Yesterday we moved along from Willington to Burton on Trent. This stretch of the canal had been described in very derogatory terms by another boater at Willington, mainly because of the proximity of the A38. The road was noisy and close at times but there were also some attractive stretches, we crossed over the River Dove and remembered walking by it in the Peak District, the Dallow Lane Lock was quick and easy to use being the first of the single locks and the the entrance to Burton was a very pleasant surprise. We moored at Shobnall Fields and its a very nice mooring indeed.
Laundry was the afternoon’s preoccupation, and a large amount of dirty washing, the threat of the rain promised for today and concerns about our batteries meant finding the nearest laundrette rather than doing it all in the machine on the boat. So we loaded the shopping trolley to overflowing and trudged what seemed like miles through terraced streets, retail parks and beside double lane highways to Bubbles Laundrette in Uxbridge St. When Mr Bubbles came back from the school run and let us in his laundry, which was strangely empty of all other needy souls, proved very well equipped and efficient and everything was washed and dried just before his closing time. If you wonder why I rhapsodise about laundrettes I could tell you about some of the dreadful places we have discovered on our travels.
As we staggered back to the boat Alan declared that he didn’t like Burton and that we should go on the next morning. We went straight back out to the Old Cottage Tavern in Byrkley St, home of one of the five breweries still based in Burton, though I guess about the most micro. A flyer with map had been dropped in our cockpit and if they went to all that trouble and we had used their map to find the laundry…. It turned out to be a really friendly pub, very welcoming, and seemed popular and pretty full. Quite something when there are several closed down pubs in the town. Deciding to make a night of it we had an all you can eat Greek at the Mykonos near the Town Hall. It proved to be far more than we could eat and a bottle of wine for £36 which was pretty good value.
We got up today in a much more positive frame of mind and decided to have a good look around Burton and we are very glad we did. We went out fairly late after the promised rain did arrive with a tremendous downpour. By the time we headed out we were starving so had two Full Monty breakfasts in Rumbletums for £7.90 which is just about the cheapest of our travels. Not the best but not bad either.
The centre of town is dominated by the Molson Coors Bewing Company with several sites overhung by huge steel towers. (Marstons is on this side of the canal across Shobnall Fields and we are going on a tour tomorrow). Its quite a surprise to find these sites so central but also great to see a place where things are still being made. There are many solid old brick buildings reminiscent of Manchester and a lively market in the town square. Walking on we came to the beautiful green area of the Trent Washlands and then the Trent itself looking particularly steely and reflective and flowing surprisingly fast. We went over the footbridge drawn to have a closer look at St Peters Church. The Stapenhill Gardens were mid makeover from summer to winter planting so unfortunately there wasn’t much to see but the church with its imposing tower was surrounded with trees that were staring to change colour. It is the first day of Autumn.
We returned on the Ferry Bridge past the sad site of a cleared area and floral tributes where the body of a young Polish woman was found this week.
After shopping at the market and Sainsburys we staggered home in a huge thunderstorm and the rain has continued tonight. The end of summer, but we like Autumn!
A footnote: As Alan has been a radio amateur since his teens it was interesting to learn that Burton on Trent had one of the first radio amateur clubs in the UK, formed just after the first World War.
Yesterday we did 5.04 Miles and 1 Lock
Statistics so far:-
1954.20 Miles, 1103 Locks, 118 Swing Bridges, 82 Lift Bridges, 32 Tunnels