Alrewas

on

We’ve pretty much had a couple of perfect days.  Warm and sunny, with a lot of other boats coming the other way! 

We started off at a bright & early 8am (which seemed to strike a nice balance between needing to get going & acknowledging that it is actually a holiday). Generally we find that lots of people up and about way before us, but yesterday it seemed that we were the first of the day to enter Beeston lock, and from there we were off up the river Trent.
A few weeks ago we’d viewed the river with some trepidation, and much muttering from P about needing an anchor. Today (anchor safely stowed) it felt like we were old pros as we chugged up the river with its benevolently low and calm waters.

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Lifeboat at Cranfleet Lock

Cranfleet lock has a lock keeper, and a lifeboat.  The lock was in our favour, and there were no other boats about, so we chatted with the keeper & were off again.
From there it’s hardly any time until we saw the bridges and double locks at Sawley. The locks were open, and another boat was pulling in, so we locked with them.
Sawley was the limit of our previous adventures, so everything past the marina here was uncharted territory for us – we were through the flood lock, and off to explore the world (a slight exaggeration).
I had a slight panic about all the choices at the junction of the Derwent/Trent & Mersey/Shardlow marina, especially as the signpost to the canal is faded and I had to commit to my choice before I could see that it was the right way to go. Our first challenge here was locking with another narrowboat plus **gulp** a cruiser. They just don’t seem to be made of very stern stuff, and I’m nervous of a accidently crushing one with the 14 tons of steel that is Jethro. I doubt that “whoops, sorry!” would go very far as we watched someones pride & joy disappear beneath the murky waters of the canal. Although most likely (canals being what they are) it’d only sink a couple of feet, and we’d achieve fame of a sort from appearing in a Towpath Talk  feature on cavalier narrowboaters.
Fortunately the cruiser survived, although not thanks to our rusty centre line carabiner coming unclipped during the lift.  Slightly embarrassing, especially as I nearly fell in as a result, but at least it prompted us to replace it with a new clamp holding the rope to the centre ring 🙂

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