Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Going West on the Trent and Mersey

After a week in dry dock being blacked, Leo went back in the water last Friday and on Saturday we drove down to Trent Lock and boarded her for the summer.  Unusually for us, we are keeping the car with us this week as next weekend we are planning to go down to Bristol for a weekend with friends and then to Frome to see our ex-boater son, David.  So we have been cruising short distances in the morning and cycling back for the car the afternoon.  This has been interesting but does constrain how far you go and what we do in the afternoons.

It was pretty miserable on Saturday so we delayed our start until Sunday and cruised as far as the reach below Aston Lock:
Mick at Kingfisher Narrowboats kindly extracted Leo from the dry dock and left her just outside
 The River Trent was fairly full, though not in flood, with the level markers either close to or on amber.  So plenty of revs up the river towards Sawley Lock seen to the left under the bridge here:
 We were expecting the confluence of the Trent and Derwent to be a bit tricky to cross but in fact it was easy and so we were once more off the river and onto the start of the Trent and Mersey Canal.  Below shows us sharing Shardlow Lock with a new narrowboat called 'Now it's Springtime'.
 We cruised under the A50 and then moored round the corner far enough from the noise of the traffic.  After a cold cloudy day the skies cleared and we had a lovely sunset:
  Our cycle back to Trent Lock took us past the Heritage Centre by the canal at Shardlow.  Usually we've found this closed but on Sunday it was open so we looked round.  It proved to be an interesting local museum, mainly but not entirely about the canal and its history.  There were some fine photos of flooding of the Trent.

 On Monday we carried on to stop at a new place for us - the Ragley Boat Stop, a pub with its own mooring on the offside.
It's nearly bluebell time but this is a wood full of Forget me Knots giving a similar blue haze
 We came through Swarkestone Lock with a narrowboat called Anya and the photo below shows us following them above the lock:
The Ragley Boat Stop served good wholesome food at £4.99 per main course with a pudding for £1 extra.  Just right for hungry boaters.  Not only that but they had a large car park and were happy for us to park the car there for 24 hours.

On Tuesday we had our friend Steve who came to join us for the day as we cruised to Burton.  No cycling today as we used Steve's car to move ours to Burton and then both came back in Steve's car before we set off.
We love the spring colours in the trees as they come into leaf as this shot on the approach to Willington shows

Steve happily took the helm and even remembered which way to point the tiller.  He also brought the sun which was very welcome after a couple of cold days.

As we prepared to set off a share boat, Dawn Rose, passed us so we had welcome company through Stenson Lock which was well manned by volunteers so the passage of this deep and fierce lock was a doddle.

Stenson is the last wide lock and above you can see us leaving Dallow Lock which is the first of the narrow locks on the Trent and Mersey.  As you can see we made good use of our extra crew.  We picked up some rubbish round the prop below the lock which is a new experience round here.

After reaching Burton and enjoying tea and cakes onboard we used our handy car to give Steve a lift back to his car and all three of us ate out again at the Ragley Boat Stop before saying goodbye.

Today (Wednesday) has started very wet so we've taken the opportunity to update the blog before getting underway.  Another short hop and cycle back is on the agenda this afternoon.

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