Almost Nottingham, spring 1991
My job as usual to clear the prop
A 1-week trip from Valley Cruises at Atherstone via the Coventry Canal,
the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal, the Trent and Mersey Canal and the River
Trent to Trent Junction and back. Total 101 miles and 62 locks.
We were intending to get to Nottingham, but we decided to stop short
and instead had a day excursion into the city by train from Long Eaton.
- Sat 1991-04-20
- To Atherstone in two cars with 2 dogs. Away on Lune Valley at 14h, sun
shining. Valley Cruises 19.2m boat, 4-cyl BMC diesel, indirectly cooled by
canal-water through a heat-exchanger, primary cooling closed circuit. Not bad
in presentation, but lacking in storage space, especially oddment ledges.
Single circular pipe heating system, gas fired and electrically pumped. Two
gas bottles, but not auto-change, and no spanner if we need to buy more.
First day to just beyond bridge 68, 8mi and 11 locks, arr at 18h. Eve to
Gate Inn, by bridge 69. Marston's Pedigree again.
- Sun 1991-04-21
- Away at 8h30, in damp and dismal weather. 14+1/2mi and 7 locks. Windy,
stuck on the towpath side for 1/2 hour before Balls bridge, eventually punted
it across and held on ropes on off-side and started from there. Got caught
coming out of a few bridge holes as well. Lunch at Swan at Whittington,
1250-1350. Won a chicken and associated vegetables in their raffle, which
were locally produced and excellent. Then on in rain to Fradley junc, where
water for 15 mins, and down Trent and Mersey as far as Alrewas, just below
Bagnall lock by 18h10. This boat quite difficult to steer in wind for some
reason - it seems all right, then suddenly the nose does something unexpected.
Today is census day, and we're caught at the evening mooring. We have to fill
in a form for the boat, even though we've all done one for our homes. Eve to
Navigation in Alrewas, filling in the census form between us with the boat as
address; should provide some interesting statistics. Fairly decent pub but
- Mon 1991-04-22
- Away at 8h15, in sunshine. Few locks, spaced well apart. Not much of
Burton-on-Trent visible from the canal, and only Bass and Marston's breweries
identify themselves. Sights now set a little lower than Nottingham, perhaps
Long Eaton, and then take a train from there. Lunch at Green Dragon, 50m from
canal at Willington, by bridge 23, arr 13h10. Then water here and away at
14h35. Keep going well all afternoon, to Shardlow, just before bridge 2, by
19h30. Total today 23mi and 11 locks. Broad locks from Stenson onwards very
heavy. Eve to "Malt Shovel", Shardlow (Marston's). Hard day.
- Tue 1991-04-23
- Away at 8h30 in gloom, getting to Trent Junct about 10h. Take on water
in entrance to Erewash canal, then moor pointing homeward just outside the
entrance. A lot of water here on the river Trent, quite different from driving
on the narrow canal. Weirs also. Crew apart from me to Nottingham, by train
from Long Eaton, me looking after the dogs and reading. Away again 15h20, boat
going slower upstream in the river. Up through Shardlow and back onto decent
canals again, arr Weston upon Trent, above lock, at 18h20. Short walk to Old
Plough in village. 9mi and 7 locks.
- Wed 1991-04-24
- Under way at 9h05, managed to unblock the forward bog. Dull, but mild.
Through the broad section by 11h45, back onto real canal now. Stop at
Willington, above bridge 23, at 12h30, then take on water and lunch at the
Green Dragon again. Lots of good food and cheap, but vegetables boiled to
oblivion. Back in motion at 14h30. Stop to remove a load of rope and a piece
of steel reinforcing bar from the prop by bridge 32B (about 20 mins, using
the bread-knife), get to Branston, beyond bridge 34, at 17h45. Our least
capable steerer, supposedly being supervised by a more experienced crew
member, got the rope caught round the prop and tiller, couldn't steer so
tried going faster, and rammed the lock hard. Rope is broken too. The
supervisor just did nothing. Never trust anybody. Today 15mi and 4 locks.
Eve to Bridge Inn, by bridge 34, Pedigree and Owd Roger from the cask and
- Thu 1991-04-25
- Away at 9h. Windy and difficult to steer. I went aground on the towpath
side by the weir N of Alrewas and had problems getting it to point towards
lock 12, let alone get in straight. Fun. Moored for lunch just onto the
Coventry at Fradley Junct, at 13h15. Water 15 mins below Barton lock. Lunch
at Swan at junction and bought map in adjacent shop. Afternoon ended at
Hopwas, just S of Dixons bridge, between the Chequers (Courage) and the Red
Lion (Ind Coope), at 18h. Today 15mi and 9 locks. Afternoon no locks and 8 mi
in 3+1/4 hrs, average 2.5 mi/h. Eve to Chequers, juke-box, no atmosphere,
but good evening despite that.
- Fri 1991-04-26
- Leave Hopwas at 08h30. To Polesworth, bridge 54, at 12h00. Bully Head
(M+B, but Bass available, fortunately) for lunch and visit to village. Away
again 13h55. Dropped my specs into the canal just below the bottom gates of
Atherstone bottom lock, so I'm now on the spare pair. Thunderstorm during
the flight caught us unprotected. Called at boatyard for re-assurance on
quality of winding-holes, then went on to turn just beyond bridge 34 (plenty
of width but not very much depth) and moor at same spot as three years ago,
just N of bridge 36, 1815. Today 15mi and 13 locks. Tomorrow just under a
mile, so total for the trip is about 100mi and 62 locks. A slack week, but
going has been slow everywhere but in the river sections. Eve to Plough in
Mancetter about 1km walk from canal.
- Sat 1991-04-27
- To boatyard by 8h15. Today 1mi and 0 locks. Eve to Dragon Inn Chinese at
Leighton Buzzard with the whole boat crew. Fuel 59l = 37l/100km, or