Thursday 1st September; Stenson to Branston and beyond
In spite of our closeness to modern transport routes it was mostly quiet overnight. Dave woke early and decided to top up the antifreeze, most of which was lost when we had our little overheating incident in July. We were still away by 9.30. The cooling towers of the defunct Willington power station are visible for miles across the Trent flood plain. A passer-by told me that peregrines are nesting, so they can’t be demolished; when I looked it up I found various sites by industrial archaeology enthusiasts waxing lyrical about these massive structures. It seems access is easy and you can get in underneath a tower for a good look.
It turned out we would have done better last night to have come closer to Willington, where there are long stretches of good towpath moorings between the marina and the village. Maybe not entirely healthy here for everyone though….
We stopped at the service block, before mooring and popping into the village for some milk. Nb Alfie, the boat with the amazing artwork we saw on the Soar, was moored and we saw that the starboard side has a view of Southend.
In the fields beyond was this beautiful boy with his lady friend making cow eyes at him.
On the way to Burton we passed the viaduct over the river Dove. One hot summer years ago we were on our old share boat and saw teenagers having a whale of a time jumping into a pool from the parapet. There is a lot more tree growth on the drier parts now.
Dallow lock in Burton upon Trent is the first of the narrow locks on the Trent and Mersey, and with its small rise of 3’ 6” was a welcome change from the massive double locks we have been using for most of this trip. We stopped at the lovely Shobnall Fields moorings for lunch, where Meg had a lovely game of ball in the park before we went on towards Branston Water Park.
Foolishly, we didn’t take one of the moorings available below the bridge. There was a space above the bridge but the vegetation on the offside came out so far that there wouldn’t have been room for other boats to pass. Once the Armco piling ends the edges are too shallow and/or overgrow to moor comfortably so we had to go on up Tatenhall lock, above which is the historic British Waterways Hadley.
We found a good spot to moor a few hundred yards further along. It was quiet by the time we moored, but on the offside a huge housing development is under way. A partly built house and great piles of bricks were just visible beyond the trees. But any further along would have brought us too close to the A38 which runs alongside the canal.
We went off for walks and runs round the water park, though Dave and Meg retreated to the towpath as dogs are supposed to be kept on leads in the park. It rained later on during the evening but it stayed hot and muggy.
9 and a half miles, 3 locks