At Stoke Lock we were met by Cliff, the volunteer lockie, who had taken us through Nether Lock after our unfortunate incident at Cromwell and he again reassured June and we we went up without problem. At Holme Lock which is very long and deep and holds some 1.5 million gallons of water the Lockie was again very safety conscious and ensured that all three boats in the lock went up without any movement at all. So a big thank to Cliff and the other Lock Keepers for restoring June’s confidence in river locks.
Above Holme Lock we moored up and visited Holme Pierrepoint Water Sports Centre which was the fore runner of the Lea Valley Centre we visited a couple of years ago but is powered by the river rather than pumps and has a rowing course over a mile long. A weed cutter was clearing the rowing course as we looked over.
Whilst there we watched this canoeist doing back and forward flips as well as side rolls in the white water run.
Moving on the skyline of Nottingham came into view and then we passed this magnificent house and some equally imposing apartments which I am informed that the 7 penthouses fetch about £1 million each. Peaking through a wharf entrance we could see the Nottingham Windmill which is said to be still in working order. A most unusual thing to find in a city. Opposite the entrance to the Nottingham Canal where we left river is the entrance to the now defunct Grantham Canal and the Clough Football Stadium as well as the Trent Bridge Cricket Ground.
It seemed quite strange once we had locked up onto the canal to be travelling on a relatively narrow system as we have been on rivers or commercial waterways for so long. The entrance to Nottingham is pleasantly attractive with plenty of mooring rings along the towpath. There is a sharp bend known as Poplar Corner and care needs to be taken in case another boat is coming through the unseen bridge. We then passed the old British Waterways Offices and the first sight of the Castle can be glimpsed through the offices.
We moored up near to Castle Marina which is only a short hop to Sainsbury's supermarket and other retail outlets.
After lunch we went off to explore the Castle which is located in a commanding position on "Castle Rock", with cliffs 130 feet high to the south and west. In the Middle Ages it was a major royal fortress and occasional royal residence. In decline by the 16th century, it was largely demolished in 1649. The Duke of Newcastle later built a mansion on the site, which was burnt down by rioters in 1831 and left as a ruin. It was later rebuilt to house an art gallery and museum, which remain in use to this day. Little of the original castle survives, but sufficient portions remain to give an impression of the layout of the site. There are great views from the castle over the Trent valley and even on a cloudy day like today we could see Ratcliffe on Soar Power station which we will passing shortly.
June is pictured next to the statue of Robin Hood saviour of the poor.
In the Castle museum they have the original costumes which local hero’s Torvill and Dean wore when they won Gold at Sarajevo in 1984 with Ravel’s Bolero. They had twelve perfect scores of 6 and six scores of 5.9.