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Stenson to Sawley Cut

Everyone will be relieved to learn that the aforementioned lady, unfortunate enough to have fallen into the deep lock at Stenson was released from hospital the next day apparently.  What a close call.  Richard was convinced she had drowned, as they couldn't find her under the boats for a while.  There but for the grace of God!

Now there's a plan!

We moored here at the pub overnight and it would have been rude not to sample the delights therein.  

We breasted up the boats as  it is a busy stop for other boaters.  The sun had come out...

Some of the locals came to inspect my painting....

I had forgotten to do this side, so I made the most of the weather and finished it off.

Not so much on the details Richard, please zoom out!

The timer works.  Time to get changed for our meal - can highly recommend The Ragley; we will go back next year.

On the road again, what a gorgeous day, just look at that sky!

The Strand, a 17th century pavilion, used it is thought, as a grandstand for spectators of jousting and other sports.  It was also used as a backdrop for a Rolling Stones photo shoot in 1968 (ref Pearsons Guide).

Getting dripped on passing under the railway bridges.

How, why, oh you know BW, or should we now say The Canal and River Trust!  Perhaps they are short of jobs, we can think of lots they could be doing.......

Like this one!  Alright that's probably a winter job.

Aston lock, last of the horrible deep locks, only Shardlow locks to go and we would be at Sawley.

The bywashes have been quite spectacular below these locks with the sheer volume of water  draining off the canal above.

As we dropped down the relatively shallow by comparision ( 4ft5") lock we encountered a sleepy Shardlow.  I don't think anyone really noticed us tiptoe through their village, mind you it was about 8 o'clock in the morning!

The Clock Warehouse, now a popular pub, takes pride of place.

Carnage Corner (as I call it, as we always meet a boater taking it really wide on this S bend) was desolate!  What a relief really as the butty doesn't do 'stop and reverse quick'!

If you look closely, you can see the railway track which goes all around this lovely garden.

Good name..

And out onto Derwent Mouth where the River Derwent and Trent meet, if you can imagine a washing machine on a slow spin!  Richard was going to breast the boats up, but then said that we would just cross strap to get into Sawley Cut.  Let's just say, I was keen to get in the safety of the cut as the back of the butty went a little sideways.

The weir on the river before the entrance to Sawley Cut, looking fairly calm by now, and I was a bit more relaxed.

The M1 going over with .... a caravan? on it....

The flood lock in the distance.  Sawley Cut was a 2 day break whilst we visited Richard's brother and his family on the Friday night (thanks Nic for a special meal!) and then met up with Richard's Mum and Dad and the rest of his family for his Mum's birthday, on Saturday.

Sunday we planned to start on the river sections of this final part of the 2012 Tour........

Branston Water Park, Alrewas and return to Stenson

Plan A was going so well, until Richard had a look at the weather forecast for the rest of August and realised that hanging around on the canal for a bit longer might jeopardise our route home.  Rain and overcast conditions seemed to be the trend, so we thought hard and decided that Alrewas would be our winding hole.

Underlining this season as a 'one off bad year', helped us come to terms with the prospect of returning to work for September.  Even the swallows are thinking about calling it a day!

Scoob needed a bit of shade as we cruised along.  My new hat!!!  Thanks a bunch Richard!

Mooring for water after a very quiet and wet weekend in Alrewas.

Back through Burton as the traffic whistles past.  This stretch is so noisy!

Pretty Stretton again....

Lots of work gone on since we last came over the aqueduct on the river below.  The EA have taken out the islands in the middle and reinforced the banks to hopefully lessen the flood risk.

Approaching Willington, Richard spotted the need for an arty photo, but look at the sky!!!!

Scoob loves his boat.  God help any other dogs who venture inside.......

Mooring just outside Stenson, we staked the boat down with as many pins as we could find, as the ground was so waterlogged!  Still we had people racing past, trying to get past us and through the bridge hole before the oncoming boat.

Apart from the Stenson Belle (widebeam trip boat which frequents this stretch), this was the first widebeam boat we had seen on the way back, as we are now in widebeam lock country.  When these boats get to Burton though, they have to turn around as the locks reduce to narrowguage.

The next morning we located a spot above the lock in Stenson. moored, then hiked into Sinfin to do a 'big shop' at Asda.  We cheated on the way back and got a taxi.  Normally, we bike everywhere but Richard's bike has sustained a knackered pedal ie. it fell off and cannot be reattached until he can get a new 'bit'.  

The weekend was a disappointment with the weather again, except the sun did come out in spurts on Sunday.  The humidity has been a tad uncomfortable, but again, thoughts are turning to home and seeing family again, so we are not overly bothered.

A dipper I painted during the rain...

Sunday afternoon, as we were both sitting outside enjoying the sunshine, we heard screams coming from the lock.   From where we were moored, we couldn't see what was happening, but lots of people spontaneously started to run towards the edge of the lock.  Richard also went to see if he could help, but already, there were men in the water pulling a lady to safety after it appears she fell off the gates.  She apparently had slipped and hit her head on cill on the way down and had gone under the two boats in the lock.  She was unconscious when they found her, and were giving her mouth to mouth whilst she was still in the water.  The ambulance came really quickly and took her away and we found out later that she was breathing when she was on the bank.

Our thoughts go to them and their families, and hope she recovers soon.

Stenson, Swarkestone and return to Branston Water Park (14 miles, 3 locks)

Plan A - We need to get back to Lincolnshire by about mid September to go back to work, so we can do this all again next year.  That way, the shop doesn't need to do anything spectacular, just pay it's overheads and we are happy with that.  There can be no Plan B.

Swarkestone would be the turning point of this leg, enabling us to retrace our journey perhaps to Great Haywood junction and then return properly for the final countdown to a winter of toil!

Back at the Findern,  a bit of a sharp corner on the road and consequently the bollard in the foreground didn't make it!

Considering all the offside trees were hacked back during March when we first set out, they have grown again well.  That'll be all that rain.....

We moored at Willington for a few days again, and had an evening of pool and drinks at the local pub with Sam, John, Beth and Dave again as they began their final journey back to Lincolnshire.   Reluctantly, they left   the next morning, but at least safe in the knowledge that the Trent would be behaving itself!

I flung open the side of the butty and did a roaring trade on the Sunday, but oh dear, I need to do a lot more painting to replenish my stock now!

Monday, Richard's Mum and Dad came up to run us to Cheshire to view another butty for sale.  So disloyal of us to think there could be a butty which could suit us better than Echoes, but this one was longer and had a back cabin fully fitted out ready for any visitors we may encounter!
Ok, better the devil you know. Our beloved butty is solid, welding done by our resident mechanic and fits our purposes nearly totally.  All that needs doing is stretching it another 15 feet; to gain another discount on our trading licence and enabling us to attach it more securely to the motor (breasting side by side), and we need to fit out the back cabin.....
Yes but it (the butty for sale ,which we drove half way across the country to see) was 'a nail', so we walked away.

Sometimes, it's easy to chuckle, even in the rain!

Stretton on the outskirts of Burton is very pretty, but because of the depth of the water at the edge,  mooring here is not an option.

Now that's a good name for a boat, better than the 'Black Pearl' which seems to be as common as muck!

Don't do it!

Geese everywhere!   Anyone know any good recipes?

Pulling up back at tiny Dallow Lane lock in Burton, we braved the storm and took both boats up through the lock.  We moored past Shobnall Fields as before, but this time just to stock up on food.

This year's young seem to be doing well.

Continuing on to Branston Water Park, we moored for the night, hoping that we may see a glimmer of sunshine the next day............................

Alrewas to Stenson (14 miles, 5 locks)

Dropping down 3 locks, we decided to moor at Branston Water Park for the night.  The weather was at last behaving as it should in July, and Scooby was starting to flag.

Luckily, the Water Park (flooded gravel workings) had provided a 'dog-dip' where he had a cooling, albeit brief, paddle about before returning to the boat.

The next morning, Richard had found out that our friends Sam and John (nb Fairies Where Boots) and Little Dave (nb Mon Ami) were about due to get into Burton on Trent later that day.   Our engine fired into life, and we set off earlyish, to get a decent mooring in Burton.
Things turned busy suddenly, as Branston lock was looking like a big traffic jam, where a multitude of boats had arrived in quick succession to come up through the lock.  We helped the hire boater up and dropped the motor through.  Richard had to stop someone further back in the queue, below the lock, giving instructions to 'move up'.  There is always an impatient busy body!  If they had come up, on foot, to the lock, perhaps, they would have seen we needed to pick up our butty.

Hey hey! it's Sam on the front of her boat coming through the bridge at Horninglow, Burton.  We hitched a ride and guided them to where we had moored back in the town.  Dave followed closely behind on his tiny narrowboat.  Both boats had been stuck waiting for the Trent to recede, delaying their holiday by a few days.  The relief on Sam's face, to get onto the canal, was clear to see!  (Although not on this picture, sorry, technical difficulties!)

Dave's boat is in the foreground, us behind with Sam and John behind us.

Shobnall Fields moorings on the offside.

Richard, Sam, John and Dave went for a guided tour around Marston's Brewery the next morning.  A reservation has to be made, as a dedicated guide is brought in to take visitors around the factory.  This was a detail unbeknown to us a few years ago, when we had the boys with us.  Richard said he would take them, if they were interested, as he said it was well worth the trip (and he came away with a goody bag!)

Later that day, Matti and Kathy on their beautiful old boat 'Old Friends' arrived unexpectedly and we got them to parallel park against us.  A mini banter ensued, unplanned and very civilised!

We said our goodbyes the following morning, and dropped down through the last narrowguage lock on the Trent before the doubles start at Stenson.

Over the aquaduct at Egginton Wharf with the river Dove below us.

An observatory in the attic!

Mooring outside the pub at Willington, I opened the shop and had a lovely couple of days painting and talking to other boaters and villagers alike. Richard's parents spent the Friday with us, halfway through their family royal visit to all the relations in the region!

This is called sunshine!!!!!!!!!!

Our old friend Andy on his way to Manchester!  You bump into everybody eventually on the canal!

Nice bridge at the Nadee Indian Restaurant......yes Richard, please look where you are going!

We moored for the weekend at Stenson, nipped into Derby via the bike, then the bus and back and sat out the rain! Again!!!