Sunday 16 April 2017


Today's Canals - Erewash, River Trent, Trent and Mersey

Another grey day and at first an extra layer and gloves were commended! However, late afternoon some sunshine arrived but it was quickly followed by quite heavy rain. Since this had been forecast for much earlier in the day but only began as we were tying up for the night, we were quite pleased. Otherwise only a couple of patches of very light drizzle.

As we descended the first lock at Sandiacre (we had moored overnight just a 100 metres above the lock) we noticed that the end section, which we knew from our visit two days ago was the toll office, was constructed so that the toll collector had a good view of boats arriving. Not only would he see them coming down the Erewash but also around the corner from the Derby Canal which once joined in here. (We would see the other end later in the day)

Christine complained that our readers would not have been able to see the EU flag that was mentioned on Friday, so here is  a slighter larger view.

There were once numerous lace mills in this area but this chimney is all that remains of one. As can be seen it was more recently put to use as a communications tower but we were surprised to see that all of the large cables leading up to the antennae have been cut through at the ground level. Presumably it is now redundant.

Just above Long Eaton lock stands yet another former lace mill. This one - Harrington - was built in 1825 and was even larger than the one we recorded yesterday, one of the largest in the country. It is not easy to see at one go just how large it is.

We continued on to Trent Lock where we emptied the elsan and disposed of rubbish. We also had a short chat with a CaRT Volunteer who was manning the Visitor Centre - it was his first day. We were also amused to see the above sign - at least someone has a (slight) sense of humour!

It was now back out on to the River Trent and  a short opportunity to see how Alchemy behaves in more open water - well as it happens but we had to restrain ourselves as we were following behind another boat, which we ended up sharing the lock with at Sawley.

In Sawley Cut we spotted Stamford, Stem-to-Stern's previous boat which we were shown when selecting our builder last summer.

After the short cut we had another section on the river, this time following at least two other boats, one of which veered off left here at Derwent Mouth - the river is navigable a short distance up to Shardlow where there is a marina. Our route led straight ahead to the start of the Trent and Mersey Canal.

In the centre of Shardlow there are a number of former canal related buildings, some still used for their original purpose, others converted into houses or apartments. There was some disquiet a short time ago when the developer of the former warehouse wanted to remove the iconic signs on the front - they obviously bowed to public pressure and have restored them as well.

Alongside Aston Lock there was a striking field of flowering rape. Also, waiting to be collected, was the equipment used for the stoppage two weeks ago that cause us to re-plan our route for this trip.

It looks as if the bridge (which seems to be only a farmer's accommodation bridge) had taken quite a knock and it seems likely that a major re-construction will soon be needed as the whole structure is now failing. Certainly the steel railings can hardly satisfy the heritage authorities!

By now we had our blue sky for the day - mind you, we had to take this photo looking in the right direction as behind the camera some rather dark clouds were gathering. Shortly afterwards we passed through Swarkestone Lock and moored just above. As we were doing so, heavy rain arrived.

Swarkestone is also where the Derby Canal (the other end was at Sandiacre) went off - sadly it was never much of a commercial success so was an early closure. However an active restoration group still believes that it is possible to re-create a route through Derby even though it involves an imaginative boat lift.

13 miles - 10 locks

1 comment:

  1. Hello Mike and Christine. Thank you for adding us to your blog list. What a shame we were not around to greet you both. I do love meeting fellow bloggers. Will follow you aa you travel around the system with the hope we will meet one day. Xx