Buddying Up with another Narrowboat on the Trent & Mersey Canal

Hello, Thanks very much for watching. I
know I’m not on a towpath today. I’m at the opticians getting some new glasses.
Yeah, I think these are the ones. Every time I’ve driven past this section of
the River Soar I’ve always thought I’d love to moor up at this spot and this
time I have. It’s really, really quiet, there’s a little bit of traffic from the
A453 but down on the waterside, it’s really, really, silent. In fact, it’s so
silent the first night I stayed here, there wasn’t a sound anywhere and I woke
up in the middle of the night wondering what on earth was going on. There’s
enough space for two boats here, if you moor considerately. Some people will just
moor right in the middle and stop another boat being able to fit in. I on
the other hand have moored right to the very, very end and on one of the nights,
someone did actually moor right in front of me. It was only a hire boat so they
were only there for the one night. There’s no one around really, it’s really,
really nice and peaceful. The closest village will be Kegworth
and it’s just north of Kegworth Flood Lock. I’ll put a link in the description
below for the GPS coordinates of this spot because it’s well worth a
visit. I want to get back to sort of Swarkestone area today because I’ve got
an appointment to meet some people on Monday morning and I want a bit of an
easy weekend to be honest. This is great. I don’t have to do anything,
the shear flow of the River Soar going that
way is pushing the nose of Alice around. So I’m just letting it go.
[Music] Just going under the A453. It’s a dual
carriageway, which is like a bit of a busy highway and it joins the M1
motorway with Nottingham. Now, I have driven and on this road thousands of
times and it’s always a really nice feeling to go underneath it. [Music] Leaving the A453 behind, I travel
north through Redhill Marina. Just after the marina is Redhill Lock. Now, this is
a flood lock and it does closed as soon as the river floods, so make sure you
check that before you travel. I then turn onto a wide expanse of water at
Thrumpton Weir. This is where the River Soar meets the River Trent, the Erewash
Canal and the Cranfleet Cut. I will be heading west on the River Trent.
Sawley Cut is quite a protected part of the river and to the north there’s lots
and lots of mooring and to the south it’s full of residential mooring and
Sawley Marina. Then back out onto the River Trent where it meets the mouth of
the River Derwent. This is now the start of the Trent and Mersey Canal. I then
travel through the village of Shardlow and to the south of Aston-on-Trent and
Weston-on-Trent and hopefully I will moor up just before Swarkestone. This view here gets me every time – big
cooling towers sticking up out of the ground. I wonder how long ago this lock
used to be in action. It’s clearly a lock but it’s quite a lot
higher than the other one. It’s always really nice sharing wide locks like this with people like Mick
and Polly who are viewers. Hello to you! The boat doesn’t move around as much in
the lock and it’s a lot more controlled and you can open the paddles fully and
there’s no risk of the boat going bashing into the sides. {water sploshing} Blimey you’ve got to be careful when coming through Redhill Marina because
the wind pushes the boat towards these moored boats, from off the fields. I
nearly had an incident then but I was able to recover the stern of the boat
and swing it around. See, it’s quite windy. Do you remember almost two years ago when travelling north on the River Severn
with another grey narrowboat, Andy and Carolyn?
Well, they’ve just bought a Dutch barge and this is it. I just had a viewer, in the boat behind
me there, shouting across to me, Jono have you not finished that boat yet!
No, not really. [Music] Just around the corner here on the Trent,
there’s a boat that’s doing some quite wild manoeuvres. There is a wider space
just around the corner where they could turn around so I’ve got feeling they are
on a helmsman course and the helmsman trainer is putting them through their
paces. Yes I was right there was a helmsman on board and the two owners of
the boat were required to turn around in the middle of the river. Now going on a
Helmsman course is really, really good. I went on one, a two-day course before I
got Alice. I wanted to make sure that I could control a boat on my own. I wanted
to make sure that Molly was okay on boats and I did the two-day course. I
hired the boat as well as the helmsman. You can either do that or get the
helmsman to come on to your own boat but I did it the other way around because I
didn’t have Alice at that point. And I found it really, really valuable.
There was lots and lots of training through locks, what to do, what not to do.
What to look out for as well as man overboard,
as well as turning around in crazy areas like on the river just like this. That’s
why I thought it might be a helmsman training as well as mooring up and just
solo navigating for me. Obviously, the training would be customised to your
needs. I don’t think it was a waste of money in the slightest.
I hear lots of people say oh it’s a waste of money because it was about £200
a day if I remember correctly about just over two and a half years ago. I’m just waiting for the other boat to
come and join me in the lock. To make sure that I’m over to one side, I’ve put
my centre line up around a bollard and I’m holding on to it. I can pull the boat
backwards and forwards with this and it keeps me solid against the wall. Well how strange is that? I’m at Sawley
Marina, I’ve stopped off to get some fuel and
they wanted me to fill in a form online and they’ve given me a special fuel card,
only to be able to dispense fuel. They can’t give me the fuel unless I’ve done that,
which is really strange. It’s the first time I’ve ever experienced it. Now to be
fair, to Sawley Marina, they are a very, very busy marina and the lady behind the
counter said that they had an inspection from the HMRC and they advised them to
go down this route purely because of the amount of fuel that they were dispensing,
and it was for their own benefit but I’ve never had it before.
It’s fine, it doesn’t cost anything but it just sort of ticks all the boxes with
the law and declaration of VAT. I’m full of fuel now and I’m just about to go to
a tap up at Swarkestone and fill it with water and get rid of any rubbish I’ve
got on board. It’s such a nice feeling to have full water tank, full diesel tank,
empty bins, and empty toilet. It’s getting really quite
windy now. I’m now in what’s called budding up mode. When you meet other people that are also
going in the same direction as you, you’ve obviously got to go through the same
locks and they have closed the gates for that lock and I’m going to go ahead and
prepare the next lock ready for us to go through and we sort of leapfrog. It’s
quite a nice way of dealing with it and because they’re all broad, wide locks
here, it’s nice and easy to go up in them. I think they’re going to be mooring in a very
similar sort of place as me as well. So that’s what’s called budding up when you
buddy up with another boater and go on a journey together through a series of
locks. It’s great. There’s two pubs here. Malt Shovel and New Inn and the smell in the air of freshly
cooked chips, is unbearable. Now obviously, I haven’t had any chips since what,
January because I’m on the Keto diet, where I’m not allowed chips or
carbohydrates or potatoes and things and smelling this in the air is really, really
difficult. At Aston Lock there’s a really nice mooring along here. The only problem is… is dogs
running past me. That was Molly but also just on the other side of this hedge,
really early in the morning, there’s a quarry and the lorries go up and down, up
and down, so there’s a lot of rumbling and it sort of resonates through the
water, but if you’re fine with that it’s a lovely place no moor up. [Music] I’m moored up just before Swarkestone now.
Out for a late evening walk with Molly. I absolutely love this mooring spot. It’s
really quiet at night. Lovely fields all around, there is a little bridge here
which you can go through a field and park up by the main road but I haven’t
got my car with me today. I always stop at this bit whenever I come past. It’s so
regular, because this has got Armco and there’s lots of weeds and grass growing
over the Armco, where I dug it out the first time – probably two years ago.
There’s a little bit of grass missing so you can get my chains down behind the
Armco exactly the same spot. They’re still there obviously and it’s such a
nice place to relax after a long day’s cruising. You also get really good
Wi-Fi here. I’ll put a link to this exact location in the description below as GPS
coordinates and Molly and I are going to carry on with this walk. So until next
time, I’ll see you later.


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