Tuesday, 16 May 2017


Navigations Today - Trent and Mersey, River Trent, Sawley Cut, Cranfleet Cut, Beeston Cut, Nottingham Canal

Perhaps this is the longest list of different navigations we will ever do in a single day.

It was a very grey day but, despite forecasts of heavy rain most of the day, we had patches of light rain but with reasonably warm temperatures.

Aston Lock was just a short distance from where we moored overnight. When we moored we realised that we were very close to a quite active and and gravel extraction site, with several large and noisy vehicles moving along the access just over the hedge. We had banked on the fact that it would not be worked at night, which proved to be the case.

A short distance after Aston Lock there is a very utilitarian bridge which we have seen before without working out why it is there. We now know that it is access from 'proper' roads to the gravel pit.

As we arrived at Shardlow Lock another boat was preparing it and we journeyed with the single handed lady for some distance until we reached Beeston. She was rather concerned about a leak in her fuel pipe especially as she, like us, is planning to travel down the Trent. Although she spends much of the cruising season on board, she has to go home for a short spell at the same time that we will. By some coincidence, she has booked a visitor mooring at the same place that we have!

Shardlow was, in it heyday, an important inland port and so there were lots of buildings put up around the central area. Many of these have survived but have been turned to other uses now. This one is a small Heritage Museum.

Horse chestnut trees are now in full bloom - their flowers look like old fashioned Christmas Tree candles. (If you have that sort of imagination . . . )

At the edge of the village we have noticed before this house and its miniature railway. What we had not realised is just how far the track runs - this picture shows quite  small part. Sadly we have never seen any trains running on it!

This boat is moored outside Chapel Farm Marina - really don't know why the owners felt they had to incorporate so many difference traditional narrowboat shapes into one short length. In fact, we think it can go into pour Unusual Boats gallery!

Derwent Mouth Lock is almost the southern end of the Trent and Mersey Canal and drops the level down to the River Trent which we joined very soon after. The Strong Stream Warning board reminds that rivers can go up and down and it is necessary to check before venturing forth. With more heavy rain forecast for tonight we have to hope that we do not become marooned on the river!

On the Sawley Cut we called at the marina, along with our travelling companion. She was hoping to consult an engineer about the leak and we wanted to fill with fuel so that we do not run out on the river. Alas, neither of us were successful (chandlery, which operates the fuel pump) is closed on Tuesdays and, despite promising a repair facility, the marina no longer do so) but we were advised that both of our needs should be met at Beeston Marina, further downstream.

We had a brief stop just above Sawley Locks to fill with water and undertake the usual disposals. We were annoyed to discover on using a new hosepipe that it has significant leaks along the first 300 mm! At least it managed to fill the tank.

The river gave us an opportunity to open up the throttle and we sped down to Trent Lock Junction - where on our last trip we explored up the Erewash Canal. This time we passed through the flood gates (which are used several times a year to protect the cut from flood waters coming downstream.#

On the stretch from here and through Nottingham there are just two or three bridges in the original design for local accommodation - there are many much larger ones for railways and roads. even though their design is very familiar they seem strangely out of places.

Cranfleet Lock at the lower end of the cut is fairly deep and drops us down onto a river rapidly growing in scale. Canal narrowboats are dwarfed ion this context.

Shortly after leaving the lock we saw this large warning sign. However, we really did not know what it meant except that it was probably a good idea to keep away from the right hand side. A few minutes later we saw the obstruction. Strangely, another similar former structure a little later had no warning whatsoever.

In the middle of a long lone of moorings, someone is restoring Lady Sylvia, a Dunkirk Little Ship. There were certainly plenty to choose from.

Perhaps this one could do with a similar treatment - if it stays afloat long enough.

Gradually, Beeston Marina came into sight, with a long line of moorings. The companion boat managed to find the engineer she had spoken to on the phone and he confidently set about fixing her leak - perhaps it will not take as long as she feared.

We filled with diesel - this was not as straightforward as it might have been as they only have a small space to fit into alongside the fuel pump but we eventually, managed. At least it was a better price that it would have been at Sawley Marina!

Alongside the fuel station was moored this landing craft. We were amused by the warning clearly stencilled inside - just in case anyone was tempted.

Leaving the other boat being mended we continued through the lock onto Beeston Cut, which soon passes alongside the former huge Boots site. Once a major location for pharmaceutical research and production, Boots some time ago focused its energies on being a retailer. Through the trees we could see one of the last industrial plants being dismantled and areas under re-development. A new bridge is being built to service the site.

At one time the Nottingham Canal ran from the top end of the Erewash Canal (it was built to alleviate delays because the first canal became very busy) to this point - a very inauspicious junction. Inded, unless one is reading a specialist map, from the canal it would not be recognisable for what it is. Famously, the canal owners put a chain across the canal at this point overnight to prevent boats avoiding paying their tolls. Today the area is still known as Lenton Chain.

Just after the entrance to Castle Marina we found a mooring - there are plenty of good ones here, even though the first part was chock-a-block with what looked like continuous moorers. We had been a little concerned that we would not find a space as we wanted to visit the Sainsburys store alongside the canal. However, we had no problem and were able to replenish our stores very successfully (after two days on board they were by now almost bare . . . )

Trebetherick's Boatyard looked quite ramshackle but it is home to this rather splendid boat - albeit somewhat out of context here.

At Castle Lock there are several older industrial buildings re-developed for new purposes intermingled with very modern architecture.

Below the lock is the former British Waterways warehouse as well as one that belonged to Fellows, Morton and Clayton. The name British Waterways is set in bricks at the top of the building so, presumably, at least that part is not as old as others.

After dropping down Meadow Lane Lock back onto the river, opposite the giant Nottingham Forest stadium (Notts Forest and Trent Bridge cricket grounds are close by) we turned upstream to pass under the wide expanse of Trent Bridge itself so that we could moor on the steps outside County Hall.

15.2 Miles - 10 Locks


  1. We have never moored on the steps there. We always prefer to go up onto the canal and moor outside the Sainsbury's. Always feels like a nicer place to moor.

  2. We had never even looked at the steps before but were actually very good. (we called at Sainsburys earlier in the day) We wanted to get a reasonable start to the next day so that we would be able to find room at Newark (which we did - there was plenty again) At Hazelford Lock we were only the fourth of fifth boat of the day.