Tuesday 30 June 2015

On the river all day

When Buddy and I went out for our early morning walk we realised what a pleasant spot we had moored in on Sunday night.

We carried on down the Trent during the day starting off at Stoke lock just below where we were moored.

The lock keeper proudly told us that he holds the record for having the largest number of narrowboats in a Trent lock at once.  He reckoned he had 17.  All the locks are 165 feet long by about 30 feet broad so you can get four narrowboats alongside each other.  To get 17 would have meant that they weren’t particularly long.

It was very quiet on the river again and we only saw s few boats on the move all day.

Cows were cooling in the water in many places.

Karen just managed to get a shot of a cormorant and we saw our first kingfisher for a fortnight.

This is Gunthorpe road bridge built in 1927 to replace the original bridge.  It is the only road bridge across the river on the 24 mile stretch between Nottingham and Newark.  Even though it is relatively modern we felt it had nice lines.

We went down Gunthorpe lock at lunchtime…

…and the scenery changed as the east bank was right against the low hills and flood plains stretched out to the west.  Very difficult to get the view with a standard camera shot though.

We went through our last lock of the day at Hazelford having covered nine miles.

We turned to face upstream and moored up just below the lock.  

The lock was built on Hazelford island so it is only accessible to lock keepers and boaters mooring there.  There were lots of paths mown over the island and we went for a walk around it.  There were plenty of wild flowers but unfortunately we saw very few butterflies but did see our first Ringlet of the year.

Some people prefer rivers and others prefer canals.  We are still canal lovers; rivers feel restrictive because mooring places are limited.  Rivers, by their nature, tend to be hidden from the surrounding views so tend to look the same when cruising along them.   One advantage is that you rarely get people peering in the boat as the mooring areas are often prohibited to the public.

After dinner we went for a walk off the island which meant crossing this footbridge.  The gates are operated by boaters keys to keep the public away from the lock.

We walked along the side of the river...

...and came across this unusual gate which perplexed Buddy...

...as he could go through a gate but found it was still there!

Monday 29 June 2015

North on the Trent from Nottingham

The nightclubs we moored outside on Friday didn’t keep us awake in the night so we thought we may as well stay there for another night.  We were also opposite Nottingham’s comedy club so we got tickets for the Saturday performance.  As we were going to be in the city all day we took Buddy out for a long run out past Trent Bridge.  Here he is chasing yet another pied wagtail around a field.

For once there were plenty of signs asking people not to feed human food to the wild birds.

Walking under Trent Bridge we could see into Nottingham Forest’s football stadium – we could also see the floodlights at Trent Bridge.

The Trent Bridge iron work is very ornate.

We lazed around in the afternoon as it was such a lovely day.  I spent a lot of it people-watching – the bars opposite us were doing a roaring trade – four different hen parties went through during the afternoon. 

A family were walking along the towpath and one of the children let a football fall in the water.  The father was obviously embarrassed as he knew he couldn’t quite reach the ball and he knew he had a crowd of onlookers.  Fuelled by an afternoon drinking the lads in the bars started chanting, “In, in, in..”.  The poor chap, it obviously went to his head and in he jumped to retrieve the ball.

In the evening we went to the comedy club and Catherine joined us – it was great having a student as we got half price drinks – not that they encourage students to drink of course.
On Sunday we relaxed for a while and then set off down to the Trent.  We had to drop down one lock.

We came out of the lock opposite the football stadium we had seen yesterday.

Joining the river we had to get used to large boats sharing the waterway with us.

The mileposts were actually kilometre posts and are measuring the distance from Nottingham centre.

River cruising demands a different sort of concentration.  Here we have to avoid the weir on the left (behind the orange cylinders) and the start of a white water course on the right.  Not only that there tend to be a lot of plastic boats which you daren’t get near in a steel boat – there are several coming out of the lock here.

The locks on the Trent are manned during the day in the summer and we shared this one, Holme lock, with another narrowboat.  The locks are massive and could get six or eight of our size boat in if necessary.

This was the start of the white water course...

...and this was the end – the flow coming into the river meant we had to crab along for a little while.

This is the Nottingham and Grantham railway line and we were fascinated by at least three different designs of the arches.

The main iron arch was cast in 1850 by a company from Lincoln – just imagine how that was transported in those days.

We moored for the night above Stoke lock...

...and went for a walk downstream – at least Buddy goes in the water on his own accord now, even though he still only paddles.

Saturday 27 June 2015

Into the centre of Nottingham

As we were heading for the centre of the city on Friday we took Buddy for a long walk first – city centres aren’t the best places for dogs.  There were a few butterflies around and Karen got a nice shot of a fresh Small Tortoiseshell.  This was from the first brood of the year – ones seen earlier in the year were ones that had over wintered as adults.

We walked by Beeston weir that we had cruised past yesterday.

Walked under the hill where Clifton Hall stands.  It was owned by the Clifton family for centuries until it was bought by a foreign family in 2008.  Apparently they have now abandoned it as they believed it was haunted – it is now on the market.

This is where we had moored the previous evening in a quiet spot in Beeston.

We set out for Nottingham after lunch and noticed this canal had mile markers counting down the distance to the River Trent.

It also had rather elaborate bridge plaques.

The concrete and iron wall on the left marks the junction with the Nottingham canal which used to start at the top of the Erewash canal at Langley Mill and run down through Nottingham to the Trent.  The section from the left up to Langley Mill is either filled in or derelict – when we were on the Erewash we went and found parts of the derelict canal that were still in water.  This is where the Beeston canal ends and we joined the Nottingham canal to the right.

This heron had an interesting fishing post.

We moored at Meadow Lane and walked the final two miles into Nottingham to see what the moorings were like in the centre.  We walked past Nottingham castle...

...and these nicely restored wharves.

This is the central part with the station and bus station behind the bars and pubs  on the left hand side.  We thought this would be a good place to moor.

Nottingham used to house one of the headquarters of the largest canal carrying company in the UK - it has now been converted to a museum and bar.

These iron cylinders were placed by the bridges to stop the horse lines wearing away the sandstone.  They are found on most canal bridges but we have never seen them as ornate as this.

 We walked right to the end of the canal where it comes out at Trent Bridge.

These flood level marks makes you realise how high the river can get at times.

After our walk we brought the boat down to the centre of town.  We only had to go down one lock.

We moored outside the law courts and the bars we had seen earlier.  We went over to the Fellows, Morton & Clayton bar for a drink and Catherine came down to join us.

We sat at a table next to these guys who started chatting to us as they remembered us going down the lock earlier – they were having a drink at the pub by the lock when we went through.