|A motley collection of rubbish from around the prop|
Well, if they had been boaters this would have been their local canal and it would have suited them perfectly. It feels like the road to perdition but everyone you meet tells you to keep right right on to the end because canalling paradise awaits.
All I can say is, that it better had be because we couldn't have been toiling and suffering any more than we have been today. In nine hours we have travelled nine miles and three locks to reach Retford. Two of those miles alone took nearly an hour and the rest were rarely pleasant.
Weed and more weed was the problem – and despite passing two weed cutting boats. It's not just the weed but the shallow, silty bottom of the canal. As we crawled along we churned a frothing mush of silt and weed behind us, which is turn dragged up any rubbish that happened to be in it and spun it round our prop – endless roots and bits of branch, industrial quantities of weed and a sizeable length of heavy duty Bowden cable with an unidentifiable lump of metal attached to it. The weed is that half rotted blanket weed which rises to the surface with a delightful cesspit odour.
Yes, there are stretches that are deeper and cleaner but then the weed and sludge wraps you in its grasp again and from Clayworth pretty much all the way to the edge of Retford it was horrible.
|And natural, river-like edges|
|But even the weed cutters can't keep the enemy at bay|
But is that enough? If it wasn't for mule headed determination and the repeated talk of the paradise that awaits in the final flight of locks we would certainly have turned round by now. We're deep draughted and I make allowances for that wherever we boat but today was hell. Heaven better be waiting!
Of course, the analogy does break down doesn't it. Heaven is a one-way trip but after our glimpse of the pearly gates we have to go through this hell again.