In the Dock

It’s OK, I’m not up in front of the beak we are at  Langley Mill Boatyard.

Langley Mill Boatyard, is a traditional working yard based in the East Midlands at the junction of the Erewash, Cromford and Nottingham canals. The yard has been established for over 40 years, and is now under the ownership of Dan and Vikki Cauldwell, a hard-working, friendly couple whom we can heartily recommend.

Friday 29th June

Just after 9 am there was a tap on the boat & Vikki from the yard announced that they were ready to dock us, so we motored across into the dock and once positioned she and Hugh manoeuvred the gate into position to close the dock.

Supervising operations

The gate isn’t hinged (like a lock gate) but the steel structure actually floats, helped by air pumped into it and let out to let it sink once in position. Then the huge valve was opened and the water started to drain out dropping it into the river Erewash. At this point the traditional method of using shovelfuls of stove ash to plug leaks around the sides and bottom of the gate was employed.

Once settled on the steel bearers, and the access bridge securely in place for us to get ashore, Vikki set to work, first scraping then jet washing the hull.

Meanwhile I wasn’t idle and took the opportunity to replace the stern gland packing which stops water coming in around  the propeller shaft. Thank you, Joy for the flattering portrait, I think it shows my best side!

Meanwhile Joy was doing arty stuff and produced this lion using watercolour ‘crayons’  she also made some elderflower cordial from elderflowers foraged on Thursday.

When Vikki’s husband Dan came home, he welded on two new ‘sacrificial’ anodes (to minimise electrolytic corrosion) and cleaned off the sides with a rotary wire brush.
You can see the the valve that drains the dock in the centre right of the second picture below.

When it was a bit cooler, as the boat had got really hot in the sun, Vikki returned to apply the first coat of blacking, working until nearly nine o’clock, bless her.

Saturday 30th June

This morning Vikki cleaned off and blacked our tunnel band before the second coat goes on this evening.

We had visitors this evening, Maureen& Dave, friends who  live nearby and share our love for the Greek island of Skiathos (although I believe we have ever met out there once). We first ‘met’ through an early internet ‘Bulletin Board’ about Skiathos (long before Facebook), needless to say the island was the main topic of conversation.

Sunday 1st July

This morning Maureen picked us up at 10 and took us to her church (Newthorpe Baptist Church) where we were made to feel very welcome.


An interesting note from the churches history “In November of that year [1847] a baptismal Service was arranged for the first Lord’s Day in December. The baptism was to be in the canal. ” Made of stern stuff these old Baptists!

After the service Maureen took us back to her house where Dave had prepared a lovely Sunday Dinner for us. We spent the afternoon in their garden before returning to the boat.

Monday 2nd July

The blacking now completed, Vikki asked if we wanted to be back in the water today, or give it another day to cure/dry.  As they have another boat being docked tomorrow it made sense to wait until then.

I needed some adjustment to my new denture and a phone call to the dentist got me an appointment for this afternoon, so after lunch we had another trip to Nuneaton and I now have comfortably fitting teeth.

Lunch was home-made Greek Style Green Beans – Fasolakia Lathera with tiger bread from Lidl. There’s a recipe here although our’s comes from  the owner of Taverna Avli in Skiathos.

On the way back from Nuneaton we also dropped our car off at Long Eaton, ready for our journey back, and caught three buses back to Langley Mill. The connections worked out well and we had no more than a five minute wait at either stop.

Tuesday 3rd July

This morning we were floated and reversed out of the dry-dock, turned at the winding point disturbing the fisherman who consistently fishes next to the large yellow ‘No Fishing’ signs, then reversed [yes, I’m a glutton for punishment] to the wharf for a pump out, water & diesel.

That done it was straight ahead  for Langley Bridge Lock then we squeezed under Anchor Bridge 27 (or Bailey Grove Bridge as Dan called it) which was a tight call for us clearing the TV aerial & hose reel by a couple of inches and the roof boxes by a couple of inches more. There are a couple more low bridges on this canal  Long Lane Bridge No 25 next to Shipley Lock and Broad Street Footbridge near Long Eaton Lock.

At one lock we were engaged in conversation by a lady funeral director (so she informed us) who was very interested in how a lock worked as they were planning a narrowboat holiday next year with a view to purchasing one. As they were from Lancashire I told them about John Slee’s boat Epiphany which is moored in Garstang Marina it is newly re-painted and up for sale.

Oss in trendy outfit!

Just five locks today before mooring at 1:45 pm just outside Ilkeston before Potters Lock where I was surprised to find a couple of mooring rings hidden in the grass.

More Greek Beans for lunch, finish this blog and relax!


2 thoughts on “In the Dock”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.