We set off and stopped just 15 minutes later as we passed Sandiacre Co-Op and stopped for a paper. Helen also got me a little Father's Day present of a bag of peanut M&M's. Peanut as they aren't her favourite so she was more likely to eat less of them! It has been dull today and has been spitting with rain occasionally, but not enough to get wet.
The eleven locks are well spaced out so there is no walking ahead to set them. All of them were set against us. We don't seem to have done many locks for ages. The first was Pasture Lock and Helen was doing the lock work. As she waited for the water to fill she collected the rubbish that was loitering on the local island. Many of the ground paddles aren't working on these locks so each lock seemed to take ages.
Helen collecting rubbish as Pasture Lock fills.
The water was clear and for the large part appeared to be quite deep. We didn't see many large fish but saw a sign later on that said that there had been a big pollution event and they were asking for donations to re-stock the canal. The gates and paddles that are working are pretty tough so I took over after a few locks. We actually had two boats come down the locks but the locks were still against us so there must have been a boat ahead of us.
Tony putting his weight behind a paddle.
We passed a boat moored at Ilkeston that had passed us going up the other day so we guessed that they were the boat ahead. However when we got to the next lock it was still against us! We penned through Stenson's Lock and then a couple of lads told us that another boat was just coming up through the lock below. We decided to wait for them and share the remaining locks. Eventually 'Watt Now' arrived and we did the last three lock with them. When we got to the last lock I was looking for the moorings as there didn't seem room for two boats there. After all it is styled the Great Northern Basin! We moored up by the sanitary station and emptied stuff and filled up others. 'Watt Now' moved over to the other side and we moved up to keep the water point free, just in case.
The Great Northern Basin is actually the meeting of three Canals. The Erewash Canal was completed in 1779. The Cromford Canal was fully opened in 1794 and ran from Langley Mill (great Northern Basin) to Arkwright's new manufacturing mill at Cromford. In 1796 the Nottingham Canal opened that joined the Great Northern basin to Nottingham. The Nottingham runs dowwn the opposite side of the Erewash Valley for much of its route. The Derby Canal also opened and this gave an outlet further down the Erewash Canal from Sandiacre to Swarkstone via Derby. This gave these canals great flexibility of routes but the Cromford was largely closed in 1944 and the Nottingham even earlier in 1937 although the stretch from Lenton on the outskirts of Nottingham to the Trent is still in use.
This is looking from near the last lock, which is actually the first lock on the Cromford Canal. On the right is the swing bridge that gave access to the Nottingham Canal. The brick building was the Nottingham Canal Toll Office. Straight on, where all the boats are, was the Cromford Canal and is now the Langley Mill Boatyard. The Erewash Canal runs to the left and the first lock can just be seen in the photograph.
Our mooring in the Great Northern Basin.