Saturday, 3 May 2014

Something New, something not blue (a canal is brown)

Wednesday 30th April to Friday 2nd May 2014

It will be another 8 days before we get our new solar panels installed - this will be in Shardlow - so we have decided to take the time to cruise the Erewash Canal.

We haven't been along this canal before, but keep on hearing reasonable reports.

First stop for us after leaving Shardlow was just down as far as Sawley - not too far at all. We moored up and started a couple of small jobs that had been on the list that we have - jobs that involved staining and varnishing - but at least they are done.

The weather didn't look too great and this backed up our decision to just stay put - as we wanted to do anyway.

Diane took a walk into Long Eaton to send a card to her mum for Mother's Day (11th May in Australia this year) - didn't take her too long; I had settled in to get some work done; when she arrived back it was snooker time; warm up time (it had got a bit chilly outside) and time for a cuppa.

We had been through here just last year but we hadn't stopped.

It really is quite nice - a bit like a marina on a river.

Cloud making machines at the ready (nearby Ratcliffe Power Station)...

...and it worked - the morning mist almost making them invisible
Next morning with an overcast sky and a bit of light fog we prepared to head off; elsan first; no need to fill the water tank; a boat went past heading toward the lock, so we went up as well - Diane walking ahead to help with the process.

Down onto the river, our companions went around to the services but we were straight ahead down the river.

Onto the river and time to open the throttle...

...and guess who by.
Opening the throttle to allow the engine a bit of free play - it sounded good and zoomed along quite easily.

In little time at all the 4-way intersection of river and canals came up and we headed left into the opening for the Erewash.

Even though there was seemingly little flow from the Trent, there was still enough to see it's effect as we steered around - the flow taking a bit of a hold and moving us sideways - extra power gave the speed to overcome that and it was a pretty easy turn in the end.

New territory

waiting patiently

Diane still had some problems with her back and so I went up to set the lock - just as I started, there was an invasion of primary school kids, teachers and parents, who had appeared from nowhere - after that they were fascinated with the process of moving the boat through the lock - nobody came forward to help the poor old guy doing the lock.

bye for now

Thanks to Irene (nb Free Spirit) we had a list of suitable mooring spots for this canal and so we cruised crawled along - for the first part it was moored boats and moored houses, after that it seemed that the canal was uniformly shallow.

The houseboats are big in this neck of the woods (or canal)

He stayed still long enough for us to finish
taking photographs

Long Eaton Lock
We carried on through 3 more locks before deciding to moored just above Sandiacre lock.

From what we have seen to this point, the Erewash is heavily urbanised with mooring spots few and none where we would have felt comfortable stopping.
With just a modicum of noise from the nearby A52, there was no trouble sleeping.

The view from the galley above Sandiacre Lock
In the morning we thought that a relatively early start would be best - if the canal remained relatively shallow and with a reasonable number of evenly spaced locks we couldn't be sure how far we might progress.

The first two locks were in our favour - so much so that the bottom gates were open and gate paddles had been left up - not simply a case of the gates opening by themselves.

From a distance it looked like trouble getting around...

...up close it is a sad sight - apparently it has been this way for
a few weeks already

Looking back at one of the villages outside Sandiacre

Coot kids

The canal does become more rural as we progress
Given that we yet to see another boat moving, save for a CaRT vessel we were at a loss to explain the open locks.

We shouldn't have bothered - the karma gods made sure that the next 6 locks were all against us and a couple with top gates that wouldn't stay closed until we started to empty them.

But we got through OK; the scenery changed from entirely urban/industrial to more countryside - an Ashby or Shroppie it isn't, but it does have it's own character and so far I wouldn't say that it wasn't worth it.

We had the good oil on the next mooring point and the pub alongside - both from Irene and also from a guy at one of the locks, who was also a member of the Erewash Canal Society.

So we took the advice and moored up at Cotmanhay Bridge - The Bridge Inn right next to it - Happy Friday took place here - photos duly despatched to the viber recipients.

The Happy Friday picture - Diane knew about the rabbit ears
as the photo was being taken
We got to chatting with the licensee who in the past had been a boat owner - so a bit of discussion about the canal and things associated with it.

He was keen to let us know that he has a couple of winter moorings available if we were in the market, they were there at a good price.

A bit more discussion about the ales available, a local brewery and things in general.

It was a comfortable friendly pub and we would be happy to have another visit if time permitted.

We have a few more days before we go back to Shardlow, one of these will be a visit to the boatyard at Sheetstores Basin to see about our stiff tiller/rudder - we'll see how that all goes next week.

11 Miles, 14 Locks

Totals: 2401 Miles, 1725  Locks, 77 Tunnels, 32 Lift Bridges, 147 Swing Bridges

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