Sunday, 26 February 2012

Sad News - Body Found near Fradley

Unfortunately, it would seem that the body found in the wood near Fradley, is that of missing person Thomas Haddock.  Sad end to such a young life.

Back track Willington to Fradley

After the goings on over the last few days, there's a few photos I haven't yet included, so I'm back tracking over the last few days.  Rewind .....

This boat's found the stash of wood near Willington ...

so has this one (both boats painted red oxide liveaboard colours)

I've blogged in the past of houses which go to great lengths to hide the canal from view, however, this is how you make the most of a canal view....

Swans, swans and more swans.  I counted over 70 swans in this one field.

This poor chap's got an 'angel wing', it's a development problem and not a broken wing, but he's unable to fly.  Doesn't seem to affected him much - he's huge!

Back past the weir below Alrewas, then left turn across the trent up the lock. 

We had a lovely night with Dot & Dave in Alrewas to celebrate Dot's birthday.  Then it was an early start (for us) with the aim of getting a good run into Stone.  But the best laid plans and all that, we got as far as Fradley, where the canal had been closed, as in my last couple of blogs.

They may be narrow locks, but these shortened lock beams are extremely difficult to close.  The end bit is at a 90 degree angle to the beam in order to accommodate the bridge. 

BW cutting back the hedgerow.  It would seem to be the wrong time of year to be doing this, just as the birds start nesting.  Those black thorns are a real pain for cyclists,

Seat in the Swan pub:  What does it mean?
Will you buy me a pint if I tell you?

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Canal open again, Fradley to Kings Bromley

The police completed their search of the canal from Kings Bromley to Fradley & BW started re-watering the pound from Wood End Lock to Shadehouse at around 5pm, which had been virtually empty since Wednesday morning.  The pound below Shadehouse was also de-watered and searched.  The news is that the police didn't find the body of the missing 20 year old, which has to be good news, as there's still a hope that he will turn up alive and well somewhere. 

The empty pound below Shadehouse Lock.  The boats on the long term moorings on the left had moved down out of the pound a few days ago, as this section was due to be dredged - after complaints from the moorers that they couldn't get near the bank - not surprising when you see how much mud and silt had built up.

Boaters have been out scouting for the odd windlass etc,

No room for us to moor at the top of Shadehouse.  One of the boats caught up in the fluctuating water levels is Malcolm Edwards OBE, or Mal of the Canal as he is better known.  (Hello to Mike & Hazel from Mal).  The boat movements started at 0640 this morning.  It's the first time I've seen 0640 in the am rather than the pm, for a long time!  We've resorted to 'Plan B' and I've got a lift from Dot & Dave to Lichfield station on Sunday, so we're hanging around Fradley for another day so we can watch the rugby.  We've made good use of the facilities at Francton Junction - the laundrette - I know you were thinking I was going to mention the pub - ah well, don't mind if I do ......

Friday, 24 February 2012

Stuck in Fradley AGAIN - this time due to police incident

After an early start from Alrewas, the plan was to do a quick sprint to Stone, so I could get a train easily on Sunday.  However, we didn't get very far due to the canal being closed from Shadehouse lock to Woodend lock.  The police have drained the pound, and are searching for a missing man, who was last seen in that area last Saturday night.  The search began on Wednesday morning.  The police are at this moment wading through the canal, also with a boat with some kind of ultrasound scanning thing.  They want to rule out that the missing man isn't in the canal before allowing boat traffic through.  As you can imagine, Fradley is a very busy place today with boats stacking up.  The police can''t say when the canal will be re-watered, but in any case it will take a day at least before the levels are up.  So we're stuck here again, this time outside the pub.  Just hope the bloke turns up alive and well somewhere.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Onwards to The Trent

When leaving the village of Shardlow, you come across these floodgates, with a traffic light system, according to flood conditions.  River levels are 'normal' but not normal for this time of year, if you see what I mean.  No red lights today, and gates are open, so we carried on to....

Derwent Mouth Lock.  Indicator board is below the green at this point - safe to proceed..

Onto The Trent, hmm, so this is 'normal' is it?
The Trent emerging from the right (with the new Long Horse Bridge in the background)

The River Derwent coming in from the left.
The River Trent veers off to the left.

The indicator board at the Sawley end of the river doesn't show as much green as the Shardlow end.  The river was a bit too choppy for my liking.

Through Sawley Flood lock, into Sawley marina with Nottingham (Ratcliffe)  power station in the background, where we grappled with the automated self service diesel pump.  Eventually it started dispensing diesel after many attempts (card in, not recognised, card out, card in, wrong pin, card out, card in, time expired due to inactivity of customer, card out etc), all the while, this boat was moored opposite us...

This is the view of the Trent from Sawley locks, with a goods train passing overhead,
River Trent, heading towards Nottingham.
Sawley locks
We decided that this was the point at which we turned round and headed back.  We've both got a few commitments over the forthcoming weekends, and need to be nearer train stations.  Well, that's our excuse anyway, the fact that we don't particularly like rivers, and it's not our idea of having a fun time, has nothing to do with it! So we turned at the top of Sawley locks, and headed back up the Trent.  Mind you, having watched Timothy Spall last night battling with the north sea, we did feel rather spineless!

Under the M1 (no, I'm not in the Stobart fan club, but good photo)
Dave getting colder, bobbing along.

Straight on Dave - head for the green sign back onto the canal bit, and breathe......

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Going North Down the Trent & Mersey

We had a look at Mercia Marina, as we were moored near to it NB Takey Tezey moors here, wow - it's huge. After a visit to Midland Swindlers Chandlers, we set off towards Derby, Nottingham, well north, then east.

View of the entrance to Mercia Marina off the Trent & Mersey canal, with Willington Power Station dominating the sky line.
At Stenson, the locks become large wide ones, with a very powerful intake of water from the top gates.
Don't panic - I was filling the lock waiting for Beefur to arrive and travel down hill.  You wouldn't want this lot on your front deck!
We moored up at Weston-On-Trent, we were amazed at the lack of boats around here.  We passed the odd one, and moored above Weston Lock on our own, however, within half an hour, two boats had moored up behind us - not surprising really- with views like this from your kitchen window.

Dave was disappointed to discover that "The Old Plough" had been bulldozed to make way for a housing estate, but very pleased to find "The Coopers Arms", a rather grand building, with a car park full of 4 X 4's with personalised number plates.  He persevered, and found a lovely bar with great real ales, and the best fireplace we've seen for a long time .
Round every corner - more lopped trees - there's more wood round here than you can shake a stick at.  Despite lots of trees been cut down, there's still rather alot overhanging the canal, waiting to catch one's aerial.  Thankfully the canal is very quiet, so we're able to dodge the worst of them.

Beefur going downhill in one of the big locks.  The gates are extremely heavy - my sciatica's playing up something awful!  We were moving over the weekend, which meant LOTS of gongoozlers.  "Wow, those gate seem really difficult to move".  "Yes - they are - I'm struggling to close them just for your entertainment, no need to help, just stand and watch me heave".
And into Shardlow, with it's beautiful old buildings and old wharves.

This one, now a pub, is the old 18thC Trent Mill - no we didn't investigate further!

Old warehouse building with a now filled in arm

Converted warehouses

I love this house - well it's garden anyway - it's got a miniture train track running all the way round it.

Dave took this pic, it's where there used to be moorings & seemed a nice little community going on here years ago.  Now, nothing, no sign of any boats.  Dave remembers it as "the cuttle" , opposite this rather grand building...