Revving up the river

About a mile on from Shardlow is our last or should I say the first lock on the Trent and Mersey canal. Derwent Mouth lock. That’s Firecrest and Tenacity hovering eagerly and in the top right that’s a dragon fly hovering possesively. We’d got the anchor out and put our life jackets on not knowing quite what to expect on this adventure. To our left is the mouth of the river Dewent,To our right the Trent continued westwardAnd straight ahead the Trent heads downstream towards Nottingham and beyond. We had moved under the arched pipe bridge and now headed under the M1 motorway.Beyond the M1 lies Sawley and boats are diverted into a canal away from the weir, past the huge Sawley Marina, and into our first river lock of the year.This wasn’t as deep as the ones we’d been through on the Severn and we were able to operate the gates ourselves as the lockies had clocked off for the day. All very civilised-insert BW key and follow the instructions, no sweat, no huffing and puffing and no drama. And the we were off.Onto the river proper, not sure how deep and wide it is, but we were able to get up some proper speed. 6.7mph very comfortably. We’ll do some proper speed trials later. But we certainly created a bow wave and wash to be proud of. Ian led us onto the Erewash canal to moor for the night. And while the boys compared notesJoy and I enjoyed the sunset

 

Travelling with Tenacity

We’ve had a fun week, as we were met en route by our friends Ian and Joy, on their narrowboat Tenacity. They live in Derbyshire, so as we were passing their marina it was an ideal opportunity to cruise in convoy towards the mighty Trent. But first we enjoyed some tranquil and stunning cruising on the canal.Although some of the locks proved a bit daunting, they were heavy and this one that leaked so much we weren’t sure we’d be able to empty it completely before it refilled itself.Joy has just got a ratchet windlass which caused us much frustration as we tried to work out which setting was the best to use. Once we’d got it sussed, it made light work of winding up, and I think they will be well worth while.  As I like to walk between locks, it’s probably too heavy for me to want one myself, but if I didn’t eat spinach for breakfast I’d put one on my Christmas list. we passed through some lovely countryside, I’m not sure if this is Derbyshire, Leicestershire or Nottinghamshire. We saw some interesting wildlife, I’ve not seen a black swan before. 

Luckily we didnt see any cars in thr canal. Obviously the signage is effective. Yes there is a road lurking in that undergrowth. 

 

Branston, a pickle and a pint

Our final night in Alrewas was just beyond the water point.At which point lock 12 allows the canal and river merge into one for a whole mile, passing yellow water lilies and young cows at the muddy bank 

At Wynchnor, the Trent goes off in its own direction 

Allowing us to continue cruising tranquilly through these easy single locks with neat little bridges and desirable lock cottages. What you can’t see is that the canal runs parallel with the A38 roaring towards Burton.

Only to be separated at Branston, by the water park, a disused gravel pit converted into a nature reserve.

There’s lots of mooring here and it’s a very pleasant place to stay.

Of course being me, mooring at a place called Branston, I had to Google it and find out for sure if it’s where the pickle comes from. And yes in 1922 Crosse and Blackwell started to make Branston Pickle here in this once imposing building. It’s now owned by a Japanese company and is made in Bury St Edmunds Suffolk. Having sorted out the sandwiches we moved onto the beer in Burton. Marstons started brewing beer here in 1834 because of the water quality. we did wonder if it was the Hobgoblin hiding behind the bushes that gave the  canal it’s colour.  Continue reading Branston, a pickle and a pint