15 miles, 17 locks, 8 hours
When I got to Langley Mill yesterday I got chatting to Val, HNBC neweletter editor, very long time boater, and former owner of Saltaire, who has moored therebfor a very long time; quite possibly forever, in fact. I said we were aiming to leave reasonably early this morning. Leave at six, she said; be at Trent Lock by twelve. Mmm, I thought, given that it had taken us ten hours to get up the Erewash, even allowing for the factbthatbwe started from Shardlow. Well, I said, we will have Jim on the bike. Oh, replied Val, a bike. It'll only take five hours then.
Needless to say I was highly sceptical. We didn't manage even to get up very early, following an excellent evening in the newly refurbished Great Northern. Since being taken over by a small local pubco,they now have five, mostly local, real ales, and two ciders, all constantly changing. They also do food, but stopped serving at eight. So we decided to have a takeway from the excellent local Indian, Merhan, and asked the new landlord if we could bring it in, as we were enjoying his beer so much. No problem, and when Jim went to fetch it the landlord brought over plates and cutlery. So we had a fabulous repast, washed down with Kelhan Island Riders on the Storm.
Thus is was that it was gone ten by the time we were ready to leave. Jim divined that another boat was about to leave, and we decided to ask them if they wanted to share locks with us - always a bit of a gamble as you can never tell what sort of boaters people are going to be, but the crew of Ella were great. By which I mean they weren't prissy about getting their blacking scratched, roping up in locks, or opening gate paddles. With Jim on the bike setting the locks ahead we worked like a well oiled machine, and between us were indeed at Trent Lock in six hours. Ella turned off towards the T&M while we headed across to the Soar. Having made such good progress we decided to keep going for a bit longer. The weather had been very good up until then, cool and dry in the morning and warmer and even a bit sunny later.
But by the time we got onto the Soar it was clouding over agian, then it began to spit, and by the time we got to Kegworth, was raining in earnest; that very fine rain that you can't hear but which makes you very wet. So having got soaked, we stopped and had a bottle of beer, and a butter bean curry cooked on the Beatrice.
Hopefully we really will get an early start tomorrow. We need to be at Foxton on Monday, which should, barring disasters, be a piece of cake, and have just decided to take a quick detour to Market Harborough.