Thursday, 30 June 2016

The Hoods Arrive in Nottingham.

Thursday 30th June, 2016 at Nottingham.
A brighter morning greeted us after yesterday's rain.
We set off after breakfast with R looking very much the well-dressed narrowboater in his new check shirt and brown corduroy trousers. All he needs now is a narrowboater's waistcoat!
We were lucky enough to find another boat to share the locks with. Fortunately, the chap was also going down the River Trent towards Nottingham.
The cooling towers of the power station at Ratcliffe-on-Soar dominate the skyline against a dramatic sky. We came here by train many years ago for an Inland Waterways show held at the nearby marina.
After the confines of the canal, the confluence of the Soar (behind us) and the Trent (coming down from the left and going off behind us) is HUGE! The navigational "cut" goes off to the right and straight on is the entrance to the Erewash Canal. Quite a junction, and certainly much bigger than we were expecting.
A welcome sight was C&RT volunteers setting the lock for us at Cranfleet Lock, where we came off the navigable cut and back down on to the river proper.
There are markers by the exit to the lock for the River Trent Water levels. Green - for normal levels, orange for caution and red for flood levels. The indicator was in the orange but the volunteers said that the water levels were dropping. Let us hope so, because tomorrow we plan to come back against the current.
This is a big river and flowing quite fast, so we made very good time on the three miles to Beeston Lock, where we went back on to a canal section into Nottingham.
To our surprise and delight, as we approached Beeston Lock, we had a phone call from Dudley on "Vagabond". They were on the other side of the lock waiting to go back up river.
Having gone through the lock, we stopped to talk to them as they prepared to go into the lock and back out on to the Trent - but going against the flow.
So, the Hoods finally arrived in Nottingham! No fanfare of trumpets greeted us, just a few seedy looking ducks. There were plenty of mooring places along the towpath but the best one (away from traffic noise) necessitated going through the lock in the centre of town, turning round and then going back up through the lock. The handsome building in the background is the former offices of British Waterways (now the C&RT).
We moored up - now pointing the right way to go back tomorrow.
We set off for the Castle; it sits above the town on a high sandstone outcrop. It has a chequered history. Although the foundations date back to a Norman motte and bailey structure, the castle has been destroyed, burnt down and rebuilt numerous times. The main building is now a beautiful Georgian style mansion, a bit like a miniature Blenheim, and houses a museum and art gallery.
The view from the verandah surrounding the main Castle building was panoramic; you could see for miles.
At the foot of the Castle hill are a series of lovely preserved pedestrianised streets and fine old buildings.
One of the buildings below the Castle, "Ye olde trip to Jerusalem", claims to be the oldest pub in England, c.1189.
You can just see the Castle building on the hill above and the pub appears to be built into the sandstone.M was not impressed with the bronze statue of Robin Hood, declaring it to be nothing like the dashing figure that one associates with the legend!
The weather held all day, dry but breezy. The rain arrived just before nightfall.
Today: 11 miles, 5 locks and 4.1 hours.
Trip: 165 miles, 103 locks and 120.7 hours.

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