Wednesday, 2 February 2011

exploring the Grantham Canal

Visiting friends in Lincolnshire, we took the oportunity to walk about a quarter of the length of the Grantham Canal, towards Nottingham. We had a lovely crisp clear day, and may well have seen the best bits. There's great documentation on the Grantham Canal Society website, but we headed out with a sense of adventure, the OS map and falafel sandwiches, only really reading up afterwards.

This post seemed to be the perfect oportunity to try out the 'jump cut' feature of blogger (relatively recently added) to put in loads of pictures. You'll only see this bit if you've clicked on the 'read more' link, or come to the post directly. I think, anyway.

The site of the original basin is now an industrial area, but within the town the canal exists alongside newish housing, tourniqued by low level new roads and completely obliterated by road junctions.

However, beyond the A1, it becomes more of a canal:

The landing stage is the nearest point to Grantham that the canal is navigable, and is presumably used by the trip boat running from further down.

Above is Harlaxton wharf, a little further along, also presumably useable. Most of the mile posts like the one further up are put in by the restoration society, but we found this older one too:

There's also basic BWB signs along the route, showing their age in a different way:

And lovely big logs (more like seats of chopping blocks) just waiting for passing boats to make sue of them:

Denton Resevoir feeds the top pound of the canal; we think this is/was the feeder in:

This field pattern looks to be the remains of ancient farming techniques. The land on the other side of the canal, a much larger flat area of course was more agribusiness than rolling pasture; this strip would have been too small to ruin in the same way.

We found boats! Here's 'The Three Shires', the trip boat, although it could be (and was) validly misread as 'the Three Spires', looking around us, with Centauri, their workboat:

Centauri again, because you can't have too much of nice boats with handy holds. There's precious little on the GCS website about Centauri, but elsewhere she's shown to be a 1935 boat (more pics here).

Further down there's Corvus out of the water, waiting for more than a little TLC, as discussed on the GCS website:

And there's this little beauty a bit further down:

All along the mid section Belvoir Castle (prounounced 'beaver', everyone told us whether we wanted to know or not) was visible on the horizon, sometimes behind us, sometimes ahead as we wound around the bends of the canal. All a bit too Disney for my liking:

A few of the Woolsthorpe locks have been restored - even to the point of having 'keep behind the cill' stickers. Further down the locks are in a fairly abandoned state, the gates replaced by weirs at the top end.

We started running out of map as well as time to get buses home as we reached Bottesford (about eight miles along), so headed up into the village. The promised bus back into Grantham failed to turn up, so we ran for the train instead, so still missed our connection back out to our friend's village. All part of the adventure, though, and of course my fault for actually planning that bit... ;-)


Anonymous said...

I concede (reluctantly) that I should have been more open to reading up about the canal before going exploring! But I still maintain that it's much fresher when you don't know what's waiting around the next bend in the canal ;-)
C x

Captain Ahab said...

Nice post - I love the disconnected canals. I lived in Grantham for two years but never explored the canal. What a missed opportunity!

Amy said...

Simon: I would appreciate your help finding a 12v charger for a Sony Vaio PCG 7M1M. I can't seem to find anywhere claiming to sell one which will work for the machine.