Saturday 15 April 2017

Sandiacre via Langley Mill

Today's canals - Erewash, Cromford

Weather-wise a day of two halves. The morning was very grey and chilly but around 1 o'clock brighter sunshine arrived and at times was pleasantly warm. Later, however, a chilly breeze left us with much reduced temperatures.

We ended up back at our starting point but having made it all the way to Langley Mill, currently the end of the navigation. As  result we saw much the same scenery in the morning as well as the afternoon. Hence the photos will be a selection from both directions.

After setting off just after 9 o'clock we stopped shortly afterwards for a brief moment to allow Andrew to pop to the Co-Op in Sandiacre for a newspaper. It was then a series of locks, generally spaced pout with only a few shorter walkable pounds. Going up, almost all of the locks were against us - fortunately on the way back they were generally in our favour and we saw rather more boats on the move. As  a result the journey up to Langley Mill took around five hours but coming back down only four.

The Springfields Mill in Sandiacre was originally built for T Hooley, a local entrepreneur who established several large lace mills, of which this was one. In 2005 it was bought by a developer who converted it into over one hundred apartments. Sadly that developer went bankrupt in 2008 but another took it over and it seems to be a popular location for people seeking apartment living. It is good that such an impressive building has found a new purpose and not simply demolished once its original purpose was no longer viable.

The first duckling we have seen this season.

Pasture Lock is well named - for the first time along this canal we are out in agricultural land.

At a couple of places we could signs announcing the location of proposed HS2 rail crossings over the canal. Presumably anyone who feels that they have a case against this route can make an objection. However, both of these were very close to the M1, a mainline railway and rather waste land.

At Gallows Lock a plaque on the adjacent bridge records the bicentenary of the canal opening.

This plaque at Eastwood Lock records the link with DH Lawrence whose novels featured the town.

We continued up to the final lock - at the bridge below a sign indicates that we are now passing onto the former Cromford Canal - alas only a very short distance is currently navigable from this end although there are plans to restore it to connect with the short section that is preserved at the northern end.

nb Free Spirit is one of the blogs that we follow on our own blog web site - they have recently returned from  a six month tour of thew antipodes.

The restoration sign number this lock a 14 whilst elsewhere it is given the number 74, which follows in succession from those on the Erewash. Presumably 14 is the number that it was given when part of the Cromford.

This was once an important junction. Ahead lies the Cromford Canal whilst to the right the Nottingham Canal branched off. It was a later construction by the same engineers and offered an alternative route for the lace and other industrial trades of the area.

We were amused by this waymark to Shortcut. Is this a place?

After a pleasant late afternoon, early evening cruise we made it back to our start point for  the day, just shortly after 7 o'clock.

16,7 miles - 22 locks

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