Boatwif Blog

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Historic Newark-on-Trent

In six years of living about 14 miles or so away from Newark there are memories of only two visits, once to a toy shop and once to a tailor. Make of that what you will… Newark sits on the Fosse Way (the Roman road now known as the A46) and beside the Trent. The A1 is close by and the East Coast main line railway runs through the town. It has long been a transport crossroads… Back in 1942...

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Between two castle towns…

Nottingham to Newark: 21 miles, 7 locks by river, 21 miles by road. From the babbling waters at the Shugborough Estate Essex Bridge (photo from 16th April)    to Holme Lock,     just east of Nottingham, is 43¾ miles and 28 locks.  A notice beside Holme Lock provides some vital statistics: the lock chamber is approximately 40 feet deep when full and the contents would fill about 10,000 bath tubs. Big lock – serious river! About 2 miles further on...

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Two boats to Nottingham

Boats have been arriving at Nottingham for centuries – while the Tentatrice and Cleddau crews arrived (and left) in rude good health that was not the case back in 1330 when two boats arrived on a very grisly mission – more on that later in this post. The Cleddau and Tentatrice flotilla left Trent Lock     on Tuesday in bright sunshine,   travelled east along the Cranfleet Cut, dropped down onto the Trent and   cruised the next four miles to Beeston...

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To the Trent

Willington – Trent Lock: 14 Miles, 7 locks (over 2 days) From the Staffordshire moorlands the River Trent wends its way south and east towards Nottingham. A charming babbling affair in Staffordshire, by the time it has swung east into Nottinghamshire it has become navigable. The canal, the Trent and Mersey, follows the course of the river fairly closely. The changing views across the broad sweeping valley show signs of industry, both past and present: agriculture,     gravel extraction, brewing,...

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Forget Me Not

Great Haywood – Kings Bromley – Alrewas – Willington: 27 miles, 16 locks The Cleddau summer cruise resumed on Thursday: remarkably, there was no rain and there was little wind. Volunteer crew, the Stafford Campanologists (their most recent cruise mentioned here) reported for duty. “It would help if you could wield a pole,”     the Captain announced to Tim, anticipating the labyrinthine exit ahead. From the furthermost corner of the Great Haywood Marina back to the Trent and Mersey Canal required...

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Beached boats, bobbing boats and a beautiful bride…

To leave the boat, after so much angst about the paint job being completed – why? Well, for a wedding! (Boaters – skip further down if weddings don’t interest you…) Thunderstorms, wild winds, lashing rain – all held off on Saturday 21st April as Bristol Niece was married in the same church as her three aunts, her parents and her sister before her…     And the sun shone all day long! With the marriage ceremony south of the Cleddau Bridge...

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 It’s all in the timing…

Downhill, heading north and east along the Staffs and Worcs Canal. Spring came on Saturday – what a delightful surprise. To be cruising minus numerous additional layers of clothing was sheer joy. The whole world was happy, it seemed: lambs played chase in the fields,     anglers sat and smiled on the canal banks,    families relaxed in a canal side beer garden, church bells rang in Penkridge, a hen party was partying on a trip boat    near Teddesley...

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Where was the Wrekin?

The canal breach at Middlewich has forced Cleddau and crew to make a long detour via the Shropshire Union Canal. To go a long way west to then turn north east in order to go south – such is the start to this year’s watery wanderings…   After travelling the Shropshire Union just twice before, once in each direction, the Cleddau crew were soon reminded of its particular features. The water comes downhill all the way from Wolverhampton to Ellesmere...

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Growing older gracefully…

Cleddau has emerged from her winter hibernation.  After months of sitting out in the cold on the hard standing, followed by a period inside while her bottom was blacked, then another cold shivery spell outdoors, she was at last moved indoors, sand blasted and painted. From an early life as an ungainly, green-cabined, out of balance red-roofed vessel (here a four year old at Sawley, 1994)    she then became red with a blue roof, courtesy of an amateur paint...

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Feasting, not floating…

Cleddau is still ashore, at Aqueduct Marina,  near Nantwich. In the absence of any floating there’s been the occasional feasting… “Since you’re still without your boat,” announced the Tentatrice First Mate, “how about coming over to us? We could take the boat out, go down into Droitwich, have lunch at the pub – and then go back…” What a tempting plan – time on a boat, time on a towpath, some paddle-gear operating, some gate-pushing… The Gardeners Arms, the pub referred...