Sunday 28th August; Trentlock to Shipley lock
Back again after running out of our data allowance on both phones ….
We were ascending Trent Lock before 9 and moving onto the Erewash Canal. In a marked contrast to yesterday when the area was bleak and deserted in the rain, there were strollers, runners and dog walkers already enjoying the sunshine. CRT has devised a variety of new slogans – we liked this one on a fence by the public path over the lock.
We knew we would need the anti-vandal key (aka water-saving device) on the Erewash locks but had not seen this type of security lock on paddle gear before. The left picture shows it closed – you unscrew it with the key rather than push and turn (as on the Wolverhampton locks, for example).
It takes a bit longer than the push-and-turn sort but is easier to use than the ones on the Rochdale nine in Manchester, where you have to hold the padlock device steady with one hand while you try and unscrew it with the other. Apart from having walked past the houseboats a few years ago when we were moored at Sawley Cut, the Erewash is new to us. Not many pictures this morning – the sun was in the wrong place. Though at least is was out! At Dockholme lock, where the surroundings are a bit more rural, there was a bramble laden with fat juicy blackberries. I easily got a bowlful while the lock was filling.
At Sandiacre I was setting the lock when I looked up the lane and saw a familiar face – I went over to introduce myself to Irene and Ian of Free Spirit. We had a lovely chat while Irene helped us up the lock and I only just remembered the essential photo ….
Behind her is the lock cottage which is maintained as it would have looked when it was a toll house. It is only open once a month and was closed today, hence the shutters.
We stopped for some shopping at the Sandiacre moorings before moving on out into another more rural stretch to Pasture lock, where Sandiacre Church is visible across the fields on the hill known as Stoney Clouds.
We stopped for lunch at a lovely sunny spot above Hallam Fields lock, before cracking on to get clear of Ilkeston. At one point there is a row of back gardens on the offside, below which in the water is the discarded rubbish of the occupants – miscellaneous bits of wood, carpet, metal – luckily all right at the edge under the brambles. At Gallows Inn Lock the pub is open again after having been closed for a while, and was busy outside with Sunday afternoon drinkers. It is now owned by the same business that runs the Steamboat at Trentlock. The clientele wasn’t interested in us in the slightest. Somewhere among their number were the two chaps who had gone past as we were having lunch. They left their small RIB in a nice safe place, at least as far as they were concerned …
The beer can, and another out of shot, were still half full so presumably they will collect them on their way home! There was room for me to get by their boat and Dave managed to avoid it without me having to open the second gate too far. The other feature of this area which we noted was the hundreds of yards of lorry depots and other works on either side of the canal, but being a Bank Holiday weekend everything was quiet. We were not feeling very impressed with the Erewash at this point – every single lock had been against us and we were getting tired. We had just decided to moor below Shipley lock, once again in a more rural area, when a boat emerged, the crew cheerily shouting that they had left the gates for us. If only we had stayed where we were ….
Somehow, as Dave threw me the centre rope as he entered the lock, it caught the spare boat keys hanging on their hook and they flew into the lock. Now you might think, surely no problem there with their float attached? The trouble was they were still in the heavy padlock we use to lock up the back when we are out. But we’ve got a Sea Searcher magnet, surely we can get it back?
Dave was rather cheesed off by the time I took this. After half an hour we decided to come up the lock and moor so I could at least cook the tea while Dave came back for another go. Another hour of ‘fishing’ still produced no result as far as the keys went, though he did find a teaspoon and a penny. We could only think that the padlock was not made of steel, or it had sunk so deeply in the mud that the magnet was useless. Ah well, no-one got hurt and we can get a new padlock in the B&Q at Langley Mill!
We were a bit concerned that the bikers’ club nearby might make for a noisy evening, but a passing biker stopped to see what Dave was hunting for. He said the club only opens two days a week and he wasn’t sure it was still going anyway.
And a bright note to end on – we saw several kingfishers both yesterday on the Soar and today as well.
6 miles, 10 wide, deep and heavy locks.