With today forecast as the last day of this gorgeous if worrying weather, I took the kayak out for the first time since the Norfolk Broads in August. I put in at Trentlock, where the Erewash Canal joins the Trent across from Ratcliffe on Soar power station.
Just downstream is a weir, with a boom to stop the unwary. See the straight line of water, string to the bow of the Trent on the map below, where Trent Valley Way is marked? That’s Cranfleet Cut, a mile of canal that bypasses the river, rejoining it once it’s calmed down at GR 502316.
And this is me on Cranfleet Cut.
This lock, where Cranfleet Cut rejoins the Trent, forces me out to carry kayak and accessories. Portage it’s called but, instead of rhyming with shortage, the second syllable is ‘taj’ as in taj mahal. It sounds nobby and gallic but that’s how we kayakski are obliged to say it.
About to relaunch.
Boring picture to document my re-entry to the Trent.
Another boring pic but this old guy, about my age, was drying out his gear. Like me he’s a wild camper but unlike me didn’t waste these days of heatwave blogging about Venezuela.
Magnificent river, the Trent. Downstream at Gainsborough, where it gets tidal, one Mary Anne Evans called it the Floss.
That white blur? Little egret. You never saw ’em in the Britain of my youth. Today I spied several.
This hill, on the Leicestershire bank, says I’m nearly home. To my left is Attenborough Nature Reserve.
The River Erewash used to join the Trent directly. Now it flows into the flooded quarries and gravel pits of Attenborough, making its way into the Trent via two or three outlets like this.
The boom ahead marks the second weir, and my destination at Beeston Marina. Directly below the weir Owen Jenkins drowned, last summer but one, after rescuing two girls who’d fallen in.
My kayak points in the distance at Clifton Hall. The site dates back to the thirteenth century, but the present building went up in the late eighteenth. It’s unattractive but big.
Anwar Rashid with a £25 million fortune and twenty-six properties, bought Clifton Hall – seventeen bedrooms, gym, cinema, ten reception rooms and ten bathrooms – in January 2007 for £3.6m. Thirty-two-year-old Rashid made his fortune from nursing homes and a hotel in Dubai. He, his wife, three daughters and a son moved in the month they bought it. Rashid said “The day we moved in we sat down in the evening to relax and there was a knock on the wall. We heard ‘Hello, is anyone there’? We ignored it the first time but two minutes later heard the man’s voice again. I got up to look but the doors were locked and windows closed.” Once Rashid’s wife thought she saw her eldest daughter watching TV downstairs at five am but, when she checked, discovered the girl still in bed. Eventually, the family’s friends refused to visit.
They invited Ashfield Paranormal Investigation Network, who were unable to stop the haunting. The leader said, “Clifton Hall is the only place I’ve really been scared, even in the light. It’s got a really eerie feeling”. When drops of blood were found on the quilt of their eighteen-month-old son, the family decided to leave in August 2007. They stopped paying the mortgage in January 2008 and Yorkshire Bank reclaimed the property.
Which has put right me off buying the place for my own portfolio. But here’s Beeston Marina and journey’s end. Will there be joyous reunion as I disembark at that pontoon?
Maybe not, but here’s one happy dude. Captain of his ship and master of his fate.
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