Monday, 15 May 2017

Off to the Drains

Today's Canal - Trent and Mersey

Yesterday we drove up from home. We were not able to get away until just before one o'clock and so it was well after five before we arrived back at the marina. The weather for the latter part of the day was brilliant (but we did have some heavy rain on the way) but it did make the unloading a much easier task.

We checked out the various snagging items that Phil had completed during the week. One of the things he did was to fit a better controller for the Webasto. He left us the instruction booklet which, perhaps mistakenly, we read before trying to turn the heater on! This meant that we were trying to use the wrong controls - the device covers a very wide range of options and we were trying to use ones that do not apply on a boat! Phil kindly texted us with an explanation and then we did indeed succeed. Meanwhile we had also tried out the immersion heater from the shoreline so we now know that works as well (we did not have the opportunity to try it on the last trip). It is a bit of a luxury to use as it eats the electricity from the bollard - we left only 76p on the meter for the next person!

It was quite late by the time we were properly unpacked - fortunately we had brought a main course with us, made last night, but Mike did find time to make a strawberry bread and butter pudding (well brioche actually!)

Today we had various things to do before we could set off. Mike drove into the village for a newspaper, bread and a few other things before moving the car to the long term car park.

We filled with water and left rubbish behind and then we were eventually ready to depart - around 10:30. Christine walked to the office to reclaim the keys which we had left so that Phil could work on the boat whilst Mike navigated around to the entrance to the marina. It takes a bit of navigation as there are no signs to indicate the exit - believe it or not the way is just between the middle boats to the left!

When we met up, Christine told Mike that we had to place a note from the office on the car dashboard! Unfortunately this meant walking all the way back, almost completely around the marina, 15 minutes each way. Christine thought that Mike had become lost and tried to phone him. Alas he had left his mobile in safety inside the boat!

As you can already see, today was a quite murky day with intermittent light showers. Sadly this means that the photos lack much colour! We only worked through three locks today but they make up by being some of the deepest on the system. Stenson was the first and there are often volunteer lockies on duty - three in one go last time we came through but none to be seen in the drizzle today. However, we had a couple of visitors from New Zealand taking a keen interest in the operation and Christine explained it to them. At least it meant we had help closing the gates after we had left!

In the next stretch a country road runs very close to the edge of the water for about a third of a mile. The road is surprisingly busy but we guess that it must be a short cut for those in the know. At the end there is a sharp right angle bend straight onto a narrow bridge. As can be seen, not all vehicles make it around the tight bend(hopefully none slide off the edge into the canal), but the bridge parapets have had numerous repairs. This lorry made it safely round, happily.

Several of the bridges today have had similar rough treatment - at one, scaffolding was just being erected to enable some repairs.

Another was in a bad way but is only a farm accommodation bridge. For some reason, steel barriers have been put in place so that farm vehicles cannot use it - perhaps the farmer had tried to take too much across and CaRT decided to stop it!

Cuttle Wharf was probably quite busy in its day and no doubt had more impressive buildings than the concrete block monstrosity now on the site! Close by there was once a creamery.

We passed editor Tom Crossley's boat (we think) - his editorials about his annual two week break from publishing stories about the canals put him around here anyway.

The next section is quite enclosed with trees on either side.

A typical notice indicates that the fishing rights here belong to Derby Railway Angling Club - a reminder of just how many people used to be employed at the rail works in Derby at a time when large works often had various social clubs associated with them.

At Weston Lock we might have had a slight delay -  a boat going the other way had alerted us to the possibility - but fortunately the team cleaning the gates and doing general repairs had just finished and was about to make its way on to the next.

Christine did not realise that this picture was being taken (otherwise she might have smiled more!) - but the seat in the semi trad area at the stern of the boat is a good place to sit and take in the views.

We moored just before the next lock as we did not want to risk not find a mooring in Shardlow. After that we go onto the River Trent and, apart from sections through Nottingham, we will cover some distance on the river over the next couple of days as we head down to Torksey.

Here we join the Fossdyke and then onto the River Witham. It has yet to be seen what we actually tackle but there are options to go off the main channel onto some of the navigable drains. Watch this space!

9.1 miles - 3 locks


  1. We will keep an eye out for you.

    The weed isn't too bad on the Witham just yet so you should be able to try out most of the drains along the Witham.

  2. Will look out for you as well - just so long as the threatened heavy rains tonight don't disrupt our plans . . .

  3. It is a bit of welcome rain. The river levels were getting a bit on the low side!

  4. Indeed but it was hard to keep this in mind as I was wet through coming down to Newark today . . .