Saturday, 22 September 2012

Journey’s End

Well we’ve finally reached Mercia Marina near Derby where we are leaving Leo for the winter.  The days are getting noticeably shorter and the wind lately has been very much on the chilly side.  Nevertheless it is with mixed feelings that we have reached the end of our travelling this year.  So this will be the last posting on this blog in 2012.  It is extremely likely that we shall be doing something similar next year and we have already started discussing where we will go.

When we returned to the Trent and Mersey we moored just south of Great Hayward junction overlooking Shugborough Park.  On Tuesday morning far too many boats set off just at the same time and we finished up with a queue of four boats at the first lock at Colwich.
Queuing for Colwich Lock
A lovely dog, Bracken, on one of the boats watched all the activity with interest:
Bracken watching the proceedings with obvious interest
Further on at Armitage there used to be a tunnel but the top has now been taken away because mining subsidence was reducing the headroom in the tunnel.  So we now travelled through a very narrow section of canal:
Armitage Narrows
On Tuesday evening we came to Fradley Junction.  Here there are five locks and after the second one down, the Coventry Canal branches off to the right.  It is a busy area for canal boats with a delightful canal shop and a pub, the Swan (also known as the Mucky Duck), which, of course, we had to sample. At the fifth lock we met “Yes Dear” who we had last seen in Todmorden and briefly exchanged news as we went down in lock 5 and they waited to go up lock 4.
Gift Shop and pub (the Swan) at Fradley Junction

Dragonfly - what a whopper!

Signpost at Fradley Junction - we headed for Shardlow

Typical narrow bridge by lock at Fradley

By the time we got to Fradley we had been following the valley of the River Trent for several days and, at Alrewas, a lock lets you down onto the river itself.  For the first time for ages we were on more rapidly flowing water, but only for a short distance until a weir allows the river to leave to the right as the canal turns left.
To the right leads over the weir

Weir on the Trent below Alrewas

A long section through Burton upon Trent follows.  The canalside is fairly pleasant but the scene is of factories and breweries with the busy A38 providing the background noise for several miles.  Coming out of town the canal crosses the River Dove (of Dovedale in the Derbyshire Peaks) on a low stout aqueduct.
Aqueduct over the River Dove - boats just visible on the canal

View of old road bridge over the Dove

Finally on Thursday afternoon we arrived at Mercia Marina at Willington near Derby where we have arranged for Leo to spend the winter:
Leo final destination
Now we have a few days here to do some odd jobs on Leo before David makes good on his kind offer to give us a lift back home to Surrey.  Here is a lovely photo in the early morning mist on Saturday:
Early morning mist on Saturday
It has been a great adventure this year and one that we are very likely to repeat next year.  The grand total of the trip as a whole is 1,178 miles and 767 locks, not to mention lots of swing and lift bridges.  During the winter we may well spend a few days at a time on Leo and explore some of the waterways around here.  But no long trips until next Spring.  We hope you have enjoyed this account of our adventures.


  1. Shall look forward to following your next trip then. We hope to keep moving again this winter, as we did last year. Enjoy your time back on the bank!

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