WHILST your website was closed down, I took the opportunity to look back at various writings, with particular interest to Victor Swift's comments concerning the two marinas in which we have moored, writes Donna Ferguson.
These are Sawley Marina and Mercia Marina, and find that your comments are 'loaded' towards the latter, often referring to the flooding of the Trent and the difficult six locks when at Sawley, in contrast to all the facilities at Mercia, yet I read that when you had the opportunity to moor at Mercia, you forsook it to remain at Sawley. That I found strange.
My partner and I were moored at Sawley for five years then joined the 'exodus' as you called it, to Mercia after it had opened. But after the time at Mercia both of us now have misgivings and are seriously considering moving back; but allow me to explain.
Like I understand yourselves, we are regular users of our boat all the year round and it reached the stage at Sawley when we were 'trapped' by the flooding Trent too often, which together with struggling through those 'six' (we are not young chickens anymore) we decided on the move to Mercia, and so were able to take out the boat whenever we liked with no river to stop us and no difficult locks to work to reach the canals.
The only cruise
But alas, it was soon realised that if we wanted to avoid those locks the only cruise was the seemingly never-ending one through Burton and back. And then it dawned that with the winter and the floods also came the wind and rain, and we did not want to take the boat out anyway, so the flooding Trent would have been little matter.
Then those two days trips up the Soar to Loughborough to my partner's favourite B&Q Warehouse were no longer possible, as were my favourite cruises down the Trent to Nottingham and it shops, or even a trip up the Erewash together with a friend's boat. Against the single Trent & Mersey Canal offered by Mercia, we had forsaken three different ways for our two days cruises at Sawley, with no need for those six locks at all.
There are lots of facilities at Mercia Marina, and growing all the time, and I admit it must be amongst the best for facilities in the country, but not particularly for boaters. Not only are there now many shops on the site and eateries but other attractions that all bring in vehicles and people with the place busy all the time and heaving at week-ends.
As a case in point both of us love a cappuccino coffee. At one time we could sit in the café and enjoy one with a morsel to eat, but it is difficult to get a seat nowadays it is so crowded with non-boaters, so we have given it up.
Then there is the noise, especially when events are being staged with rather loud music and even fireworks. It now has a bandstand, but luckily though not normally our kind of music, the shops tend to shield the worst of the noise.
Then there is the 'working' noise, for there is a boat building company on site, and often the screech of a circular saw can be heard with the obviously necessary banging of metal on metal, especially when the door is open. And noise from the DIY area that I understand anyone can hire.
As to 'outside' noise, I know that Sawley has the misfortune to have the M1 motorway running past it and an airport a few miles away, but here at Mercia we have the A50 and still hear the planes when they take off this way at full power to gain height, so there is little difference.
And Mr Swift often goes on about full length jetties, but I can assure him though yes indeed they can be handy to reach any end of your boat, but if the boat swings in the wind when coming in and there is another boat moored, your boat is jammed, so you have to make sure it is not a resident that is moored next to you as your boat is of course hard up against it, that warrants a complaint. The shorter jetties at Sawley allow much more leeway for the boat to swing. As we enter from the stern, we do attempt to come in stern first, but when windy often have to resort to coming in forward at a rush.
Both Sawley and Mercia have resident boaters, but at Sawley they are nearly all on the East Bank, away from the rest of the marina, but at Mercia, they seem to be all over the place, especially in winter when there is an influx of winter moorers. Then there are the lodges that produce kids and animals during the summer months, with a promise of even more being built, next to the mooring pontoons.
So please Mr. Editor, less about the what are really non-boater facilities of Mercia and more about the cruising facilities of Sawley with no rowdy crowds of visitors. There is little doubt we shall soon be joining you. I shall introduce myself.