Thursday, 29 March 2007

I think 'weir' near Alrewas.....

I'm always looking for new bits of river to go exploring. They're not always easy to get to (private land, too far to carry the kayak, steep or marshy banks), so often I'll study maps to find a bit of river near a canal, so that I can easily park, paddle down the canal and then cross over to it. I've paddled around Alrewas many times since, but when I first looked at this map I couldn't figure out what was going on. The River Trent and the canal appear to cross each other but there is no aquaduct. What's that other bit of waterway that goes between the river and the canal? Further along the canal (about a mile, just off this map) the canal and river are joined by yet another channel..who,what??.. which way is that flowing?? Okay quickly this is how it works..river flows from west, joins the canal (which is guarded by a lock on the west), the current is arrested by the weir (map central), the cannel north of the church is the mill race which leaves the river (west) over a wier then rejoins the river at the junction with the canal, narrowboats are stopped from being swept down river by the long floating guard fence on the larger weir then rejoin the canal system via a lock (east), at the point where the overflow channel leaves the canal to join the river below the main weir at the island (off map) which is in fact created by yet another old mill race just upsream of the meeting of River Trent & Tame. Right! You got it? So..question if one person drops a "pooh"stick in at the upper mill race and one at the same point on the river, who will win?? YOU weren't paying attention!!

Oh; that's what they were pointing at. Yes, my 'teapot' car is almost the same size as my kayak. When traveling on the motorway I have 'tack' across the lanes to get good fuel economy! " IF YE CATCH THE TRADE WINDS, WE'LL BE IN THE AMERICAS BY SPRING.."
We got into the water at the mill race, (now if you'd payed attention you'd know where that was wouldn't you!) I helped Jenny into her kayak, tucked her sray deck and pushed her carefully into the channel. No, don't wait for me, you just go and enjoy yourself...she'll be back, I've got the food!

No, I wasn't just behind you, nevermind! I'm not been fair, she is just happy to be out kayaking after her winter break. The mill race seems strange this time of year, in summer it's really narrow with reeds, flowers and dragonflies darting about.

This is where the race joins the river/canal. On the left is one of the many footbridges, they have been replaced over the years, but the old oak support stumps remain and if you're not careful you get hung up on them. When you paddle you spin hopelessly on the spot, and it's not like you can easily get out to push yourself off! Up ahead is a narrowboat, drifting (gearbox troubles) dangerously towards the hole in the floating guard above the weir...Happy days.

He was alright. It's odd seeing a road style sign on a river/canal. The little picture on the right with the barge being sucked over the weir makes me laugh. As you approach the weir you can hear a distant roar. There is a sign telling you to shoot the weir at your own risk, I've seen it, glancing frantically over my shoulder while desperately trying to escape the increasingly strong current!

If you hang onto this low bridge on the Trent and bounce up and down, you can make some cool waves (which combine with the currents to make larger ones) much to Jennys amusement.

Time for a break, and a bacon sandwich. MMMmmmm! BAAaacooon....

I love this little cooker that I take on my travels. It's made of titanium, it is minute and weighs grams!

Mind you it burns alcohol and you can't see the flame in daylight. I'm forever setting my fingers alight. MMMmmm! BAAaaacooon....

The ride back home is easy, gently pirouetting downstream, lying back in your kayak, a cup of coffee on your chest...OH CRAP it's fallen off! Up ahead, the village of Alrewas, with the landmark big brick mill.

This is an old mill, but it doesn't actually lean like that! That's just my crooked photograghy. The picture doesn't show it but there is quite a pull towards the weir at the top of the race as it passes under this mill (well there would be after all, it's a mill) and you don't want to be sucked down this weir, it's steep and full of rubbish..dangerous.(not waving,...drowning!)

Loaded up and off back home, (if the winds are favourable!)


Elisa, Jarrod & Thomas said...

No way that little micra is your car...nope doesn't seem possible.

barkfoot said...

Take the 'mickey' out of my little car would you? Sadly, the green Rover that we both new & loved is no more...Shortly after a new MOT and a camping trip to Torquay, in it's 150 thousanths mile it suddenly and unexpectedly expired. It's short stroke alloy engine ground to a halt and the tacko plopped to zero, it's needle never to live in the 'red' zone again! So don't be hard on 'teapot' Micra it has a lot to live up to, and continues to wear the spotlights from my previous cars as a'badge of honour'.

Elisa, Jarrod & Thomas said...

Thought I recognized the spotlights...I'm sad about the Rover metro though, It was a good car.