Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Back at t'Mill

Day four, Shardlow - Langley Mill
Ten and a quarter hours, 15 miles, 18 locks (according to Canalplan)



So here we are, back in the Great Northern Basin again, after yet another uneventful day, making this, I think, our first disaster free trip. Hooray!

One thing we never really noticed with Warrior, when we came up the last time (in 2009) is the very low bridges. We knew in theory, hence we took down the deckboard and cratch before leaving; in fact we call running like this 'Erewash mode'. In practice however, it meant a lot of quick engine pipe removal, and in the end, once Jim was on the bike and I was steering alone, leaving it off entirely - with me muffled like a bandit with a hippy tie-dye scarf in the hope of fending off a few of the diesel particles. We really do need to get a titch pipe.

I remembered the Erewash as far more interesting than it actually seemed to be this time. There are some lovely old buildings at the bottom end, but most of it is semi rural looking (but with scary potential never too far away, if people are to be believed). The locks are still bloody heavy, although some of the more outlandish anti-vandal locks have been modified. A lot of the paddle gear doesn't work, meaning that sometimes you have to start with the rather effective gate paddles. That's my idea of fun, but might not suit the faint hearted.

I reckon that having Jim go ahead on the bike saved at least five minutes a lock (however long it took to empty it and get the vandal locks off) and so potentially well over an hour in total, even though we caught up with Cassiopaeia and Marquis as a result. This meant that we arrived in the basin just before it started to rain - the first rain of the trip - hooray again!



The other thing I'd forgotten is how much Trent there is on this route. Last time we came up here we came off the Soar (the way we are leaving this time) from where it's straight across into Trent Lock and the start of the Erewash. Coming from the T&M there's a bit of river to do and then a hairpin bend into the lock.

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