Friday, 2 June 2017


Today's Canal - Chesterfield

Today was generally overcast but with a warm temperature. At times it felt rather humid.

We were in no hurry as our mooring place for the next week was not far away. We left our overnight stop alongside Drakeholes Tunnel a little after 10:30.

Passage along the Chesterfield is never a speedy affair but the first section was especially slow. After a while we did speed up a bit. When meeting a boat coming the other way, it is often necessary for one to come to halt, temporarily grounded whilst the other takes the 'deeper' water in the middle.

The first bridge we came to has several names: Nicholsons lists it as Old Man's Bridge, whilst Richlow have it as either Lady's or Manface Bridge! Richlow also says that it was formerly called Wiseton Coach Road Bridge. In any event, the bridge was constructed a little more ornate than most of the others nearby, with a carved bearded man's face at the apex of the arch on either side. Sadly, much of the detail has weathered away but if you look very intently you can convince yourself that it is really a man's face!

We continued slowly, enjoying the scenery, until we reached Clayworth. With some effort we managed to pull alongside just before the line of  moored boats so that we could checkout whether it was possible to take up our mooring a day earlier than originally requested. Yes, that would be fine.

We moved down to the service mooring for thew usual activities before being shown to our space. Certainly we have found people here very friendly and helpful. We also, unexpectedly, discovered that there is an electrical hookup so we will probably try leaving the freezer on for the week.

After some cleaning and other administrative tasks we drove into Retford for a quick visit to Morrisons and to fill the car's fuel tank ready for the long trek back home tomorrow.

On our return to the village we called at the parish church which was signposted as the Home of the Traquair Murals. Not that we had any idea what they were!

Inside the neat and tidy church we were impressed with the latest adaptation, to provide a catering area in the foot of the tower as well as a fully glazed sitting area just inside the main door. This can either be used for small meetings or for young children during a main service.

The murals are by Phoebe Anna Traquair (1852 - 1936) who lived and worked in Scotland, mainly Edinburgh. She worked a lot in tapestry but completed six murals in various public buildings, two in England including this one at Clayworth. The information panels did suggest that her style fell out of fashion in her later life but that there has more recently been a resurgence of interest in her work.

At the back of the church hangs a painting that depicts the church before it was restored and adapted in the late 19C. The work was overseen by the son of George Gilbert Scott, famous for the St Pancras in London. As a note says, fortunately the son did not emulate his father's Gothic style! One of the changes that he made was to raise the roof of the chancel (this was well before the Traquair Murals were painted) and visitors are invited to compare the painting with the view outside.

2.8 Miles - 0 Locks

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