Monday 24 March 2008

Stenson to Nottingham

Monday 24 March 2008
Stenson to Nottingham Day 4
Trent and Mersey, River Trent and Nottingham Canal

Miles 21

Locks 9
Hours 8

Winter returned with a vengeance today. Cloudy and cold, sunny and cold, snowy and cold but always cold. The final run into Sharldow was uneventful, accompanied by a flurry of Canaltime boats making their way back to base at Sawley Marina.

Shardlow is a quaint old place with lots of antique canal buildings lining the cut. It makes a fitting end to the Trent and Mersey. We finally reached the Trent proper at Derwentmouth which elicited a wow from all on board.

After the narrow canals the Trent seems huge and a bit humbling. Whilst the river lever was well in the green zone (as it has been at Alrewas), there was a strong current which pushed us along quite quickly as we came to terms with a completely new set of signs and rules of the road. The stretch to Nottingham included the Cranfleet and Beeston Cuts which are canalised sections built to avoid particularly difficult bits of the river. As a result, you never feel that you have reached the river “proper” and instead just keep dipping your toe in and out.

Finally, the Beeston Cut changes to the Nottingham Canal at Lenton Chain and countryside gave way to industry. SS is of the opinion that most Canal approaches to major cities are dismal and squalid, and Nottingham is no exception! Fortunately the industrial section is mercifully brief and we made it to the moorings outside Sainsburys before they closed. We met up with the Bag people (Mum, Dad and little S) for fish and chips and left our car at the Premier Inn for the night, ready to take Tilly to School in Derbyshire on Tuesday morning. We had a sad Tilly who would have preferred to continue with us on the boat.

Watch out for the amazing riverbank huts above Nottingham. They come in all shapes and sizes but my favourites were the two story versions, one a wooden hut with delusions of grandeur and secondly the part completed steel and glass “grand designs” jobbo built on stilts.

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