Thursday, 9 October 2014

River crossings and a night out

After a quiet night in Shardlow we prepared ourselves and boat for the rivers. We were about to drop down off of the Trent and Mersey canal on to the River Trent, cross the mouth of the River Derwent where it joins the River Trent and then turn south on the River Soar towards Loughborough on the Leicester Arm of the Grand Union canal.

 River preparations - anchor out and attached to fore stud just in case, life jackets on, just in case

 The traffic lights at Shardlow flood lock are not on red indicating that both the Trent and the Soar are navigable,  we are clear to go.

 Derwent Mouth lock, the last, or first, in the Trent and Mersey canal

 Calm as a mill pond, the River Trent.  We head down stream under the approaching ornate pipe bridge and the concrete span off the M1 motorway pass the marina at Sawley

Heading for Sawley locks
Lock control panel Sawley
 The lock complex at Sawley is automated, wonderful thing hydraulics! Press a button and the paddles open and press another and the rams open and close the gates.  I could wish for this on the Buckby flight!

 Ratcliffe power station

 Approaching Trent Lock.  Here at a bend in the River Trent we have the start of the Erewash Canal, that strikes north into the former coalfield of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, Cranfleet Cut that takes you into Nottingham and the confluence of the River Soar where we are heading. 

 On the Soar
Ratcliffe lock
 Approaching our second lock, (we had passed through Redhill floodlock which was chained open, no flooding, no need for the lock to be operating), at Ratcliffe I could see a boat exiting the lock, how opportune.  We were greeted with, "I expected to see you, I read your blog!"  This time I did ask their names unlike my omission when I working through Fradley on Sunday.

 Here are boaters and blog readers Mandy and Graham, nice to meet you!
The rain had started by now and the wind a picked up a tad so the rest of the journey up the River Soar punctuated by heavy showers. 

 Kegworth Deep Lock
The lock filling is quite violent...I restricted the flow by only opening one paddle and keeping Yarwood pinned to one side.  We met boats coming down stream at the next lock at Zouch (pronounced Zotch) so were soon through Zouch cut and heading pass Normanton and approaching the outskirts of Loughborough.

Driving the Canada geese ahead of Yarwood's bow
The heavens opened after we came up through Bishop Meadow lock and off of the River Soar.  We serviced the boat and continued into Loughborough through the final lock of the day and before mooring up.  A quick lunch prepared and partaken of and I was off to Tesco to get some provisions.  It was then a case of getting ready to meet our guests for the evening, John and Louise of Nb. Blue Moon  or rather their new boat, Nb.Fiona B. 
We hit the town.
First a drink in The Albion, a canalside boaty pub that is different.. you just have to try it.
The beer is lovely and the landlord knows how to keep it, none of this cask marque too cold real ale, but rather served at 54 degrees and perfect.   We were recommended, by the landlord of the Albion,  to try the Grand Thai restaurant which is adjacent to The Swan in the Rushes pub in town and we were not disappointed, a real treat!  We returned to the Albion for a nightcap, rude not to really, before taking our leave of our visitors and returning to the boat.  A lovely evening, delightful company, good beer and great food!

Last nights mooring.

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