On the Erewash

We enjoyed the three days mooring allowed on the pontoons at Trent Lock and were amused by the Scout camp at the activity centre opposite whose’s favourite form of activity seemed to be canoeing or maybe kayaking, I never know the difference but they seemed to enjoy getting wet whatever it was!

It was quite an anticlimax when they departed Sunday afternoon but even that was exciting as there was no vehicle access to the centre so they all had to be ferried across the river.

Monday 25th June

Monday morning we said goodbye to the perpetual sight of Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station which is visible from all around the area. We saw no discharge from the cooling towers so guess it was not currently operating.

We swung left into the Erewash Canal and immediately negotiated Trent Lock. We did just that one lock and moored at Long Eaton and I caught the bus back to the marina to collect our car. We were moored alongside the main road so didn’t have the quietest of evenings but it was all right once the traffic died down.

Tuesday 26th June

In the morning we drove the car up to Langley Mill and returned by bus. We had about half an hour to wait but fortunately  we were able to shelter from the sun in the handily placed Great Northern Inn where we were able to quench our thirst.

The journey was quite easy with just one change at Ilkeston.

When we returned we waited until the heat reduced a bit and set off for Sandiacre to get three of the locks out of the way. Our mooring for the night  was against a road again with a junction adjacent, but we slept well enough.

Wednesday 27th June

Springfield Mill was converted to flats, back in 2006 from a Victorian lace mill.

We left Sandiacre before 9 this morning and did six locks, finding a nice mooring just past Potters Lock with open land opposite, so we spent the afternoon reading, sheltering from the sun in the shade of the boat. Later we heard a whoop of delight and looked out to see a young lad, who was fishing by our boat, had landed a fish but his delight turned to frustration as he couldn’t remove the hook from it’s mouth as it was leaping about so much. Eventually he was helped by a more experienced fisherman who was passing.

Thursday 28th June

Another five locks today took us into the Cromford Canal and the end of the navigation. We met several friendly fishermen on the way and we were engaged in conversation by a gentleman who told us that he remembered his boatman grandfather bringing coal from Birmingham, up the Erewash unto the Cromford.

The Erewash is a pretty canal, even the industrial areas seem well cared for and it’s good to see the old mills being used.


Sawley Missed!

Whatever have we been doing to have failed to blog for two and a half weeks?

Last Friday we drove down to Gloucestershire to collect our grandchildren for the weekend, we had a good journey down and visited several friends in Dursley before picking up the kids after school. The journey back was slow, to say the least, the Friday evening traffic on the motorways was horrendous.

On Saturday we all enjoyed Long Eaton Carnival and after the parade Iona & I went on the dodgems while Joy was persuaded to let a parrot sit on her shoulder, although she is not fond of flying creatures, this one was well behaved and kept still for her.

On Sunday we went to a car boot sale, part of the carnival event, had breakfast in the Marina Cafe before taking the grandchildren back to our son in Birmingham. Being Fathers’ Day, he treated us to a meal at the Red Leaf World Buffet in West Bromwich “Red Leaf World Buffet brings you an ever-changing variety of dishes from across the world. English, European, Caribbean, Chinese, Indian, Italian, Thai… “, where we enjoyed a great meal despite them being very busy.

Red Leaf World Buffet

Part of the reason for hanging around in Sawley was so I could be in striking distance of Nuneaton for some dental work which was booked. In February I had a couple of teeth out and now was the time to get a new denture,  so for three Tuesdays this month I have been visiting the Cottage Dental Practice for impressions, bite checks and next week hopefully a set of teeth that fit nicely. I have every confidence that Sachin will achieve that. Incidentally I discovered he has a practice in West Brom immediately opposite the Red Leaf World Buffet!

This Tuesday evening we met up with our friends Hilly & Peter, who we know from Gloucestershire but they now live the other side of Nottingham.

We met at the Esquina Spanish restaurant in Sawley where we enjoyed their “Tapas Tuesday” offer, then went back to the boat and chatted about our families & old times.



After being in the marina for three weeks we have decided that this one is not for us. Although the facilities were so convenient, we were put off by the jetties being only half the length of our boat making even filling up with water or changing a gas bottle difficult, involving walking along the gunwales and, heaven forbid,  in an emergency we had no alternative exit to the back doors.  So we are considering elsewhere.

Before all that though we have an appointment to dry dock the boat  for blacking it’s bottom and so next week we set off to explore the Erewash canal.

Sawley Lock & our new hand-turned Yew tiller handle

Meanwhile we have left the marina this morning and are now on the River Trent moored up on the pontoons outside the Trent Lock pub.

and so to Sawley

Saturday 2nd June

Today we were away before quarter to nine as the weather forecast wasn’t promising for later today and set off through Shardlow, as we passed the moorings were we stopped last year we collected a woven bag on the prop and had to struggle on to  Derwent Mouth Lock before I could stop to clear it.

Another boat arrived while I was ‘down the weed-hatch‘ so we were able to share the lock with them and then we were on the River Trent, passing the mouth of the River Derwent [see, you guessed there was  clue in the name of the last lock]

These big rivers always seem scary to begin with, but in just 15 minutes we were at Sawley Flood Lock which strangely was closed but there was only about an inch difference in level. Immediately beyond the lock was Sawley Marina where we tied up outside.

We have been considering taking a marina mooring to have a few more ‘creature comforts’ during the winter months, so we decided to test the waters (so to speak) so we had arranged to spend some time here.  We reported to reception and were told our allocated berth, but when we got to it it was occupied by another boat.  Neighbouring boaters were very  helpful and suggested we temporarily moored in another free space while the management sorted things out.

We made ourselves at home and even had electricity to plug into. Oh, and the forecasters lied about the rain and we had a gloriously sunny, hot afternoon.

Sunday 3rd June

We woke up quite late this morning and after breakfast at The Marina Café,  got in our car (which we had moved up here with Barry & Ruth last month) and explored some of the surrounding area.

We got back to Sawley around 5 o’clock and decided that it was too hot to cook dinner so we went to the nearby Plank & Leggit pub for a Sunday Roast, we were told, as they we busy there would be a 30 minute wait which actually turned into 45 minutes. When the food arrived we were ready for it and despite the cauliflower being stone cold we enjoyed our meals. Two of the serving staff asked the usual “is everything OK?” but despite telling them about the cold cauli did nothing more than apologise.

When we got back to the boat our neighbours said they would have recommended somewhere else if we had asked, but they also had a message from the marina management to say our allocated berth was now vacant.

Monday 4th June

A few weeks ago I bought some second hand batteries on eBay, from a fellow boater, so now we are re-united with our car for a while we drove over to Great Haywood Marina to collect them. We called into Long Eaton on the way back for some shopping and while it is well served by Tesco, Asda and Aldi the town centre itself looks a bit ‘tired’.

On our return to the marina we moved our boat to our allocated mooring and now have new neighbours and a family of coots nesting next to us.


Fradley to Shardlow

Tuesday 29th May 

First thing this morning we boated up to Fradley Junction and dropped down Junction Lock  to moor on the 48 hour moorings but our planned breakfast rendezvous with Russell, Louiza & family came to naught as Russ was feeling poorly and called in sick, while Louiza was chasing one of their dogs who had done a runner, not a good morning for either of them.

At 10:00 am we left and at 11:15 we stopped at Alrewas for lunch and walked down to the village Co-op to do some shopping, then we continued for another four hours covering 8 miles and another 6 locks to moor at Horninglow to try to effect another rendezvous tomorrow with another couple of boaters.

Wednesday 30th May


At about lunchtime nb Twizzle arrived with Quentin & Sue whom we haven’t seen for a couple of years and we spent the afternoon chatting and drinking tea.

Quentin, Chris & Sue at The Manzil

Later we walked [yes, walked!] down to Burton upon Trent town and visited The Manzil Indian restaurant where we had an excellent meal with ‘bring your own’ alcohol from Aldi, just around the corner, they even called us a taxi to take us back to our boats at Horninglow.

Thursday 31st May

Today’s plan was to visit The National Brewery Centre for which we got a great deal on Groupon.  [£25 for a brewery tour and three beer tasting vouchers for four (48% off)]

The guide explains the complete brewing process

There was a guided tour available at 11am so we ordered another taxi but after the second bus came along we decided to hop on and it took us ‘all around the houses’ so we arrived somewhat late. We needn’t have worried though as no-one had arrived for the 11 am tour so the guide  offered to give us our own personal tour. We were joined by another group after a while and we had a great time ending, of course in the bar to sample the products as 3  x ⅓  pint vouchers were included in the price.

In the afternoon and evening we had ourselves a barbecue with Quentin & Sue and more chat and catching up.

Friday 1st June

Today we said goodbye to our friends about 10:30 and headed off in opposite directions promising to meet up again soon.

We had a long day’s boating covering 15 miles and 5 of those wide locks, we shared the first one, met boats at the second, but did the rest on our own. Tomorrow’s forecast was rainy so we wanted to get as far as possible and despite all the odds were able to tie up on The Clock Warehouse’s mooring for the night.

We naturally had a meal there, a rather nice sharing platter including “Jack sprats, honey glazed porkies [that meant chipolatas, apparently] , black pudding bon bons, mature Cheddar cheese, mushroom pâté, a wedge of Brie and a brace of pork pies. With wholegrain bread, toast, homemade tartare sauce, a tomato & red pepper chutney & onion marmalade.”

The only disappointment was that they only supplied 2 pats of butter for 6 slices of bread & toast and didn’t seem to know what a non-dairy spread was, still no problem for us as I just fetched some from the boat.

We had a good night’s sleep there,  grateful  for a safe and convenient berth.