Erewash Canal, River Trent and Trent & Mersey Canal
Day 1. Trent Lock to Willington
14miles – 8 locks – 8 hours
Late morning, I locked gingerly through Trent Lock, very much aware of the stares of the gathered lockside gongozlers. ‘Lily Jane’ dropping what seemed far more than eight feet into a wide reach of the River Trent. I could immediately feel the muscular pull of the river as I turned right and upstream.
The relief at leaving the critical and vocal lockside crowd was short lived, as was any appreciation of the broad watermeadow dominated by the cooling towers of Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station or small dinghies flurrying from the nearby marina.
Within minutes the engine was overheating and threatening to stall. The boat limped weakly into Sawley Lock. I felt anxious, would the ‘old girl’ last the long journey?
This being my first day out, ‘getting ahead’ was the priority, each lock bringing a new challenge, and on them I was honing my still raw skills. On reflection I rushed everything, and actively enjoyed so little of the new world around me.