Monday 29th August; Shipley lock to Langley Mill and back a bit further too
We had a quiet night and the morning though sometimes cloudy was dry. We went up the final two locks to the Great Northern Basin through carpets of duckweed – extensive, but mostly just one leaf thick. There were some thicker clumps though which may have been of something else.
The path cleared by the boat soon closes over after you. You can see below that the top gates of Eastwood lock are a bit open – a lot of the gates on this canal seem to gently open again after you have closed them properly. It beats me that you can struggle to shift a gate when you are opening or closing it, but once you have turned your back it can move quite happily all by itself!
At Langley Mill Dave turned the boat before reversing onto one of the two visitor moorings. And here we are moored up in the Great Northern Basin with the sun well and truly out.
I took the picture from lockside and it makes the basin look quite big. It also looks quite rural and quiet but that is entirely false – KFC is below the lock behind me and busy roads are all around though there is some grassland and trees beyond the white house. The small brick building is the old Nottingham Canal toll house – the channel you can just see below it must be the start of that canal. Today it leads to a few private moorings and the rest is marked on maps as ‘disused’. To the left of Chuffed is the start of the Cromford canal on its way through the boatyard though you can’t get very far along it, just a couple of hundred yards or so to the end of the private moorings. Alongside the lock was this plaque with distances.
We followed the footpath that leads from the toll house and came out at the far end of the boatyard moorings. To my left as I took the photo below was dry land marking the end of the basin. This will we hope one day be open again all the way to Cromford.
We didn’t stay long in the basin, but Dave took the opportunity to go up to B&Q and buy a new padlock, so at least we can leave the boat secure again. But we will have to get another ignition key cut and also get another CRT Watermate key as our spare went along with the rest of the keys.
The KFC below Langley Mill lock was deserted when we came up, but when we left a couple of hours later the air was thick with the
stink aroma of fried chicken, and the area was thronged with families enjoying the sunshine with their chips, fishing for minnows and generally taking an interest in the boat. We stopped for lunch above Shipley lock and before we set off again went for a walk along part of the Erewash Trail, which as well as following the canal also takes in the route of the Nottingham canal. We weren't quite sure where it actually ran though – along this ditch maybe? Were we walking on the old towpath?
The trail runs past a single wind turbine. It’s the closest we have been to one. Of course Dave had to take this picture ….
We also caught glimpses of the railway viaduct near Cotmanhay
and crossed the river Erewash a couple of times.
The weather was sunny and hot, so after another cool drink back at our lunchtime mooring we pulled pins and set off once more.
As it was Bank Holiday Monday the towpaths around Cotmanhay were busy with families and walkers as we returned down the canal. We have hardly seen any boats on the move in the last couple of days, but now NB Yorkshire Rose passed us on her way back to Langley Mill; we had seen them at Kegworth Deep lock a few days ago. Shortly afterwards, at a railway bridge on a bend (of course) with a lot of tree growth on the offside, we met a widebeam. Both boats came to a halt and quite a bit of shuffling ensued before we could pass each other. At Cotmanhay there was a chorus of ‘Hello’ and cheery waves from the drinkers in the pub garden. The Gallows Inn was busy outside but today we had willing helpers of various ages.
We moored for the night at yesterday’s lunch stop, between the huge playing fields at Ilkeston and Hallam Fields lock. (I took this picture on Tuesday morning.)
We had hoped to see Free Spirit on her way back to Langley Mill but it turned out they went by while we were exploring the course of the Nottingham canal. Nice picture Irene!
So, what did we think of the Erewash?
We enjoyed it. The prophets of doom who told us we would be scraping along the bottom all the way and have many visits to the weed hatch were completely mistaken. Yes, there was weed, but nothing to cause us a problem, and there was no great rubbish problem either. There was one pound where the water level was low (Barker’s lock to Potter’s lock) but we didn’t meet anyone and it was nothing like as bad as Huddersfield Narrow last year. We enjoyed our return down the canal more than the way up, as the locks were all in our favour and if you are without a locking partner in double locks it’s much quicker going down. Would we go back again? Well, not for a while as there are plenty of other places we haven’t been to yet, but we certainly wouldn’t dissuade anyone who wanted to visit!
6 miles, 10 locks