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Saturday, 31 January 2015

Tourists up the Thames.

The next day we didn't have to leave early as the tide meant the lock wouldn't be opening until 1000. We filled up with water and left the lock with two or three other boats, none of which were going to Brentford with us. It was another lovely day

Once clear of the lock and heading up river the first thing we saw was the Royal Barge. It was under tow and going a much faster lick than it would have done under oars but it was still a great sight to start the day off.

I could hear on the radio that they were preparing for a tall masted vessel to pass Tower Bridge and they were going to lift it. Unfortunately I couldn't go slow enough with the tide from astern to get there at the same tiome for us to go under when the bridge was lifted. Still it was enough of a thrill to do it anyway. Mind you I had been through with the bridge lifted when I came up to the pool of London on the 'Salvageman'.

A few years ago we had had a tour of the Houses of Paliament but the outside is equally as fantastic, especially from the river. I'm sure that most will know that 'Big Ben' is actually St. Stephen's Tower and it is the main bell in the tower that is Big Ben. It was the originally the  Palace of Westminster and that it became the parliament building in 1550. Westminster Hall with in the current building is the only part of the original palace left and is a great spectacle even today. The current building dates from 1847 and was designed by Sir Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin. It contains 1100 rooms, 100 staircases and two miles of corridors and sounds as though it is all crumbling from the recent media reports!

We were soon at the Vauxhall Bridge that was built in 1906. It replaced an earlier bridge built in 1816 that was the first iron bridge across the Thames in the capital. The current bridge is adorned with bronze figures that you wont really see from the road way itself. They represent  Architecture, Agriculture, Engineering, Fine Arts, Astronomy and the one above which I think is Learning.

 Battersea Power Station has been bought by a Malaysian conglomerate I believe and they have started to convert the building designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and erected between 1932 -4. It finished work as a power station in 1980. There was a lot of controversy as there was talk that they were going to knock down at least some of the chimneys as they were unsafe and Londoners rose in protest it seem that they are having to take of the tops of them and rebuild back again to make them safe. I understand that they are keeping the discharging cranes and wharfs too. It will will eventually be a vast hotel/office.apartment shop complex.

Albert Bridge joining Chelsea and Battersea was built around 1872 as a cable stayed bridge but as it was found to be unsound a little over ten years later it was strengthened using a suspension bridge design by Sir Joseph Bazalgette. In 1973 it required strengthening once more and two concrete piers were added in to the river to support the span so it is also a beam bridge. At this stage it was to have become a footbridge but this was overruled and it is still open to traffic up to 2 tonnes. In it's early years it was known as the 'Trembling Lady' as it vibrated, especially when troops from the nearby barracks marched across. There are still signs up today ordering marching troops to break step.

After Battersea the river widens and becomes less busy with ferries etc. The main problem now becomes the very many rowing boats on the tide way. It seems that every Tom, Dick or Harry school has a boat club here and they are out in the afternoons rowing up and down. Of course they are going backwards so they don't always know you are there and you have to guess what they are going to do. Some times, like above, they have their coach with them and he will advise them. but there are many in single and double skulls, and larger, that are just left on their own. My simple rule is to make early and positve action to keep out of the way so they are sure what you are doing.

I think these are school rowing club boats houses on the south bank between Wandsworth and Putney Bridges. The cruiser at buoys was in beautiful condition too.

Craven Cottage was the next landmark, the home ground of Fulham Football Club. As you go past you can still see the original brick and wood club house in the corner. I wonder how many balls they have lost being kicked out of the ground? 

Harrods Furniture Depository was built for the company in 1894 to store the larger items that could not be placed in the Knightsbridge store. The terracotta fronted buildings are from 1914. The buildings were converted in 2000 to 250 apartments know as Harrods Village.

We saw an RNLI RIB every time we were out on the river and they made a reassuring sight. It seems that we were just close to a base at Chiswick Pier. There is another at the Victoria Embankment in Central London and one at Teddington.

 We found the entrance to the canal easily enough after Kew Bridge and at the end of Brentford Ait. We couldn't raise the Thames Lock Keeper on the radio or phone but we had earlier left a message with our ETA and sure enough as we approached his head popped up and he set the lock for us. We were then off the tidal times, well all most as the canal between Thames Lock and Brentford Guaging Locks is semi tidal. On big tides you may not be able to get under High Street Bridge but we were okay, and if not we would have been able to tie up and wait. So with our safe arrival at the Brentford Visitor moorings but moored next to an empty boat as there was no room at the inn we had had another exciting day.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

A busy first five days of September 2014.

At the start of September we were dashing up to Bishop Stortford on the Stort Navigation. It is quite a strenuous trip if you are rushing and as it is so pretty up there we will have to go  again at a more leisurely pace. We arrived at the Head of Navigation, did a little shopping, and started back again as we had a deadline to be back at Limehouse Basin. We had a very long first day of the month as we stopped for fuel at Hallingbury Marina and then got stuck for an our at Latton Island Mill Lock as it just would not make a level. We ended up mooring up at 2030 in the pitch black.

A very convoluted foot bridge on the outskirts of Bishop Stortford on our way south again.  We stopped for another night at Waltham Marshes were I was able to pick some pears and brambles. We were meeting up with our daughter at Tottenham Hale and then stayed put the next day as we were also meeting Helen's Uncle and Aunt the following day.

We then continued down the Lea Navigation and jusy by the junction with the Hertford Union Canal is the Olympic Stadium. I wonder when we will be able to navigate freely around that area? There is much to see on the Lower Lee Navigation.

A little further on is Three Mills. There have been mills on this site since the Domesday Book records and two of the three today are tidal mills. They look well worth a visit but I think they only open on Sunday's. We made our way down to Limehouse Basin and there met up with the rest of the St. Pancras Cruising Club. We had out briefing in the Cruising Association by the lock and then were early to bed for our trip out on to the Thames to see the Tall Ships.

We left the Basin and headed back up Limehouse Cut where we had permission to enter Bow Back River and exit City Mill Lock on the level. We then headed down Wall River and the Prrescot Channel to Three Mills Lock. We were penned down in groups and above we are leaving this mechanised lock and entering the tidal Bow Creek. The river has a couple of 360 bends in it before reaching the Thames Proper right opposite the O2 Arena.

Lotus, on of our companions, just heading up river on the Thames with the dramatic backdrop of the O2 Arena. I wish somebody had taken that photo of us!

As we wended up river we passed several of the smaller sailing ships moving but soon turned south theto explore Deptford Creek Above is the lifting railway bridge that now takes the underground and doesn't lift up as there is no marine traffic that requires it anymore.

Moored to buoys just near the entrance to Deptford Creek is the Europa. It is owned by Hapag Lloyed and is 199 mts long and is 28,890 GT. It is registered in the Bahamas and can take 408 passengers awith 275 crew and for twelve years in a row won best cruise ship in the world. It certainly puts other boats in our flotilla to scale.

The 'Dar Mlodziezy' is a Polish Training full rigged ship that was built in 1981 as the first of six similar vessels. She was built in Gdansk and registered in Gdynia. At 109mts long she is very impressive and can carry a crew of 40 with 136 cadets. She can do 12 kts under power and has done 16 kts under full sail. Now I bet that is impressive! 

The 'Hydrogen' was built in 1906 and is the largest surviving wooden barge. In WWII she went to the Clyde for war work and had an engine fitted and was de-rigged. She finished work in 1976 and in the 80's was bought by Bells Whiskey who re-rigged her and used her for promotional work. In 1992 she was sold again to become part of the Topsail Fleet and earns her way still on charters etc, Between the Wars many of these vessels would have been seen up and down the east coast, and even further afield.

By now we had sailed round the Isle Of Dogs and were at the western end of the docks. There were many speed boats going up and down at a great rate of knots causing big wakes to thrill their customers. That coupled with the normal ferry traffic caused a bit of a chop but nothing too bad. As we neared the lock back into Limehouse Basin we got a good view of Canary Wharf.

There was a bit of a wait as they had  to pen us up into the Basin in groups so we spent the time just stemming the tide just off the lock entrance, which can be seen just at the bow of the narrow boat. This area is full of history and is worth a stroll around and Canary wharf and the museums are not far away at all.

It was still only lunchtime by the time we had all got tied up again so we went back out, over the Emirates Sky Bridge cable car to visit Greenwich and soak up some of the atmosphere. By the time we got back to the boat the sun was going down on a very enjoyable and tiring day.

It was still only 5th of the month and we had lots more to do in September so I have split it up into a few parts.

Friday, 23 January 2015

August 2014 is all logs, London and Lee.

We had decided to head off down the Aylesbury Arm and turned immediately into the first lock. It was nice to be back on narrow locks. The Arm is almost straight but feels very cut off with no villages on the canal until the end where the nice town of Aylesbury lies.

There was little traffic on the canal and not that many places to moor before the end. Whilst the reeds in the photo above prevents you tying up it does give a very secluded feel to the trip. The Aylesbury Canal Society had moved from their base at the end of the Arm to a purpose built marina a mile or two outside of town. They offered free moorings and cheap electricity and made us very welcome. We had a good look round the town and as it was Helen's birthday whilst we were there even went to the theatre to see 'April in Paris' that was very good. One of my brothers even called in to see us on his back north.

After several days we headed back to Marsworth. When we were entering lock 9 the engine came to a stop and we found a submerged lock stuck on one of the blades of the propeller. It too me a while to get it free and then there was the question of getting the prop blade straightened as it would be no good going on the Thames with it like that. Luckily Bates's at the top of Marsworth Locks Bulbourne Dry dock could sort of fit us in. It was 15 locks away. It only took us a day to get there but had to wait a day before getting in the dry dock. Above is Lock 8 on the Aylesbury Arm.

We were in the dock for only about two hours, just enough time to empty it enough to get the prop off and then flood it up again. We then spent the best part of a week waiting for the propeller to be reconditioned and a slot to go back in the dock to have it put back on. We didn't waste our time as there was plenty of foraging to do. Hazelnuts, plums and damson and elderberries were found and bottled, jammed and juiced. We had some lovely walks into Tring and the areas and as the weather was good it was no real hardship.

When we did finally get away we met up with another blogging boat 'Inca' with Gary and Carolyn at Cowroast Lock. We shared the load down to Berkhamstead. The town is very handy for the canal and we managed to get Macy the cat in for her annual jabs. We had a nice walk around the town and availed ourselves of the Wetherspoons.

'Holderness' under the willows by the tap at Berkhampstead before penning down on our way to Hemel Hempstead where we moored up near Apsley and had a very interesting tour of the paper mill there. We also met a very cheerful Canal Chaplin and his gang on our way through Cassiobury Park. We stopped a couple of nights near Uxbridge before heading into London. We did the run in one go and we were surprised at how quite it was for long periods, and how filthy the tow path was around Southall. The lines of boats were it was possible to moor didn't start until after Alperton and you didn't really feel you were on the edge of a major city. It was interesting but all the time there was the worry that you wouldn't get a berth when you arrived.

There were a few spaces at Kensal Green so that would be our fall back position but we were lucky to be able to find a spot in Paddington basin on the end of the off side pontoon. It is a great place to be moored in the heart of the metropolis and handy for transport etc. However we had booked in at St Pancras Boat Club so we only stayed the one night before swapping Paddington of kings Cross.

Little Venice was jammed with boats and we vied with the trip boats as we headed out to the Maida Vale Tunnel and the Regent's Canal. We felt like tourists as we passed London Zoo and turned sharp left at Cumberland Basin passing the floating Chinese restaurant. 

Despite it not being a weekend Camden Locks were thronged with people all staring as we locked down with the help of a volunteer. It must be downright dangerous at busy weekends as you can hardly move on the lock sides. Our mooring at St Pancras was excellent and we soon got used to the trains passing. The club were extremely friendly and we managed to book on one of their Thames Cruise trips to see the Tall Ships later in the year. They even took us to the top of their water tower for some excellent views. We had four days walking miles around the city and having visitors.

Helen became fascinated by the Shard on or travels around the City. We walked along the Thames path and managed to get to see the poppies being built up into the installation 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red'. It was impressive in July and there were plenty of people then so it is no wonder it was swamped in November  for Remembrance Day. We had a walk round the British Museum to see the Sutton Hoo hoard and many other beautiful things. But mainly walking miles as there is always something to see on every street and as we don't come this way very often we like to cram as much in as possible.

After a few days we moved on down through Islington and Hackney to spend a night at Limehouse Basin. The basin we so big when we left the lock we had to ask where the locks was as it was hidden behind all the big posh cruisers. We had arranged with some girls from the C&RT Office at Little Venice to accompany us on our next leg as part of the boating buddies scheme. Hopefully the enjoyed themselves and learned something from us as we learned much from them about running the canals in London. We moored up at Totenham Lock so that they could get the Tube back home. They did a few locks as we went back up the Regent's Canal and the Hertford Union Canal to get to the Lee Navigation. The above photo is looking back just after getting on the Lee with the Olympic site in the distance.

The Lee Navigation is wide and deep with plenty of moored boats but after Enfield seems to leave the city behind. There are old sand and gravel pits on either side of the cut and civilisation seems along way away. It is a great green space on the doorstep of London and many people seemed to take advantage as the towpath was always busy with bikes and walkers. We stopped up  at Stanstead Abbot and met up with Helen's Uncle and wife who we hadn't seen for many years. We then passed through Ware and the lovely gazebos that fronted the river. We did not stop as we had a bit of a deadline to make the trip on the Thames.

We headed on up to Hertford and the Hertford Lock was very nearly the undoing of me. I have never found a more difficult lock. (Hopefully it has been fixed during these winter stoppages). Hertford again seemed a lovely spot when we moored up for a look around before heading back down to spend the night at Ware. The end of navigation, above is a quiet little area near the centre with old clapboard  warehouses. We had no better luck with the lock on the way down so were clad to get moored up at Ware.  The next day we entered yet another new waterway when we set off up the River Stort. The river is narrow and windy and totally different to the Lee and we spent the last night of the month at Sawbridgeworth. due to us having to be back at Limehouse on a set date we are rushing a bit and really we should take more time. Another month gone and just about all new ground for us. Exciting times!

Monday, 19 January 2015

July was a month full of highlights.

We started July at Shardlow and a beautiful day we penned down and proceeded down the River Trent to Trent Lock.

It was a gorgeous day when we again passed the entrance to the Erewash Canal (seen here as the brickwork just after the trees on the left). Next come the Trent Navigation Cranfleet flood lock between there and the sailing club club house with the mast. The tree lined hill is Red Hill that hides the towers of Ratcliffe Power Station. The railway bridge can be seen and just beyond there is the fearsome Trumpton Weir. Before the rail bridge you have to turn down to the south to enter the River Soar which is part of the Grand Union, and that is the way we went, on to new ground for us.

 We stopped for the night here at Kegworth Shallow Lock. the Soar was delight to travel down with cattle cooling off in the water and pleasant countryside to pass through. We had a walk around the village and were constantly reminded of one of Kegworth's time in the news when there was an air crash near the village as there are many planes coming in to land at East Midlands airport.

Our next stop was at Loughborough. We didn't stop in the small basin there, mainly as it was surrounded by tall buildings so no good for our solar panels. We were pleased to be able to get on a tour of  Taylors Bell Foundry. It is a small but fascinating place that is one of only two places still making bells in this way. The picture above is one of the bells from a Trinity House navigation buoy that rang due to wave action to warn of it's position in fog. Loughborough was a good place to visit with a nice park and museum and the chance to get to the top of the Carillon that was built as the war memorial for the town. There was a lady playing request there too. the view was good and the small museum at the base had very helpful staff too.

The River Sore can't really be mistaken for a true canal as it winds about and the banks are not really straight lines or easy to moor at. We were going to moor near Mountsorrel Lock but learning that there was to be a festival starting that night we moved on to  Sileby Lock. We had a nice walk up to what remains of the quarry and round the nice little town of Mountsorrel. On the way back to the boat along the towpath we came across a narrow boat poling along. It turns out that they had run out of fuel and it was hard work against the current. We hurried back to the boat and went and fetched them to the moorings opposite a fuel point at the small marina.Good deed of the day done.

After another night at Birstal we moved on to Leicester. The National Space Centre at Belgrave Lock is a strange sight. The river remains rural and with the threat of water level rises there are several places that have emergency moorings with long poles to tie up to. The country park around the old gravel and sand workings near our berth was great for walking round and many folk were taking the air. There was also a town wide garage sale with over a hundred homes taking part.

We had been told by many people not to stop in Leicester as it was dangerous. I hadn't really understood why but as we didn't follow the danger may have been a breech in the time continuum as we appeared to have been transported back in time! Richard III fever had gripped the city after finding him under a car park but there was a lot going on in the city and we had a great couple of days looking around. We did get a space on the pontoon moorings at Castle Park. We would have moored on the tow path too if there hadn't been a room there. It is well worth a stop to look around the place. 

After a couple of days we moved on, still through nice country. Above is King's Lock I think. The weather had been warm for a while now so the water in the cut must have been nice and warm too as we saw several grass snakes swimming along the canal. One even came up a lock with us. Our next spot was opposite the old village on Wistow so demanded that we walk around the area. The next day we were passing Debdale Wharf where Holderness was built so we went along to catch up with Andy and Jez at Andicraft before moving a little closer to Foxton for the night.

We were heading for Market Harborough as Helen was off home and we needed a place to hang out. We had a mooring in the basin that was always busy with the coming and going of hire boats and the pedestrians too. The town is good for shopping and a stroll too. I did another good deed when an American couple hadn't had much luck on their hire boat and had returned to base after only a couple of days. They had wanted to go up Foxton Locks but hadn't felt confident enough. I volunteered to assist them and we had a long but good day in the sun.

When Helen returned we also welcomed our friend Chris who was coming for a week with us. We were soon off and the first highlight for him was the ten locks of the Foxton flight.  The towpath, both sides, was busy with folk and I spent time with anybody who showed an interest in helping or anything else. I listened to some interesting explanations of who locks work, and was instructed by a very posh lady to explain all to her group of foreign students. I reckon I would make a good volunteer lockie. Shame we live too far away from any canals

After Foxton we ventured down the Welford Arm for a night and then onward to Crick. Following on we were down the Watford locks and had a night at Norton Junction. Instead of turning right to Braunston we hung a left and continued down the Grand Union. Our next mooring was on the off side by the church at Weedon Bec. We had a walk round the village to see the Military depot and barracks from Napoleonic times that seem to be in good condition, if not used for their original purpose. We were soon back and resting up in the heat with a glass or two of something cool.

The next day we passed through Blisworth Tunnel and moored just beyond at Stoke Bruerne. The photo shows the south end with the blacksmiths forge and a concrete ring with which part of the tunnel is lined after it was closed for four years until 1984. The ring gives some idea of scale of the tunnel when compared with Helen.

We had a lovely run down to our next over night at Cosgrove with it's horse tunnel under the canal to access the pub on the opposite side. There is also the Buckingham Branch leading off just by the lock. A stub is all that is now in use as moorings. Soon afterwards the canal crosses the Great Ouse using an impressive aqueduct. Above you can see Chris and Helen giving me a wave as they cross.

We got to the outskirts of Milton Keynes and said goodbye to our quest before plodding ever southwards. We had a couple of days in Fenny Stratford and spent a whole day at the Bletchley Park Museum. It is a lovely place with very informative staff and displays and telling a fascinating story. I would recommend a stop for everybody. We then moved on to Leighton Buzzard. Which had a busy mooring but was handy for the town. 

The next stretch of canal is probably one of the most beautiful of the Grand Union with hardly a road or building to impose. We stopped in the middle of nowhere and walked into the village of Slapton for a pint in the thatched Carpenters Arms on a lovely evening. The locks were then well spaced so not to seem too  uch of a chore and there was plenty to look at as we continued ever south to our final stop of the month at Marsworth Junction.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Seven waterways traveled in June 2014.

We started June still on the River Witham heading back towards Lincoln. The weather was fantastic and we had a few days stopping at the largely empty pontoons at Fiskerton Fen and Washingborough

The mooring at Fiskerton Fen is so quiet and is our favourite. It is on the off side (if you see what I mean) so you don'y even have pedestrians. There is a lovely nature reserve just over the bank and we spent the evenings watching a barn owl hunting along the bank and some common terns called it home and were very amusing to watch too.

We stopped again in Lincoln between Stamp End Lock and the Glory Hole and along with some shopping did some more exploring of the city. As you are about to enter/leave the Brayford pool the bridge has the words 'Where are you going' or 'Where have you been'. Quite relevant to boat with no fixed abode really. Brayford Pool can just be seen through the narrows.

We had a night at Saxilby, just finding a space on a very busy mooring before moving on up the Fossdyke to Torkey and the lock down into the Trent. From the lock you can  see the lay by berths where you can wait out the chgange of tides to get your timings right for going up or down the Trent. The eight cooling towers of  Cottam power station can be seen in the distance. Watch out for the many teapots etc that are placed on the lock gates.

We were on our own as we headed up river passing through areas of the river where water skiing was allowed. I think it was still a bit early in the season for them though. We passed under the toll bridge at Dunham that was built in 1832 and still charges tolls. There several 'sunken islands' that are indicated by boards on the bank to avoid but I felt it worth having the Boating Association Cromwell Lock to Trent Falls Tidal Trent map book with us. From Gainsborough upwards there are kilometre boards all the way that really let you pin point your position. This cruiser passed us round about Marnham.

We finally came to Cromwell Lock, the first lock on the Trent. We were penned through quickly and found there was no room on the pontoon moorings so tied up on the steps. It had been a great run down the river and felt that we deserved to crack a bottle of wine. I went up to see the lock keeper to see what he thought about the expected state of the river with all the forecast rain and any other gen he could give. We had a nice chat about this and that to find that he had also been at sea and various other things in common. The weir next to the lock looks bad enough today but in 1975 with a Force 6 gale and the river in full flood ten men from the 131 Independent Parachute Squadron of the Royal Engineers Territorial Army drowned when their assault boat got swept down it. A cautionary tale for a low powered canal boat to bear in mind when navigating near the many weirs on the Trent.

From Cromwell to Newark there is only one lock. As we came into town we passed the pontoon moorings opposite some old maltings that were full up. Luckily we found some room on the wall right opposite the ruined castle. The wall that can be seen in the photo is largely all that is left of the fortification after the Roundheads besieged the place three times in the Civil War before finally taking it in 1646. They then set about taking it to bits! The town is a lovely place to spend a few days with a great market place with some individual shops, antique place and pubs. It was with some regret we moved on after several days. We only went two locks further as we were caught in monsoon like rain around Fardon where I got wet through to my knickers with no where to go. The sun came out and warmed us up but by the time we got to the foot of Hazelford Lock we called it a day. We had a beautiful evening having the island to our selves, oh and the rabbits.

The reraches of the River Trent between Hazelford and Holme Lock as some of the nicest with the valley sides coming close to the river. Gunthorpe lock has pubs and cafes close by and is always popular with gongoozlers asking the usual questions. All the locks on the Trent are worked by volunteers, at least during the day. There are few places to moor other than around the locks.

We continued on through Stoke Lock to moor for the night above Holme Lock which is right nextdoor to the National Watersports Centre with its canoe/kayak white water slalom course and long rowing course. The mooring is right nest to it and there is complete access to all the areas so that you can watch the action close to. In the near distance can be seen the white water course and then just the tops of boats on the lock cut. The tall structure beyond them is the flood protection barrage for Nottingham following severe floods in the 1940's and 50's. Each of the bays cane be raised as the water rises otherwise they maintain a good navigable depth in the river.

It isn't then very far until you come to Nottingham itself. Here you enter the Nottingham and Beeston Canal just before Trent Bridge and are back on a canal proper. Everybody had been telling us not to stop in Nottingham as we would be doomed to something or other. As it was we found nice moorings a little out to the west of the Castle near to the Marina. It wasn't much of a walk in to the centre of town and there is again plenty to do to pass several days exploring the place of my birth. (I left when I was five though). This is Castle Lock in the photo above.

Again it was a short trip through Beeston Lock and back on to the River Trent proper past all the flooded gravel and sand pit to Cranfleet Lock and  then passing through the open flood lock you are at the wide open spaces of Trent Lock crossroads.We had decided to explore the Erewash Canal so it was hard a starb'd under a bridge and in the basin ready to pen up into that canal. We found a berth above the lock and had a lovely walk around the north bank of the Trent.

The next day we moved up to Sandiacre where there was the junction with the Derby Canal. Above is the old lock keepers and toll house as the Derby Canal ran off to the right of the building. The building is now home to the Erewash Canal Preservation and Development Society

We then had a bit of a tougher day as the locks came regularly spaced, eleven of then until we reached the current head of navigation at the Great Northern Basin. Here was the junction of three canals, Erewash, Cromford and Nottingham. It must have been very busy in its day. Now there are just suggestions of what was once there. The Cromford Canal disappears into the distance and the Nottingham Canal is the one running off to the right. For much of the route of the Erewash the Nottingham is on the opposite side of the valley. By now we were on a bit of a deadline so we didn't longer and made all speed to get to Burton upon Trent where I had a train booked to go home. We raced down back to Trent lock and after a night turned right heading for Sawley and Shardlow on the Trent and Mersey. We had a quick look round Shardlow before moving on to moor for the night just above Westomn Lock and a great walk round the area on a beautiful evening. We had another stop at Wiloington and made the walk into Repton for a great walk around the town and the school the most unsual thing was finding the Anglo Saxon crypt in the church.

I left Helen moored in Shobnal Basin whilst I went home for a few days. I had them do a couple of little jobs for me and on my return we headed back the way we had come. The first stop was Shobnal Fields then Swarkestone and the last day of the month saw us moored back at Sawley and a walk into the village for a pint or two. Oh the waterways we navigated were the River Witham, the Fossdyke, River Trent, Nottingham Canal, Beeston Canal, Erewash and Trent and Mersey Canals.