FRIDAY 18TH TO THURSDAY 24TH MAY 2012
The weather forecasters are promising warmer temperatures but when we set off on Friday morning several layers of clothing were still needed. We pushed on straight through interesting Shardlow, reassuringly the floodgate was open as we continued once more on to the wide River Trent. The last time we cruised down the Sawley Cut the sun sparkled off the shiny hulls of the moored river cruisers, today it was uniformly grey as we dropped down, the keeper operated, Sawley lock and traversed the mile of windy river to the junction of the River Soar and the Erewash Canal. Here we fought the wind and current to enter the safe haven of the canal via the towpath bridge and lock and moored on the visitor moorings just beyond the BW facilities.
We enjoyed an excellent lunch at the Trent Lock pub on Saturday, before Jacquie’s goddaughter, husband and baby Florence arrived for after noon tea. Little Florence was just a tiny babe in arms when they visited us last autumn at Gunthorpe, but now she was confidently exploring the boat, but it took her time to accept that Duggie’s interest in her was only as a potential playmate.
Rather than reversing back to the turning point, just above the lock, on Sunday, we motored on for about a mile to turn at the winding hole, this was made a little more difficult by a moorhen who had made it’s next and laid her clutch of eggs right beside the V where my bow was heading for. SKYY turned and the nest and eggs fortunately survived and we were shortly back onto the still grey waters of the Trent and immediately onto the Cranfleet cut. BW staff were on duty at the other end ensuring our safe return to the River. After four miles of generously bendy river, Beeston Lock heralded our approach to Nottingham. An overhead screech made me look upwards to spy a tern hovering over our stern, it followed us for quite a while, maybe hoping we would throw some bread to it, but that thought didn’t occur to me until it bade us farewell, we also passed a Robinson Crusoe like character and his boat and dogs on the cut.
We moored just before the thoughtfully situated Sainsbury’s store. There are plentiful moorings further on that are closer to the town centre, but this suited us fine and we spent an undisturbed night here. The seventeen century building that stands upon the rock upon which the infamous castle of Robin Hood fame is still imposing, as much for the huge rock that rises straight up from the flat ground that surrounds it.
On Monday we left behind the urban of the Nottingham cut and moved to the tranquillity of the river. It was beginning to warm up after a cold start as we passed through Holme and Stoke Locks. I polished up my VHF protocol to call the lock keepers to ensure that they knew we were on our way. As the sun eventually burst through we passed under Gunthorpe road-bridge, in fact the only bridge in the 24 miles between Nottingham and Newark and tied up at the visitor pontoon.
Our good friends Ann and Brian live at nearby East Bridgeford, so we will spend a few days visiting them. This spot known as the Nottingham Rivera is very attractive and full of sun worshipping visitors, arriving by car, motor bike as well as boat, a pub and three restaurants cater for every taste. Last night, Wednesday, we dined, extremely well, at Tom Brown’s which not too surprisingly is set in the old school house and today we are just taking it easy before joining our chums who I expect will cater for our need.