Victor tells that 'hoping' was in vain!

Published: Tuesday, 11 May 2021

THE start of our May cruise was doomed, once again, by the flooded Trent.

For those of you unaware, our marina, Sawley, sits on the river in between the convergence of the Derwent above the marina and the Soar below the marina, so any flood and its boaters can go nowhere—either up or down.

DerwentMouthBridgeWhich of course explains that mass exodus of boats to the new Mercia Marina when it opened in 2008, that not only does not suffer from such flooding problems, but is above that 'dreaded six' broad locks that we from Sawley have to climb to get onto the narrow locks of the main system

And so there we were stranded with others until a day later, when at last we managed to reach Derwent Mouth Lock at the start of the Trent & Mersey, and a chance to see the 'bridge' that closed the lock for for so long whist it was beingn installed.

But again it was for visitors, to allow access to a footpath across the lock—no climbing across lock beams for them!  And no thought of course for boaters now having to swing a much heavier lock gate as a result.  Let's get the priorities right, eh?

WestonNotFillAston still okay

It was last September when we first met the replaced Aston Lock, that for long had had the reputation of the worst of the six, but it was still much better and had not deteriorated in any way.

But alas the bottom gates of Weston Lock were leaking so much the water would not level enough to get the boat out, with a fella on the bridge telling that people 'bashed' their boats against the lock whilst someone leant on the gate to get it open.

So after waiting and waiting, we could see us being there all morning so took the fella's advice and 'bashed' the front gate with the boat. and hey! presto! we had enough leverage to open.

SunkenBoatBut how long are the gates going to last with this sort of treatment?  Caused not only by the leaking bottom gates but the top gate paddles jamned up with debris, preventing a decent flow.

Sunken boat still there

Alas, the next two locks were still difficult but we had mastered which gate swings open and which did not so made it easier for ourselves. But that sunken boat of last year, part pictured, is still taking up most of the lower lock moorings at Swarkestone Lock, with obvious debris still being collected by boat propellerswe managed clothing and a large sports bag that brought us to a sudden stop.

WeedHatchSo it was down the weed hatch for the second time—something previously unheard off through those locks.

CaRT had managed to retrieve part of the boat, as can be seen, but the rest can still be identified in the murky waters, making it impossible for two boats to moor.

And so to Stenson, and no volunteers, as we are told they will not have it!  And who can blame people volunteering for hard work in all weathers for nowt!

Where were they all?

Our boat's log shows that it was 24 years since we first travelled up and down those particular locks and never in all that time have we not seen another moving boat, but this time there were none, so certainly shows their popularity.

WindlessAt least we have mastered the many difficult paddles on those locks, with our new windlass, that gives the leverage to make the stiffest quite easy, and being either on a 'ratchet' or rigid.  Can also either be used as a lever as shown or as a normal windlass.  And it certainly made life easier for us but come at £100 quid from Jannel Chandlery at Burton.

The only problem I had was that the 'ratchet' that were holes where a spindle drops in, were too far apart, resulting in having to turn quite a way before dropping in and engaging.  But a great effort saver for those 'getting on a bit'!

Victor Swift