Thursday, 30 June 2011

Back to Sandiacre.

After spending a nice long weekend at Langley Mill we cruised back down the eleven locks. All these double locks need handcuff keys to unlock the top gates and paddle gear, some of them are rather heavy to operate too. There are some very low bridges below the locks in places, as you can see here at bridge sixteen. The wheelbarrow wheels are very useful as the sides of the Erewash Canal are lined with large stone blocks which slope inwards quite dramatically. If we didn’t use them, when moored, we would have been scrunching on the stonework.

IMG_0043 Bridge 16  IMG_0044 Sandiacre ChurchThis is the little church on the hill as we came back down towards Sandiacre. This is a very quiet canal with not many boats on the move, so we had it mainly to ourselves.


The same cannot be said about the towpath however, which is busy with cyclists and walkers non stop all day long.

IMG_0055   IMG_0053

Bottle has been busying himself rubbing down the weathered woodwork of the cratch and giving it a couple of coats of Sadolin. I have walked back to the handy Co-op in the village and wandered around taking a few photos for the blog. I have been taking it easy as I had a fall backwards and got a bump on my head, which has now gone down.  This is our idyllic mooring spot opposite the entrance to the Derby Arm on the pond above the lock.

IMG_0051 Hollyhocks   IMG_0052 double Blackberry flowers

I spied these lovely deep coloured Hollyhocks and some unusual double pink flowers on a Blackberry bush. The weather seems to be pleasing itself, sometimes a shower of rain, then hot sunshine to dry it all out again. It’s not doing Bottles varnishing much good and there is lots of sighing going on here!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Caterpillar identified.

IMG_0021 Caterpillar

This colourful little chap has now been identified by one of our keen blog readers. It is ‘Orgyia Leucostigma’, or later the White Marked Tussock Moth. We have enlarged it as we think it is quite an interesting little character.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Langley Mill.

IMG_0027 Pumping Engine House Langley Mill   IMG_0029 Great Northern basin

As we arrived on Friday we were welcomed by one of the Erewash Canal volunteers who came out from the little Pumping Engine House where they were working. He said we could moor where we liked, so we turned and moored alongside it. Our mooring above the lock this is actually on the Cromford Canal. This is the view across the basin to the Great Northern pub where we had an excellent roast Sunday lunch from the carvery and two drinks all for £16, luvly jubbly. Not surprisingly most tables were reserved and it was very busy there indeed. It was far too hot for cooking on board and I felt sorry for the lady who was carving the meat as she seemed to be melting.

IMG_0028 Tollhouse swingbridge entrance into basin 

From the side hatch we could see the old Toll House which stands on the junction of the Erewash, Cromford and Nottingham canals, which are both closed and unavigable. The Great, or rather small, Northern Basin only has room for half a dozen permanent moorers and is accessed through the swing bridge.

IMG_0035 Boatyard

A mile or so of the Cromford Canal is in water and permanent moorers line both sides of it. There is a little boatyard with a double dry-dock too, and the whole area has secure entrances, so no strolling up the Cromford for us.

IMG_0032 Smiths Flour Mill

Behind Oakfield is Smiths Flour Mill and nearby Warburton's Bread is baked, with a handy newish Asda just up the road. We also strolled down to B and Q for some Sadolin and new switches. I also got some Geraniums to go in my lovely painted pots, Bottle doesn’t like the smell of them, but that’s tough!

Luckily for us there are some tall trees along the wide grassy towpath for shelter so we have drawn the shorts on and lounged in the deckchairs in this heat wave. So, you see, we are coping quite well under all this pressure.

Basinful of Big Fish



We were informed by the fisherman who came to fish under the sign saying ‘no fishing’ that there were Perch, Roach, Tench and Chub circling around in the Junction winding hole. Some were about eighteen inches long and he reckoned the biggest weighed around two pounds. There seem to be a lack of ducks  in this area probably because ducklings are on the Pikes menu.

IMG_0033 Mile plaque

IMG_0034 14 mls from R TrentThere are two Mileage Plaques at the junction and the round one informs us that we are fourteen and three-quarter miles to the River Trent.    

Saturday, 25 June 2011

The Derby Arm.

IMG_0023 Sandiacre Lock Toll House

As we rose through Sandiacre Lock we were greeted by a delightful group of higgledy piggledy red brick cottages built in c1779. It was part lockkeepers cottage and the window this end is where the tolls would have been collected. Apparently it remains unspoilt inside retaining many original features.


The buildings have been saved and preserved by the Erewash Canal Preservation and Development Association. This plaque on the front is dedicated to it’s founder.IMG_0026 Derby Canal entrance

This picture shows the Lock/Toll Cottage and the disused Derby Arm opened in1796 goes off to the right. It is in water up to the first bridge, but from there on it was infilled after closure.  Some locals told me that the council and others filled it with rubbish and now it forms a  well surfaced nine mile cycle route into Derby. The smooth surfaced towpaths form part of Route 67 of the National Cycleway (Sustrans). There are plans underway to reopen this canal in the future. This area makes a wonderful mooring, just the continual roar of the distant traffic to spoil it a bit.

Friday, 24 June 2011


2011_06_23_0550 Springfield mill

This is the spectacular Springfield Mill which was built in 1888 and surprisingly the clock is showing the right time. Once it housed lace making machines, but now the Grade 2 listed building has been converted into one hundred and five apartments.

2011_06_23_0553 Springfield Mill (V)   2011_06_23_0555 Springfield Mill (v)

The turrets on the outside wall contain spiral staircases. The detail of the brickwork on the octagonal chimney is very intricate and pleasing. The blue bricks are impressed with ‘Tamworth’, it’s a shame that birds have planted Elderflower bushes on the top!

2011_06_23_0558 Red Lion

The Red Lion stands on the opposite side of the canal and had similar brick detailing.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The Erewash Canal.

There is a slight flow of water down the Erewash into the River Trent, so the water keeps beautifully clear. When we fed a few crumbs to the fishes they quickly made their way through the yellow water lily stems and we could see them grabbing mouthfuls of food. We think they were Dace and Rainbow Trout and they varied in size from an inch to about nine.


Two old working boats Perch and Threefellows Carrying Ltd  ( a Woolwich) came down into the locks this morning.

IMG_0012 Hyde and butty Hereford

Hyde and butty Hereford seem to be moored permanently alongside the boatyard by Trent lock with their noses being tickled by the reeds.

IMG_0015 lockhouse Tearoom 

We popped into the Lock House Tea Rooms for a snack lunch and the interior has fine displays of ‘canalia’ and other items of interest. Apparently  in the rooms below at the back there was a Blacksmiths and accommodation for workboat crews staying overnight.  There was also a cell where anyone caught thieving could be held. As we enjoyed our delicious meals we soaked up the atmosphere of it all. It tipped with rain while we were inside, but soon dried out again when the sun shone through.


So afterwards we decided to move on passing by various houseboats of all sizes, this one was the biggest.

IMG_0021   IMG_0022

There were some more red brick chimneys to admire and some of the bridges were rather low, good job we don’t have anything on the roof! Some of the old mills were still being used and some had been cleared, as in the picture on the right. This remaining chimney had been put to good use with transmitter aerials all around it. Most of the locks need a ‘conservation key’ to operate them which slowed up the proceedings.

We met six BW personnel doing an annual inspection, well they will have a lot of work to do, paddle gear missing, ‘conservation key’ locks u/s. 

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Just a Short Trip

After yesterday, travelling further than we really wanted to, we took a short trip to the Erewash canal and are now moored just above the first lock.

A short break and then a wander round to check the lie of the land,two pubs and a tea room but we resisted temptation, maybe tomorrow.

A Dutch Barge moored opposite decided to turn round  as he wanted to go back onto the Trent, well he nearly made it but then decided to go down backwards down the lock.

2011_06_21_0537 Dutch Barge

Into the lock


2011_06_21_0541 Dutch Barge

Reversing out or going astern and yes that bridge is very close

2011_06_21_0546 Dutch Barge

Made it through the second bridge and away on the Trent

We found out later that they had only just bought it, it needs a little work apparently but the beaming smiles on their faces said a lot.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Onwards to Ratcliffe on Soar.

IMG_0080 Normanton on Soar   IMG_0091

Yet another ‘perfic’ day as we reluctantly pulled away from Loughborough. As we approached Normanton on Soar the church and white fluffy clouds were brilliantly reflected in the River. Ratcliffe on Soar Power Station was working hard when we glided silently past.


IMG_0090 KegworthThere were some nice little hide-away homes along the river bank.

IMG_0081 Normanton  

IMG_0082 Normanton

There were also some large expensive looking ones with well kept gardens. No room for a boat on the mooring at the bottom of the garden though. We would have liked to moor in several places but they were either shallow or full of boats, never mind. We have shared many locks again and have moored up with our friendly fellow boaters overnight.

Queens Park.

Sunday afternoon was spent strolling across to the park to see the Carillion Tower. As we arrived the Charnwood Brass Band were playing in the bandstand among the beautiful flowerbeds. There is an aviary, fishponds, a museum and cafe within the park. After the band had finished the bells in the Carillion Tower struck up their tunes. The 4 octaves of 47 bells were cast at Taylors Bell Foundry and their sound carries all across the park and town. The tower is also a war memorial and museum room on two floors. The third floor is the Clavier Room, with a viewing balcony right at the top. On our way back we called into Wetherspoons for a lovely roast lunch with a free drink, luvly jubbly! Sorry no pictures today Dave as I left my camera behind.

IMG_0018   IMG_0022

So, here are a couple more from yesterday for you. The chap in the BR cab has treated himself to a driver experience to Leicester and back.


Great Central Railway.

It was quite a walk back up the canal towpath on Saturday to the station and we passed by Taylor’s Bell Foundry en-route.

IMG_0001 Taylor Bellfoundry

The entrance to the GCR displayed the date 1898 on the blackened gable ends of the building. It was £3 for a platform/museum/Loco Yard ticket and we could hear that some steam engines were already fired up. The booking hall and office was just as it would have been originally built in lovely dark solid wood.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             IMG_0003 GCR 1898

IMG_0004   IMG_0006 the watertower

GWR Engine 4452 was reversing back to fill up with coal and water to run around ready to take the next eight mile trip south to Leicester. Loughborough Station reflects the hustle and bustle of the 1950’s. The next station of Quorn and Woodhouse has a 1940’s theme. Rothley platform reflects the Edwardian era and Leicester North, which was opened in1991, is set in the 1960’s.  It seemed to be quite a busy day with trains leaving every hour pulled by steam and diesel engines.

IMG_0014 BR 78019 Engine   IMG_0032

British Railways Engine No 78019, built in Darlington in 1954, was welcoming diners aboard on Platform 2. The engine driver had to make do with a roll for his lunch while he waited patiently. Ten train trips a day run at weekends, some diners and some just for passengers and they all run very punctually.

IMG_0026 Station Buffet   IMG_0011

Feeling peckish we headed off to the smart Buffet Room to fill up. There was quite a selection of hot or cold food and drinks available, including alcoholic ones. This little fellow had come prepared for every eventuality, I wonder if he used to be a boy scout! There were two shops, one selling gifts and the Emporium which was crammed with all kinds of used books and railway related memorabilia and other goodies.

IMG_0036 Platform 2 departing

IMG_0039 away she goes

Here are two more images of GWR 5542 leaving for Leicester. We really enjoyed our day there soaking up the nostalgic atmosphere of sights, sounds and smells.