Shardlow, or – as it was – Shardlow Port is pretty much the end (or start) of the Trent & Mersey Canal (which connects the Rivers Trent and Mersey – there’s clue in the name). As we approached we were surprised by the new speed limit – we thought the canal limit was 4 mph.
We managed to moor up at the well known Clock Warehouse, now a pub.
And – despite the cheap but otherwise excellent food – one that blotted its copybook twice! First, they didn’t have Guinness on tap. Bang! Then, when asked for a Coke instead, produced a glass of Pepsi without saying anything. Bang, Bang!
The weather wasn’t helping, and having been through Shardlow many times before, we failed to take any photos, but here are some we prepared earlier. About 12 years earlier… they’re well cooked now.
Just before crossing the River Trent/River Derwent Junction and heading out over the large expanse of water that lies under and around the M1, Song & Dance started going nowhere fast, and in no particular direction. With a squally wind blowing up broadside on, it took some time to get tied up – even temporarily – before heading down the weed hatch to give the propeller a stern talking to. Good job it happened before we were on the river junction section itself!
With the prop shaft suitably chastised, the wind and rain stopped, the sun came out and we headed across the ocean, then through Sawley Flood Lock to Sawley Marina for some diesel. By now it was a pleasant sunny and warm late afternoon, and we’d intended to moor up at the nearest available opportunity. Sadly, the only moorings left were private/long term places, so we had to lock down on to Trent proper, and hope!
We found a suitable spot right on the Junction at Trent Lock. Two pubs and a cafe within two minutes walk. It’s a busy spot – the River Trent and the River Soar come together, there’s a huge weir, sailing club, the junction with the Erewash canal, and the Cranfleet Cut (a canalised shortcut heading for Nottingham), an outdoor adventure centre for the scouts. Late in the day, we decided to explore a bit more after a decent night’s kip.
Still thirsting for a Guinness, we did however take a little totter along the path, noticing that CaRT were still spending money trying to make dogs laugh.
And as a reminder that we were in broad-beam country, the Cranfleet Cut seemed absolutely littered with huge broad beam work flats used for collecting the spoils from dredging.
Finally retiring to the pub for a pre-prandial, a glass of Guinness was procured. It looked like Guinness, with a lovely creamy head. After several thirst quenching mouthfuls, the realisation came that it was almost, but not entirely unlike Guinness. Not off, or thin and bitter as sometimes used to happen when the pipes weren’t cleaned regularly enough. Actually quite pleasant, but almost certainly not real Guinness. Perhaps they’d got the barrels mixed up with something else. Obviously not our day! Or perhaps the next big thing after fake news is fake beer.