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Archive for July 21st, 2011

The Odyssey 2011: Day 22

Posted by indigodream on 21 July, 2011

Sawley Marina to Nottingham (County Hall)

Saturday 8th July

Sundown at Sawley....

We had a droll phonecall from Graham of nb Matilda Rose on Friday night asking which bit of the M25 we were parked on – hah! We decided to give the car park a miss this week and instead had a relaxed start to our holiday. We took our time to get ready and finished the crucial bits of the home to-do list before setting off. We had a good journey to the boat and were excited to see Indigo Dream’s newly blacked bottom – WOW – she looked great! Our somewhat irritating marina neighbours, who generally punctuated every sentence with “F*** ’em”, actually gave us a glowing account of the work done by Colorado so we were satisfied that it was a job well done.

We loaded the dogs on board without incident – amazing considering that a cat shot across the pontoon in front of us and was later sunning itself rather arrogantly on the boat roof opposite! We left the dogs on board – we were still brested up on a high pontoon so we were only going to give them one chance to fall in! We then headed off for Tesco in Long Eaton (NG10 1HG) – only a few miles away. There’s a huge retail park there with an Asda as well so there’s plenty of choice. We did a big shop, with Richard doing the vital calculation of how many Jumbones we’d need to satisfy three greyhounds and their friends for a week. On the way we spotted the Erewash Canal, which looked interesting enough for a visit – alas that’ll have to be another year. We also noted the position of Long Eaton station, a mile from Sawley Marina – this was to be important for the end-of-week car shuffle.

Access to our mooring was a bit awkward so we moved to the service pontoon to onload the shopping direct from the car before moving to moor on the towpath opposite. It’s a popular spot, but even at 6pm there were several spaces available. Ty, predictably, wasn’t happy – there were too many people around and there were the distant bangs from a clay pigeon shooting event. It had been a toss-up as to whether to bring Ty, but we wanted to see whether he’d settle to boating if we gave him a longer period to get used to it. I’ll give an update on that later. In the meantime, the towpath was quiet enough for the hounds to have a bobble, Ty panicked and decided to join another boat (fortunately unoccupied); we got him back quickly enough but it made us doubt our decision to bring him – ah well, early days….

Sunday 10th July

We had guests joining us today – Richard’s sister’s old university friend Kym and other half Nick – they live locally and we couldn’t resist the opportunity to offer them a cruise. Kym’s not been well and we needed to bring the boat a bit closer for her. Luckily there was plenty of room on the visitor mooring and as BWML moorers we have reciprocal mooring  rights at all BWML marinas – handy. We filled with water whilst the men did a car shuffle and Kym and I got better acquainted – you just can’t beat sitting on the back deck, soaking up the summer sun and watching the world go by. There was plenty to see – a whole flotilla of little wooden steam launches went past with a mellow tooting of their whistles. We waved enthusiastically but few waved back – understandable when you’ve got a large fire in the middle of a small wooden boat 🙂

Steam 'launch' - part of flotilla of 10 or more - charming....

By mid-morning we were off, enjoying a fine trip downriver – up here the river is vibrant with boating life – including a raft (literally) of kayaks and canoes full of children horsing around under the enthusiastic instruction of their coaches. We were agog at the junction with the Soar and the Erewash – it’s enormous, and though there’s a signpost upriver showing the junction the turn to the Trent doesn’t become apparent until you’re on top of it. However the weir is apparent from every angle so that’s easy to miss at least. Cranfleet Cut is not so interesting but the river beyond is lovely, flanked by the Attenborough Nature Reserve. Past Beeston lock the river is canalised once again – the moorings marked on the Nicholsons were on a high-ish wall and shallow in places – we were dismayed as the hounds needed a pit stop by now. However the towpath beyond Turnover Bridge is at a handy height and deep enough for us to moor up and let the hounds off. We moored opposite a uniquely bearded individual who owns a shack and a small boat offside – he had  several dogs who set off a vigorous cross-canal conversation with Lou. He also had a goose who was not at all bothered by his dogs – he told us that the goose terrorises the hounds if they try it on!

Unfortunately I was too busy chatting to take detailed notes but I did take note of the contrasts in scenery as we approached Nottingham – there are wild river banks, open countryside, isolated villages (usually around locks) then there is the city. Nottingham itself seemed to be full of contradictions – a mix of old mill and warehouse buildings interspersed with modern glass and concrete designs – I confess that I prefer the old buildings to the glass constructions, which seem so cold and soul-less by comparison. I only have vague impressions of this stretch, however I vividly remember Meadow Lane Lock and the acute turn towards the County Hall moorings! The river had seemed narrow and enclosed coming through town, but it widens impressively here and the County Hall moorings are very grand. There are ample mooring spaces here with handy mooring rings set at different levels along the stepped bank. Unfortunately the moorings are on the left hand side (looking upstream) – sadly the steps adjacent to the park opposite are marked “no mooring”.

We’d had particularly fine weather today but it clouded over as the afternoon wore on and we fortunately moored up two minutes before a huge cloudburst soaked the boat. The County Hall moorings are within sight of the iconic Trent Bridge and its associated football and cricket grounds; however it is not particularly close to the town centre. We hopped into Nick’s car and went off to “Red Hot Buffet” – a world buffet restaurant. I think it’s fair to say that it focussed on quantity rather than quality but it was a fun dining experience and we had a very convivial evening……

Photoblog:

Apologies to photographer readers – our photos are rather dark – we’ve found that it’s easy to accidentally change the settings via a little wheel at the back of the camera and we unwittingly took lots of photos before we realised…. Worse to save time when on holiday we had not used the raw format setting which is a real shame as it is would have been so much easier to lighten the photographs. The software we use for image editing (Canon’s DPP and Photoelf) is pretty simple and getting jpg images lighter seems to be a bit of a fiddle and too time consuming on a busy week. On top of that we have this strange effect of photos getting half a stop or so darker when we compress them for the blog.

Steamer Chantilly...

Steamer Senta...

Signpost!

View onto the vast junction of the Rivers Trent and Soar and the Erewash Canal...

The turn onto the Erewash Canal...

That's the Trent straight ahead...

That's the turn onto the Soar - the weir is well-marked...

River life at Cranfleet Lock....

River view....

Unusual chalet...

The imposing power station at Ratcliffe on Soar - you can see it for miles around...

There are all sorts of fisher'men' along the river!

There are lots of interesting riverside dwellings between Sawley and Nottingham..

There are some big boats on the big river....

Waiting above Beeston Lock....

View along the first part of Beeston Cut....

Goose guarding this unique canalside camp....

Nottingham's waterfront (1)

Nottingham waterfront (2)

Nottingham Waterfront (3)

A famous name on that warehouse....

Nottingham waterfront (4)...

Nottingham waterfront (5).....

Nottingham waterfront (6)....

Nottingham waterfront (7).....

Nottingham waterfront (8)...

An acute turn across the river to get from Meadow Lane Lock to the County Hall moorings....

View across to the County Hall moorings (taken the following morning)...

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