Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Maiden Voyage.


Well,as the title says we have now taken Chyandour out on her maiden voyage,and,for our first solo,she has taken us to the farthest reaches of the Erewash Canal.Before we get into that though,I will write a bit about the rest of last week and what we did before we set off,into the unknown,last Saturday morning.

From the beginning of the week we continued to load our belongings onto Chyandour and,as predicted,we emptied the store on Wednesday and we managed to get everything we have that’s worth keeping,onto our new home.Is any of it in the right place?Can pigs fly?We’ve done well though,and as time goes on we will get everything sorted and placed where we can find it.The main bits are there,we know where the food is and where our clothes are and we’ve managed to get my tools on board,along with a charger for every portable device we’ve ever owned.Oh how I wish for a universal charger.Over the week that we were moored at Kingfishers only a couple of things have cropped up that needed any attention from Mick or John.Just a couple of snags that’s all.For a boat that has been in build for the last ten months it has been positively amazing how few snags we have found,everything works and nothing is loose.We’ve lived on Chyandour since the 12th and she’s almost perfect,just a barely noticeable leak in the bathroom sink,a light switch upside down and a couple of missing screws.That’s not bad at all and,as far as I’m concerned,Garry and Lee at XR&D and John and Mick from Kingfishers have done a fantastic job,as has everyone else involved,and anyone who wishes to is more than welcome to come and see the result for themselves.

We moved off the mooring outside Kingfishers on Friday afternoon and winded Chyandour,filled up with water at the waterpoint and moored on the towpath facing towards Langley Mill.That was it,we were as ready as we could be,so it was me and Lisa off down the towpath to the Steamboat Inn for a couple of beers to celebrate.

Erewash Canal 22.10.12 001 Erewash Canal 22.10.12 007

Above left is me,trying out our folding bike that we haven’t used for over three years.A quick blow up of the tyres and away she went,I had a ride up to the flood lock on the River Trent to see if I could still ride one,some bits were uncomfortable,but i made it.The one on the right is Springfield Mill in Sandiacre,a lace mill that is now apartments,I used to work here many moons ago.

On Saturday morning we set off for darkest Langley Mill,the terminus of the Erewash Canal,some eleven miles and fourteen locks to the north of Trent Lock.We took our time,enjoying every minute of what was to be a longish sort of day.Chyandour was a dream to handle,very positive,she didn’t miss a beat and we moored in the Great Northern Basin at Langley Mill just over eight hours after leaving Trent Lock.It was an interesting journey in many ways because the Erewash Canal holds a number of memories for me.I went to school nearby in Ilkeston,as kids we swam in it and at times I’ve lived and worked very close to its banks.I’ve even played cricket close by so I guess you can say cruising it has been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.I have to say that it has changed though,very little remains of some of the places that I knew,little remains of the places where I worked,they’ve nearly all gone.The canal is better though and much cleaner,you can see the bottom now,you couldn’t when I was a kid,and there’s no detergent foam anymore,it’s much nicer.The locks are well maintained,though the winding gear is heavy,so overall I wasn’t disappointed with how the canal is today,though it would be nice if more boats used it.

Erewash Canal 22.10.12 003 Erewash Canal 21.10.12 003 

On the left is a view of the different colours that autumn brings and to the right is the rear of one of the many watering holes I enjoyed so many years ago.

The Erewash Canal was completed in 1779 at a cost of £21,000 and it became one of the most prosperous in the country with plenty of work from local collieries,ironworks and brickworks.The biggest of which was Stanton Ironworks where I started as an apprentice when I left school in 1964,it’s now all but disappeared.The canal was partially closed in 1962 and commercial carrying ceased in 1963.In 1972 it was agreed to restore the canal for leisure purposes and this was achieved by 1983 and,as a result,it is a lovely canal to cruise now,as we now know for ourselves.Thanks must go to the ECP & DA for what they have achieved.

The Great Northern Basin is a tranquil mooring with a lovely pub alongside the basin and an Asda only a few hundred yards away.While we have been here we have met another delightful couple on their boat Free Spirit which is moored here in the basin.They are Ian and Irene Jamieson and the tales of their adventures can be found on their blog here.We have also enjoyed the company of a couple of my relatives,Keith and Pam Wilkinson,who live not too far from here.It’s been good to see them in such pleasant surroundings ‘cos usually we only see each other at weddings and funerals,and these days,sadly,it’s more often the latter

Erewash Canal 21.10.12 002 Erewash Canal 21.10.12 005

The picture on the left is Lisa hard at work on Long Eaton lock,our very first lock with Chyandour,and the picture on the right is Pastures Lock where my mates and I swam as kids.I don’t recall ever seeing a narrowboat on the canal in those days though.

Erewash Canal 21.10.12 006 Erewash Canal 21.10.12 009

The two pictures above are of the Great Northern Basin here at Langley Mill,on the left is the lock we have to use to get into the basin.On the right is the view down the basin to the boatyard and what was the Cromford Canal before most of that was abandoned in 1944,with the last bit abandoned in 1962.

That’s all again for this week,we are off back to Trent Lock in a couple of days and then it’s onto the River Trent to Nottingham and some more friends.Take care everyone.

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