Out of Nottingham

From Holme Lock Weir Entrance to Shardlow, a distance of 16 miles, 1¼ flg and 8 locks.

There had been a festival on in Nottingham and according to the lockie at Holme Lock there had been over 160 boats penned through Sawley lock on Sunday – so I was imagining that it could be a pretty busy day

We got to Meadow Lane Lock just before three other boats so we shared the lock with one of them – which makes it a lot easier to work as you can be a bit more vigorous with the paddles. We worked through Castle Lock with them too but they were pulling into the marina. We stopped at the Sainsbury’s to do a shop and drop off some post but this Sainsbury’s does not have a post box – it’s been sealed shut and the nearest one is apparently somewhere on Lenton Boulevard, or some other grandiosely named place.

Coming past Lenton Chain a small cabin cruiser made it clear he wanted to come past even though we were pretty much doing the speed limit. Obviously pulling a wash that breaks over the towpath counts as OK in these parts. However as we approached Redfield Road Bridge it looked like the mad boater had had an accident as there was another small open topped boat and his boat both floating round and a strong smell of petrol and people were on phones and saying things.

So we left them to it, having not witnesses anything (apart from him acting like an arse) and headed off towards Beeston.

Two boats had just left Beeston Lock No 4 and were heading upstream. The lock has two paddles, one at each end, which are painted red and both of these paddles MUST be left open when leaving the lock – but apparently the crews on the two boats didn’t think it applied to them as the left them both closed.

There is a pretty long mooring jetty above the lock which I assume is for you to pull up against when coming down stream to let crew off for the lock. But apparently it’s actually for using to paint your boat and to moor against whilst you enjoy a glass of wine or a pint of lager.

We made our way slowly upstream but soon caught up, and then passed, not one but both of the boats that had left the lock before we got to it. One of the things we were told when we first ventured out onto the big commercial waterways and rivers was to check at regular intervals to see what might be sneaking up on you. Obviously neither of these boat crews had ever heard of that as they seemed rather surprised that we were there.

We arrived at the abomination that is Cranfleet Lock No 3 where we seemed to take someone on the lock by surprise as he was crew for one of the two boats we’d passed and he wasn’t expecting us. There was a boat to come down and they were just going to turn in the weir entrance and go back up and off up the River Soar so we shared the lock with them which made it slightly less of a chore.

We followed them up to Trent Junction and they turned to the left and we carried on up the river to Sawley Locks No 2 where we, once again, filled up with water and got rid of the rubbish. It’s actually quite a sneaky move as it’s only a couple of minutes walk from the services jetty over to the lock which was, as before, under boater operation, and the moorings right below the lock are a pain which seems to involve climbing on the roof to get off the boat.

We continued up stream to Shardlow quite expecting the place to be heaving but actually it wasn’t and we moored up within feet of the Shardlow Milepost for the night.

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