Snow report: today I saw NO SNOW! Perhaps it has all, finally, melted.
I'm sweltering writing this this evening as I loaded the stove up with some coal to see if it will keep the boat warm all night. This morning there was a hard frost, and we woke up with cold faces to a cold boat.
This morning we went with Alan and Hazel, on whose mooring in Ilkeston we were guests last night, to their church, a small Elim church nearby. By the time we got back to the boat and set off it was nearly 1300, so we were likely to run behind schedule, especially as I wanted time to explore the various canals at Langley Mill.
We got to Langley Mill at about 1530. We'd been slightly delayed by having to remove rubbish from the prop at Eastwood Lock: a piece of rope and several pieces of carrier bag. At Langley Mill we went up the final lock on the Erewash Canal - which was actually, apparently, the first lock of the Cromford Canal - into Great Northern Basin. We progressed to the very end (something I have to do), winded with millimetres to spare between boats, and descended the lock to tie up by Lidl. There we got some supplies, and I went for a walk round the basin, seeing an end of the Nottingham Canal as well as a short isolated stretch of the Cromford Canal. It will be amazing when the whole of the Cromford is restored.
As I was walking back to Shadow the Cromford Canal's trip boat Birdswood was just exiting the lock. It is going to return to the Cromford end of the canal (by lorry) after some work. Sorry (again) for the lack of photos.
Our return down the Erewash Canal has (so far) been easier than our ascent yesterday, as most of the locks have been in our favour. At Gallows Inn Lock a wide hopper boat was adrift across the canal. One end had a rope still on the towpath, but not attached to anything, and I managed to pull it in just enough for me to reach the rope on the other end with a boat hook. With the hopper secure, I was able to turn the lock and continue.
We tied up shortly afterwards on the edge of Ilkeston by extensive playing fields at Trowell. It is very quiet - I can't even hear any trains - and I haven't been aware of anyone passing on the towpath. As for anyone passing on the canal, well, that's almost guaranteed not to happen. We saw just two other moving boats today: one was Jack Daniels on its way down from the top; the other was Birdswood as mentioned above.
In a change from eating out, Jan cooked a delicious chicken stew. This was ready shortly after we tied up. Just before Jan served up, I chopped some logs on the towpath. The logs themselves I had sawn from longer lengths found by the Trent and Mersey yesterday.
Tomorrow I'm planning on a reasonably early start so as to make up for our being about two miles and three locks short of our intended stop tonight. And then it's back to rivers, crossing the Trent onto the Soar, ready for more wide locks.