Having collected Jack from Durham and spent a brass banding weekend at home, we set off again to Eunoia with Jack. This was to be the first trip with a guest. We decided this time to turn left out of the marina and head west. This part of the Trent and Mersey canal is wide and allows the passage of wide berth boats.
This means that the locks are wide too, which creates the issues of heavier lock gates, seemingly stiffer paddles and more movement to the boat in the lock. We travelled off through numerous locks along to Shardlow which is a very pretty place. We then travelled through Derwent Mouth which is the start of the river and end of the canal, when it becomes very wide and we passed lots of signs to avoid the weir. A picture of a boat capsizing by a weir worked for us at keeping us straight.
We then came to the big junction which was right for River Soar which leads to Loughborough, straight on for the Cranfleet Cut which leads to Nottingham and left up the Erewash canal. We turned left.
The Erewash canal isn’t, it appears, much used. It’s a dead end canal, so you have to travel up and back. Along both sides, at the Trent end, were lilies that were beautiful but did restrict the passage. The other thing about the Erewash canal is that the locks are protected by anti vandal locks. This creates an extra challenge for those of us operating the locks in unlocking the paddles, before they can be lowered, passing the key across the lock, and locking up again when the paddles were closed. Another key might have been useful! As the canal wasn’t well travelled we found some of the locks really hard work, and Jack and I worked hard to open and fill the 15 locks as we climbed in one day up to the basin at Langley Mill. Having said that I really enjoyed the Erewash. We travelled through some very industrial, but beautiful buildings and you could imagine the business of those buildings and the canal in their heyday. We also passed some more rural areas and met lots of people. At the locks on several occasions there were groups of people, mostly young, fishing. Almost without exception they offered to help and engaged in amusing conversations about what they were doing and where we were going.
At Langley Mill there was very restricted room, so we moored partially alongside a brand new boat called Just The One. The owners Bruce and Judy had only picked their boat up at the Crick show and we had a lovely time with them over a bottle of wine putting the world to rights and sharing our stories.
The next morning I was woken by banging and went out to find that we had moved since the night before. A temporary pontoon was being dismantled and had needed to move the moored boats in order to make room. We re-tied and spent a few hours watching the workers work whilst we drank tea. When the pontoon was removed and out of the water, off we went, back down the Erewash. The locks seemed easier for our efforts the previous day and we arrived safely back down above the Trent lock by some of the widest variety of house boats that I’ve ever seen. This one particularly took my fancy as it’s front end is completely within a lean to.
We set off through the Trent Lock back onto the river and then back into the Trent and Mersey Canal. We moored overnight at Sawley where we had great pleasure in welcoming visitors. Jackie, Graeme, Alex, James and Alison who joined us to toast Eunoia and partake in some Gin and Tonic cake that I’d baked to test both the oven and the recipe. A success on both counts from my perspective., and only 10 units of gin in the cake and icing!
Sunday saw us travelling alongside a range of steam boats who were enjoying their annual rally. We travelled the short distance to Shardlow passing a lovely house with a train set that travelled all around the garden. We’d seen it on the way through but without enough time to take any photos. This time we captured some, including pictures of the two engines that were both steaming nicely and awaiting the return of the steam boats who I think went there later in the afternoon.
The rest of the trip passed gently, as we cruised back along the Trent and Mersey, back into the marina. Only one incident and that involved a dog on another boat, a herd of sheep and an irate farmer. Fortunately I think there was no harm done.
A lovely trip with lots of locks, all made so much easier because Jack was there to help. Brilliant. Now home, sorting and getting ready for the Commonwealth games.