Friday, 14 April 2017


Today's Canals - Loughborough Navigation, River Soar, River Trent, Erewash Canal

Today was generally very grey and rather chilly but rain only appeared just the once. When it did it was rather unpleasant.

First of all, we made the short trip to Loughborough Basin where there was just one space available to moor. At the Junction, which is quite a tight turn and the bow is very close to the wall opposite, and Mike spotted a rather out-of-date advert, but rather appropriate given the chance of hitting the wall whilst making the turn!

After tying up, Mike and Andrew went to Tesco for a small top-op, especially the daily milk and newspaper. By the time they returned, Christine had been researching Dyson cleaners and discovered that the model she had been told was good for boats was on special offer at Currys. Since she could see the local branch just a short distance away, she and Andrew went to investigate, leaving Mike to do the elsan and rubbish! They returned with cleaner in hand and immediately assembled it.

After we had set off, Christine tried it out on various awkward spaces that she had been unable to clean so far. A surprising amount of dirt was collected in a very short time!

There was quite a bit of traffic around today - at least until we were well onto the Erewash. At Bishop Meadow lock a day boat out from Pillings Marina arrived with twelve people aboard! Their lack of concern for simple safety left us keeping our fingers crossed that they all make it back at the end of the day.

No, this car was fortunately parked, not about to make a GPS-inspired leap into the river!

As we were rather late on setting off we had lunch in shifts but the locks are rather spaced oput on the River Soar.

At Ratcliffe Lock the clouds, which had gradually been getting darker, suddenly decided to drop their load on us - by the time we were through the lock we were rather wet!

At Red Hill we joined the River Trent for a very short distance, long enough to cross over to the entrance to the Erewash Canal. Mike spotted a sign at the pub bedside Trent Lock that said they sold coal. Christine went in search and then called for help to carry a bag back to the boat. We may well need a good fire tonight!

Even on the first part of the Erewash there was quite a bit of traffic but by the time we had passed through a couple of locks it petered out. There are several houseboats moored just above Trent Lock - but this was definitely the grandest.

It was a bit sad to see that, since we were here last, this footbridge has had to be made generally inaccessible. It looks from the map as if it leads into the adjacent school playing fields so perhaps there have been security issues in the past.

We saw plenty of Union and St George's flags being flown from gardens adjoining the canal but it was amusing to spot this brave person who flies the EU flag, just a couple of doors away from someone with perhaps different views.

At Sandiacre Lock, the former keeper's cottage and toll house has been acquired by the local restoration society,. They have restored the ground floor as it once was but the upper rooms are used for meetings of the society. Today had been an open day and we were invited to look around - they also did refreshments but stopping in the lock was not really a possibility. However, one of the volunteers said that we were only the third boat they had seen all day.

Looking at the map, mooring ahead is generally alongside a railway line , with the added fun pf the M1 at one place. So, when we spotted mooring rings immediately above Sandiacre Lock we opted to pull in for the night, probably quieter than a little further on. The rings looked new - unfortunately the dredger has not yet been invited to visit and we could only get to within 300 mm of the bank!

15.4 miles - 10 locks

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