Stoke Lock, River Trent

We left Swarkstone on Monday (23rd) in bright sunshine. We took on water just as the water levels in the canal dropped about a foot. We didn't know why at this happened but we noticed quite a flow. We were joined in the locks by NB The Showman. It was a pleasant journey and relatively uneventful until we got to near Aston Lock. Just above the lock we found our friend, the canoeist who we gave a lift through Blisworth Tunnel, stopped by a bridge. It turns out that he had reached Market Harborough and then continued north up the Leicester Arm. He is intending to reach Ripon but his route is via the Trent & Mersey, not the Trent - so he is going clockwise.

Another meeting with the canoeist

We got into Aston Lock alright but on leaving we became stuck. NB The Showman left the lock OK but Albert, being deeper draughted, was obviously resting on the bottom of the lock. After some pushing and shoving, which came to nothing, we finally resorted to flushing out Albert by running some water down. It was an unnerving experience. Later we found some BW men at Shardlow Lock and reported the incident. They then explained that they had "a little problem" and had dropped the pounds below Swarkstone to sort it out.

Passing The Clock House, Shardlow

For the first time in a while we had a pub lunch at The Clock House in Shardlow and then went on to find our friends Norman & Christine who run Millar Marine. They moved into Dobson's Yard some years ago but earlier they ran their chandlery business from Stowe Hill on the Grand Union. As we reminded them, 16 years ago we bought our first set of ropes from them. We had our taster of the River Trent just after Shardlow going under the M1 and then moored overnight at Sawley. NB Sweden was having signwriting done just below the locks. The wooden cabin has been rebuilt and Phil Speight was attempting to add some authentic Anderton touches to the signage.

Phil Speight at work on NB Sweden

River Trent & M1
Ratcliffe on Soar, from the Trent

On Tuesday, we dropped onto the River Trent and travelled downstream past Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station to Beeston where we joined the Beeston Cut. The sun was shining and the experience was pleasant.

Trent Lock, Erewash Canal

Beeston Lock, Beeston & Nottingham Canal

We moored up by the Castle Marina and spent the afternoon shopping and being tourists in Nottingham. We can certainly recommend exploring The Caves which are below the city and accessible via the Broad Marsh Shopping Centre. In the evening we had a meal in The Olde Trip to Jerusalem. I don't think any visit to Nottingham would be complete without a visit there.

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, Nottingham

Today, Wednesday was one of those difficult days. We left in rain and got stuck on the weir at Castle Lock. The side weir just by above the lock looks innocuous but it has a strong pull as I found out. A call to BW quickly brought response and after a lot of heaving on ropes and drawing off water we finally got Albert moving. Their response to the incident was first-rate.

Wet and miserable we continued down the canal and got onto the River Trent by Meadow Lane. We decided to moor up outside County Hall for lunch and consider our options.

County Hall, Nottingham

Finally we rang Stoke Lock (Stoke Bardolph) with a view to moving down there. The chat with the lock keeper clinched it. A couple of hours later and we had arrived at this delightful spot. The rain abated and we spent a late afternoon enjoying the surroundings and wildlife. Nice quite moorings on the floating pontoon above the lock.

Stoke Lock, River Trent