Trent Lock Pontoon to Sainsburys, Nottingham and Beeston Canal
After breakfast we put our layers and life jackets on and said goodbye to our neighbours. Over night we protected them from the wind and the noisy lapping of the river on our hull. I suspect the pontoon also cuts down the noise, so that is the reason they were on the inside as they will be there for two weeks.
I untied the bow first (we’d moored using innie ropes) as this was only holding the boat in to the pontoon. The stern rope was doing all the work of stopping us from drifting downstream so was left until I had stepped on board having given Oleanna a little push, the flow of the river then did the rest helping her to turn.
Second left and we were into Cranfleet Cut, a big sign showing us the way north. From here everything is very familiar, three/four years ago we had to loiter near to Nottingham for me to visit the hospital weekly to get physio for my hand so we got to know the area quite well. HS2 will cross the cut in years to come and just add another railway bridge to the landscape here. The tap above Cranfleet Lock now has a tap fitted to it, there was one time when you needed molegrips to turn the water on, but as the pressure was only a trickle it wasn’t worth it, today we carried on.
No need for windlass’s today as both locks we’d be doing have them welded onto the paddle gear. The lock needed filling so the top gate paddles were lifted, all four of them. When coming up this lock you have to take care in which paddle you lift when, best to stay back and even better to share it with another boat. The Lockie grins away waist deep in the flower bed, he’s only here for show!
River cruising is good for diesel engines, no longer constrained to going slowly, it is also good for doing your washing. One load was put on before we left Trent Lock, once this was well on it’s way to finishing the dishwasher was put on. The river is wide with several obstacles you have to avoid. Today there were masses of geese, Canadian and Greylags. It was interesting to see when they decided to fly off only one species would go leaving the other behind.
At Beeston Lock a boat had just left the lock coming our way, but his didn’t mean it would be in our favour. On leaving this lock you leave a red paddle up at both ends to keep a flow of water running through Nottingham, so the chamber starts to empty straight away. Once set we worked our way down, Mick taking Oleanna to the water point whilst I closed and lifted paddles.
The cottages just by the lock have now been restored and are open as the Canal Heritage Centre. These cottages were first detailed on the 1839 census, with 21 people living on site, but by 1980 the last inhabitant moved out. By 2010 the Canal Heritage Centre Trust was formed with the aim of creating a new community facility at the workers cottages. Works were on going when we last came through April 2017 and the centre is now open to the public. There is a tea room, exhibition space along with community activities including a Classic Film Club run every two weeks in the afternoon.
We made use of the time on the water point, did another load of washing hoping to top up the tank before moving off. Keeping a watchful eye out we had lunch too, if anyone came wanting to use the services we’d have moved off, but luckily they didn’t.
Now the plod into town. The daffodils are shooting up to find light by the willow trees, we saw our first snowdrops the other day! The new bridge crossing the canal to Boots is open, bits of work still happening around it and the locals have already left their marks. The works on the off side always amuse us with the funny noises, Nottingham Ready Mix Co. Spurts of ingredients get blown from hoppers, each making slightly different shhhht noises, it’s almost musical. There seem to be more toilets too.
Just after Castle Marina the visitor moorings start, the first stretch is currently filled with cruisers who all look settled for two weeks and have left modesty gaps between themselves! New posh student rabbit hutches are going up next door to the existing block. So we had a choice of builders, students or road noise. In the end we just moored at the end of the cruisers, within easy walking distance to Sainsburys. The builders won’t be noisy at night and the building looks to be made mostly from glulam so it shouldn’t be too loud. The road quietens down overnight, lets just hope the current residential students are quieter than the first lot we encountered here who chatted and laughed away the nights.