Soar Junction.
We were hoping for a slot on the pontoon at Trent Lock but it was fully occupied, so we cut across the junction and headed up the Soar.
Past the busy Redhill Marina
Lots of boats of all shapes and sizes moor here.
We had to wait for a couple of trust boats carrying crews of youngsters doing their Duke of Edinburgh Award to drop down Ratcliffe Lock, but that gave a chance for NB Carpe Diem to arrive to share the lock.
We paired up in Kegworth Deep Lock too, but we pulled in above the lock while they pushed on to Loughborough.
Kegworth Flood Lock
Kegworth Deep Lock
I’m not sure I mentioned our plans… We’re down here to catch up with my family, we’ve not seen them for a couple of years. We’ll be going into Pillings Lock Marina on Monday and picking up a hire car to go visiting. On Wednesday we’ll be heading across country to Shrewsbury for Mags ERCP that’s scheduled for every six months. That’s happening on Thursday so we’ll stop overnight with friends Val and John before heading back to the boat.
After this we’ll head back up the Trent and Mersey, probably all the way up to the Bridgewater and the Leeds and Liverpool Leigh Branch. We’ve a family wedding (Mag’s side) up in Windermere in October so we’ll get as close as possible.
Locks 8, miles 19