Monday, 23 September 2013

Big Trip - Day 28

After yesterday's sunshine, today has been dull and damp, although still reasonably warm.  First thing, it seemed like the first really autumnal morning we'd had, as it was misty.  Later this turned to drizzle.

We set off at 8, straight into Swarkestone Lock.  The canal runs through pleasant if rather unremarkable farmland and woods.  Weston and Aston Locks come next (the second of each of that name that we've been through on the Trent and Mersey; the others are further north, near Stone).  Then we arrived at Shardlow, with it's well known warehouse, now a pub.

We stopped on the water point below the lock to fill the tank and start a wash load.  The we continued through the town, and on to Derwent Mouth lock, the real end of the T&M.  We shared the lock with another boat; the river gauge below the lock showed the level was well down -- about a foot below the start of the gauge.

Out on the River Trent, we went under a water main.

Next comes the M1 bridge, and then past a big weir into Sawley Cut, and past the marina.  A boat was just leaving one of the pair or locks at Sawley, so left the gates open for us.  The locks are mechanised, so the only work is pressing buttons.

Below the lock, we were passed by a big Dutch barge.  The skyline of the whole area is dominated by Ratcliffe on Soar power station.  At Trent Junction, we moored on the pontoons, and went for lunch at the Trent Lock, where the food was excellent.

After lunch was had a walk around the junction.  The Erewash Canal heads off north (and we'd have loved to have had time to go up there), there's the Cranfleet Cut to Nottingham and the rest of the Trent, and the Soar heads off south.  When we set off again, we headed past the big weir and turned right onto the Soar.

The first lock, at Redhill, is a flood lock, and was open.  There's very little flow on either the Trent or the Soar at the moment, and the levels appear to be well down.  At Kegworth, there's a very deep lock, and the gate paddles let in a lot of water.  Alongside is a former lock, which has been filled in.  Even the gates are still in place.

The final lock of the day was at Zouch (pronounced Zotch, apparently).  Again, the paddles are quite fierce and give the boats a foam bath.

We moored a little further on, on Zouch Cut.

15 miles, 8 locks.  (356 miles, 203 locks)

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