Friday 18 July 2008

The Canal to Ourselves today!

8 Locks 7 miles, now moored below Potters Lock, Erewash Canal.

Things were not looking favourable this morning as it was still raining quite heavily as it had been all night. At about 9am there was a break in the weather so we opted to make a move. The canal is not the widest of canals but it is in pretty good condition with most of the lock gates being replaced over the last decade.

We had passed several mooring sites but chose not to use them due to noise from the railway or the M1 motorway. This meant travelling further than usual until we found somewhere suitable. We did have the occasional shower of rain along the way but it wasn't bad enough to force us to moor up in a hurry.

Eventually we moored up below Potters lock at Ilkeston which turned out to not be the best of places as it is opposite a local playground. There were some boys building a swing in a willow tree just a little way further up the canal and some of them took to throwing stones which came pretty close to the boat. I went out and gave them an earful and Dot produced the camera which had the desired effect as they all turned their backs or pulled up their hoodies to conceal their identity. Five of these youths thought better of it and left and the others were of no further concern. A short while later I got talking to an elderly lady out walking her dogs who I had seen talking to the remaining youths. She told me that the one's she spoke to were OK and she knew them all but the other 5 were from a neighbouring village or estate and were known trouble makers.

After this we had a good chat about the canal and she told me that it badly needs dredging but BW can't do it as the sediment on the bottom is toxic and needs specialist disposal which is very expensive. It all comes back to money doesn't it! Mind you for the amount of boats using this canal it could be put well down the job list. We have not seen any other boats on the move except the 3 that came through the Trent lock behind us. They might just use the Long Eaton area for safe overnight mooring before venturing down the Trent or Soar. It is a shame really as this is a very well maintained stretch of canal and more use should be made of it.

This afternoon we went off on a discovery walk and found the dis-used Langley Mill to Nottingham canal which is about ½ mile further up the hillside above our present position. It has been tidied up by the local council and the towpath is wide and well trimmed and used by many cyclists together with the Erewash canal towpath they are popular short cuts in the area avoiding congested roads. This evening I did see about 15 cyclists go past on their way home from work in convoy.

As well as the Nottingham canal there is also the Nutbrook and Cromford canals in the region but only the latter has any hope of restoration. The other 2 were closed due to mining subsidence and much has disappeared without trace.

Interesting white cygnet seen with other siblings today. Any ideas?

1315 locks, 1896 miles, 43 Tunnels, 42 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

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