Wednesday, 5 May 2010

A bird and a fish go up the Erewash

Thursday 29th April about 3:00pm we set off down the Trent and Mersey, destination, Langley Mill.

While getting going it started to rain, so it was hats and coats out. Our first stop was Barton Turns Marina to meet up with some friends for a drink and catch up on the latest gossip. On arrival, soaking wet through and not very happy at all, we were met by a typical dayglow jobsworth uttering " that'll be seven pound fifty please" my reply "how much?!!! for an over night mooring" Well after a bit of banter we wasn't messing about in the rain getting Dove out of the marina after all the trouble we had getting in so, we paid up and tied up for for the night.

After a very late night, we finally got on the way about 8:00am the next morning, heading for Shardlow for another drinking night with the "Trouts."
We had a good trip down, a bit dryer this time, paired up with a boat for the first couple of wide locks then we were on our own at Weston. The boat we were paired with went down with a Canal Time and has it happend another Canal Time was comming up so I thought I'd get some help with the bottom gates. No such luck, they all just sat on the boat. After closing both gates, twice, then cracking a paddle, I then informed them "I am not a lock keeper you know" and left them to it. After about five minutes, still no activity, I thought it time to give these people a lesson in locking. On their exit from the lock I asked if they'd grasped the idea and would be able to manage the next one on their own. How they got up the previous locks I don't know.
It was a steady plod all the way, arriving in Shardlow about 4:30pm, tied up and waited for the Trout's to arrive home.
Saturday morning, bright and early, well, eight 'o' clock. We set off down the Trent with Trout in front, then sharp left and into Trent Lock, blimey! never done that one with a seventy foot slug before, thought it weren't going to happen.

Has you can see we made it and here we are sat in the lock in glorious sun shine.

I was amazed at the condition of the canal and very pleasant as you can see in the photo above. There was quite a bit of industrial stuff which I like to see, especially when it's graffity free as most of this was.
All the locks were hard work, I think because of lack of use more than anything. They were all in good condition and well painted.
The canal itself is a little shallow in places and did become hard work at times especially on the numerous tight bends as Andrea found once when reverse was none existant and turning just didn't happen. We did have another incidend at bridge 27, a very low foot bridge. The underside of the bridge has a perculiar shape and it looks like a shadow, but it's not, as I found as we got closer, much too close as it happens. As we went through, the bottom of the bridge just took the rope off the looby, we were both waiting for the crunch.....lucky or what!
The next lock took us into Langley Mill Basin, here it says in the book we can wind, HA! Thought we weren't going to make it, only inches to spare.
Here we are tied up for the night BBQ, good beer, good company, good night

Sunday, back at bridge 27, knowing we only just got under on the way up, we thought it best we take care and a good job we did. I asked Andrea to stop with the Looby under the bridge so I could take a photo. We didn't get that far, we hit it with a right clout. Nearly pulled the Cratch down and split the Mast Case. By now the mast was stuck under the bridge so I had to go and stand on the Cross beam and push up under the bridge and bounce the mast over ridges of the underside of the bridge until we were clear.
Everything was easy after that. On the back we stopped off at Barry Argent's where he has Ex-FMC Perch in two pieces on his back garden. The bows are finished and stand on blocks high above the canal. The stern end is still getting attention but is looking good.
We then got back to our trip and made our way back to Trent Lock without incident I might add.
It was now testing time for the Armstrong, going up river. We left the lock in the middle of a yacht race but we all missed each other and we motored away. I was really pleased with the perfomance of the Armstrong it cracked on quite smartly.
We did some video between us and Trout so at a later date I might get it all together.
The rest of the trip was uneventfull so I will not bore you with it.
Must say all in all it was an excellent trip and suggest more people do it.

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