Thursday, 31 August 2017

The oldest pub in England

IMG_5892After leaving the marina we picked up this mooring outside of Sainsbury's and with the castle just visible through the trees in the distance this will do us for today although the towpath is extremely busy with foot traffic and idiot speeding cyclists. We were a bit unsure about mooring here again as in the last week a Dog was stolen from a boat and then an elderly Fisherman was pushed in to the canal by 3 youths then finally we heard that a boater woke up at 03.00 to find a thief walking around in his boat stealing his belongings.It seems that the boater had a rather large hammer next to his bed and chased the Scroat away. We were told that the Police were called to all that happened and would be making a greater presence in the area.

IMG_5866With number one Granddaughter up with us we decided to go and have a look around Nottingham Castle . With the temperature in the low 20s and near to 30 deg C in the boat there was no way we could leave Hamish aboard so the lucky Lad came with us.

We soon reached the bottom of Nottingham Castle where there was a labyrinth of manmade caves and tunnels which tell the turbulent story of this historic site.

The famous tunnel known as Mortimers hole is carved into the sandstone outcrop on which the Castle stands. The passage way is eerie enough but is made all the more so by the reputed presence of the ghost of Sir Roger Mortimer himself.

Mortimer, the Earl of March and lover of Queen Isabella, was her accomplice in the murder of Edward II. On the night of  19 October 1330 the Queen and her lover Mortimer were staying at Nottingham Castle.  Seeking to bring his father’s killer to justice and expose his feckless mother, the young King Edward III entered a network of secret tunnels that led ultimately into the Castle itself.

With a band of loyal supporters the King burst into his mother’s bedroom and surprised the lovers. Edward himself is said to have seized Mortimer. The now doomed monarch killer was led away, so legend has it, to Isabella’s mournful cries of “Fair son, have pity on the gentle Mortimer.”

Sir Roger was imprisoned in the Castle, taken to London and executed as a traitor.  He was hung, drawn and quartered on the 29 November 1330 and his wretched remains skewered on spikes and left to rot on traitors gate at ‘Tyburn’.

The tunnel that led to Sir Roger’s downfall then became known as ‘Mortimer’s Hole’ and is so to this day.

There was no way after hearing that it was haunted would Carolyn and Curly go anywhere near the caves so we carried on towards the castle.

IMG_5874It was then up the hill to the castle entrance with me bounding ahead and Curly moaning about how steep the hill is.

IMG_5875Here we go again and this is the closest we got to the Castle. We are again greeted with the sign that we see in a lot of places NO DOGS . Its such a shame as we were looking forward to looking around the Castle. Unfortunately for the castle they lost out on £24 in admission fees .

IMG_5880Never mind we made up for our disappointment of not getting in to the castle by having a drink in the Trip to Jerusalem which is the oldest pub in England and is built in to a cave. Although I don't think Curly was that impressed with a visit to a pub.

Many people believe the pub is named ‘Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem’ because people made a trip to Jerusalem from here. In fact the word “trip” does not mean a journey in this case. An old meaning for ‘trip’ is a stop on a journey, like being tripped up, so the inn’s name means a stop or rest on the way to Jerusalem.

The pub is famous for its caves, carved out of the soft sandstone rock against which the building is set. The larger ground level caverns are now used as the pub’s rear drinking rooms. There is also a network of caves beneath the building, originally used as a brewery. They seem to date from around the time of the construction of the castle (1068 AD).

The cursed galleon is a small wooden model of a ship in one the upstairs lounge. It is claimed that people who have cleaned it have all met a mysterious death. Landlords have refused to allow anyone to dust the ship over the years, allowing inches of thick grime to build up on it. The galleon is now encased in glass.

The pub also houses an antique chair; it is claimed that a woman who sits in the chair will increase her chances of becoming pregnant. So many people have sat on the chair in the hope of it bringing them pregnancy that is now is too weak to withstand the huge demand… It is now on display in the upstairs lounge. I told Carolyn to go nowhere near it as I’m far too old to go through all that again .

We had a local made Lager which was made with Apricot and was very enjoyable . Carolyn had a pint and at well over 5% it went straight to her head.

Tomorrow after another shop in Sainsbury's we will pull ropes from rings from our mooring and head along The Nottingham Canal then dropping down a couple of locks and hopefully picking up a mooring on the river Trent opposite Victoria embankment.

                                                                                                                    Happy Days

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Catch up

IMG_5775It’s been a bit of time since the last blog so I thought it was time we caught up a bit so here we go. We pulled ropes from rings at Sawley at the late cruising time of 09.30 and had the delight of seeing a green light on the lock which meant a Lockkeeper was on duty and we could enter the lock. With only four manual locks to do from here to the bottom of Nottingham Carolyn is more than happy.

IMG_5777Heading down towards Cranfleet cut and the river opens out and we can lower the engine revs as the flow carries us along.

IMG_5785Arriving at Cranfleet lock and it’s so good to see that locks and surrounding areas are being kept so well. Just a shame that it’s not like this all over the canal and river network.

IMG_5787When you have a lock on a river mooring you need a floating pontoon which goes up and down with the level of the river. You also have to walk down this wibbly wobbly bridge which Carolyn isn't very sure about.

IMG_5794Cruising towards Beeston and we passed this Lady . We gave her a wave and said hello.

IMG_5809After mooring just the other side of Beeston Lock we walked back and saw this bunch of Clowns guys all dressed up taking their hire boat through the lock. It turned out that they were a stag party on their way in to Nottingham for the weekend.

IMG_5803We had a walk around to the back of the weir at Beeston and with water levels very low you can see that there is still a lot of water weiring over. A good addition to this weir is the hydro electric plant on the far side . I just don't know why more use isn't made of all this free power.

IMG_5864From Beeston we carried along the Nottingham canal and booked in to the local marina for a few days . There were two reasons for this with the main one being that number one Granddaughter Curly was on her way up for a short stay and also our washing machine has broken down so we have to get a new one delivered somewhere with a postcode. At £12.50 a night and with electric and water thrown in this will do us for now. We ended up with the only spare berth they had which was next to their paint shed and it also meant that we had to reverse in and use the back stern on Inca to get on and off the boat which was not ideal.

IMG_5863One of the rare moments that Carolyn and Curly where on Inca as they seemed to rather enjoy the shopping experience in Nottingham where Curly got well and truly spoilt.

IMG_5852The day arrived when our new washing machine arrived and what a struggle it was to get it in to the boat and then in to position, it also seems that Curly was behind me taking photos of us struggling down the stairs and has told me if this one is not included on the blog then there would be trouble as she thinks all the blog readers would love a good laugh. We ended up having to use ropes to get it down the stairs but in the end got it in to its new home. It is only a half size machine and will only take 3kg of washing but for some strange reason it cost over double of what a full size machine cost.

IMG_5854All in position and ready to go except for the outlet pipe being a larger diameter than the old one. We will now have to try and get an adapter before we can use it . Why is it that this always happens to us and things are never simple and straight forward, or does it happen to others as well ?.

It’s nearly time to come out of Nottingham Castle Marina now and then we will pick up a mooring for a couple of nights outside Sainsbury's and stock up the food cupboard and wine cellar before dropping down on to The River Trent.

                                                                                                      Happy Days

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Grumpy Gramps

Some more weird and wonderful boat names for your perusal .


Curly said that this would be the perfect boat name for me.


Never bored on the inland waterways.


Most people are familiar with the ‘Land Girls’; women who volunteered to work the land to aid the war effort during World War Two. Less well known, however, are their canal-based equivalents; known undeservedly as the ‘Idle Women’.

This nickname, derived from the initials ‘IW’ (for Inland Waterways) displayed on their badges, was given by native boatpeople to those women who volunteered to operate canal barges carrying vital supplies through the country’s waterway network.

Their numbers were small, some 45 women, aged from 18 to about 35, worked on the canals and waterways of England between 1943-46. Unlike the Land Girls, the Idle Women have never received any official recognition for their contribution to the war effort, although British Waterways (now the Canal & River Trust) unveiled a plaque in their honour at the National Waterways Museum in Stoke Bruerne, Northamptonshire in 2008.


You don't get many of these in the canals.


On the canals you can Lingalonga than on dry land .


It is.



Lovely with a curry.


We do .


Not ever tried Lilac wine.



                                                                                                         Happy Days

Sunday, 20 August 2017


IMG_5747We have so far had a look around three marinas and now it’s the turn of Sawley marina as we continue our search for a possible Winter mooring.

IMG_5757 Entering the marina we were greeted by this boat which is called Kyla II freedom of Scotland. It’s an impressive boat for more reasons than simple good looks. It is a complete one-off finished in 1973 at cost no object on Clydeside by a company called McGruer. They built wooden boats for more than two hundred years. A boat in the water needs a certain amount of depth called draught, around here there is never more than about four feet, this boat needs six feet.So what’s it doing here? Well it’s here for a lot of work during a complete (cost no object again) refit as it’s a Heritage boat maintained and preserved just the way a Listed building is, original as possible. It has Mahogany planking over naturally shaped Oak frames. And with a revolutionary (in it’s day) fin keel, the only one seen on a wooden yacht, common enough now on moulded boats but a brave idea then. All done, they say, by hand, involving no machinery. Altogether this yacht is unique so take a long look, from here she goes back to the Clyde for more work then on a tour of European boat shows and into the Mediterranean, Monaco, Malta, Greece. No strain at all since she’s done the Caribbean a few times. 

IMG_5756First impressions of the marina were very good and we had a walk around the Chandlery to start with . As well as a well stocked Chandlery they also stocked a few basic provisions such as Bread ,Milk etc. etc. which is ideal if you live a board and run out of anything .

IMG_5755After having a very friendly chat with the Lady in the office we were given a security key which we signed for and it allowed us to go anywhere we wanted to in the marina.

IMG_5752This is yet again another well kept marina and it is a lot cheaper than any of the other ones we have visited . Although it’s one of the biggest inland marinas in the country we got a feeling that it would be a good place to over Winter . It has a bus stop right outside the gate which takes you in to the centre of Nottingham and with coal and Tesco deliveries it seems perfect. as with the other marinas the livaboard boaters here were very friendly. We were told roughly were we would be mooring and we checked to see that it had good Internet and phone signal which it did.

There were a couple of things that were mentioned to us and that was that it’s on the flight path to East Midlands Airport and you can also hear the never ending drone of the M1 Motorway in the distance. There was also a clay shoot just out the back that operated on Sunday mornings. To be honest I think you would soon get used to all of those so I cant see it being a big problem.

One thing I was surprised at was that all the pontoons are fixed and not floating . Being on a river where levels can go up and down you would expect them to be floating .

IMG_5754All was going well and it was fast becoming top of our list for a Winter mooring until Carolyn saw this sign in the marina. We went back to the office and Carolyn asked about the risk of flooding in the marina. The Lady explained that the marina hasn't flooded for many years and that if it did the staff would be on duty 24 hours a day .She also said that if and when the pontoons went under water they would come out with small boats and pick people up. I just wished I had taken a picture of Carolyn’s face as this marina went from top of our list for Winter moorings to the bottom. Even though there are flood gates outside of  the marina between the River and the lock it seems that the mighty river Trent comes up through the fields opposite the marina. I would be more than happy to over Winter here and if it did flood I think it would be a good bit of fun , but at the end of the day if Carolyn is uncomfortable with it we will have to look at mooring somewhere else.

                                                                                                         Happy Days

Friday, 18 August 2017


A few more boat names .



Not a boat name but we saw this on the side of a boat .


Not a clue what this means.




No point in Rushin on a boat.


Well said Del Boy.


Just loved this one . Its me to a tee ……Cheers !

                                                                                                  Happy Days

Thursday, 17 August 2017

To the Trent

IMG_5686After a good night at Branston water park we pulled pins at 08.10 and soon got to the first lock of the day and were surprised to see so many boats waiting to come up . It worked out very well for us as there were so many boaters on the lock helping out that Carolyn was told to jump aboard Inca and they would lock us through.

IMG_5688Now this is a rare sight in this country although we do have some in Devon at a town called Dawlish . I think the black Swans are mainly found in Australia so I don't know what this one was doing here in the middle of Burton on Trent.It seemed to be all by itself without a mate .

IMG_5692With me taking a stroll along the towpath Carolyn takes over the helm on Inca.

IMG_5700We are still looking for a possible Winter mooring and decided to stop outside Mercia marina at Willington and go in and have a look around . We went in to the office and were told that they only gave accompanied tours of the marina and if we could wait ten minutes they would organise someone to show us around.The guy that showed us around lived at the marina and was very good and he went in to great detail about the way the marina operated . This now is number 1 on Carolyn's list and we have put our name down for a mooring, but we have to wait until September to see if they can fit us in. Although we still do have a couple of marinas to visit on our way down the river Trent this one looks to be favourite.

IMG_5728After a night outside Mercia marina we pulled pins at 07.40 and started our cruise towards Shardlow and The river Trent . Nearly at Shardlow and we were lucky to bump in to friends Stewart and Fran on NB The Boat . It’s been nearly 18 months since we last saw them so we had a bit of catching up to do . This is also the first time we have seen their new Dog which is called Guy and what a great looking Dog he is. We thought it was a brilliant name as Stewart and Frans surname is Martin.

IMG_5731Eventually we reached the top lock at Shardlow and after passing through the village we would be on the river Trent.

IMG_5735After an enjoyable cruise through the village we arrived at Derwent Mouth Lock . This is the beginning and the end of The Trent and Mersey canal depending on which way you are heading and is where we will drop down onto The river Trent. As we were about to drop down the lock Carolyn spotted some more ripe Damsons so we ended up picking enough for a couple of more jars of jam before we dropped down the lock.

IMG_5740Here we go again and I am in my element back on a river and this time the river Trent.

IMG_5758Unfortunately it was only a short cruise on the river to our mooring at Sawley with the massive power station in front of us . There is another marina here which we want to have a look around but  that will have to wait until tomorrow as the Sun is now well over the Yardarm and you know what that means … Cheers !
                                                                                                        Happy Days