30. Trapped by a Flooded River Trent & Swarkestone Bridge


Despite having winter moorings until the
end of January, the towpath resembled a mud bath. So it was time to move on. Now I can’t leave Swarkestone without talking about Swarkestone Bridge.
It’s just down the road from the canal and it has 17 arches, it’s the longest
stone bridge in England and it’s the longest inland bridge in England.
The bridge is Grade I listed and a scheduled ancient monument. It is 6 miles
south of Derby and for around 300 years, the Midlands’ main crossing of the Trent,
and the only crossing between Burton-on-Trent and Nottingham. The first
mention of the bridge was in 1204 and it has been modified, repaired and rebuilt.
The majority of the existing bridge dates from the late 13th and early 14th
century. The bridge is the subject of several local legends. Its construction
was said to have been financed by the two Bellamont sisters. Both had become
engaged and were to throw a joint celebration. Their fiancés however, had
to meet with the local barons on the far side of the river. Following a storm, the
Trent became swollen. Eager to return to their brides-to-be and their party, the
men tried to cross the river on horseback.
Both were swept away and drowned. The Bellamont sisters commissioned the
bridge, so that no one else would suffer the tragedy they had suffered. Neither
sister married and both died in poverty, having exhausted their fortune on
building the bridge. In 1745 Swarkestone Bridge was the southernmost point of
Bonnie Prince Charlie’s advance on London, in his attempt to claim the
British throne. However, finding no reports of support from the south, they
turned back to Derby and then retreated to Scotland. I’ve moved Alice down the
canal to where, at the start of December, in episode 28, I filmed Derwent Mouth Lock.
It’s the last lock on the Trent & Mersey Canal before it changes to a river. I’m
unable to go any further, as it’s in flood.
So all I can do, is just wait it out. I’ve got a full tank of water, I’ve got a
nice fridge full of food, I can generate my own electricity, my cars
nearby in Shardlow. So I’ve just got to sit and wait. I’m keeping an eye on
various websites to see the water levels, and all they seem to be doing at the
moment, is going up. So, I think it’ll probably be the new year till I move. The main website I
keep an eye on is gaugemap.co.uk. It has an interactive map that covers
British and Irish water levels. Around the system the Environment Agency has
level stations on rivers, streams and brooks. They record the water level every
15 minutes. You can select local stations and see if the water is at a typical
range, below it, or if it’s in flood. The other website I keep an eye on
for closures is the Canal & River Trust notice page. This has information
where there are navigation closures, restrictions, or issues with the towpath.
I’ve included links to both the GaugeMap and the Canal & River Trust pages in
the description below. Since being moored up on the final
stretch before the lock, the lights at the flood lock further back up the canal
have both gone into red, indicating both the River Soar and the River Trent are
flooding and are un-passible. The River Trent in the River Soar have been in flood
conditions for I think, about three or four days now. I knew I wouldn’t be able
to get out onto the Trent, but I knew I would be able to moor up in Shardlow. But
as I was coming down the canal, the day before yesterday. A boat was going up it
and they indicated that they had traveled from a Shardlow Marina, which is
out on the River Trent. Now they said that they had traveled whilst the river
was in flood. They realised that the lights were all red, they realised that
the level was in the red band, but they still decided to travel. It’s not really
advisable because if you look at the small print of many insurance documents,
it says, well on mine it says, if you travel when levels are in red
and the navigation is closed, your not insured. Whilst Molly and I wait it out
until the water levels drop, we would both like to wish you a very happy new
year and here’s to an exciting 2018! Until then, see you later.

69 thoughts on “30. Trapped by a Flooded River Trent & Swarkestone Bridge

  1. Been over that bridge a time or two, and never knew the history. Thank you for more trivia that will forever be of no use to know, but fascinating to know at the same time. When you stop learning new things and going to new places you are inevitably sliding into Geezerhood.

  2. Thank you for another very interesting chapter in your adventure. My wife, Karin and I, from the heart of central Germany wish you a very Happy New Year. We never miss one of your videos.

  3. Thank you Jono for the beautiful scenery and great back story of your area! I love seeing Molly running around youthful and happy. I also had a Black Lab named Lacy, who was with me from 8 weeks old til just two weeks shy of her 15th birthday, truly a family member. Labs are a joy, especially once they grow out of their chewing stage. Happy New Year!

  4. Ahoi, Jono und Molly, wir wünschen Euch ein frohes Neues Jahr auf dem Kanal. Möge Der Bootsausbau im kommenden Jahr zu ende gehen. Neujahrsgrüße aus dem fernen Deutschland. Leo

  5. The canal trust ought to hand out free bags of gravel. Next time you park your boat spread a thin layer along the path. Over time patches will be long enough to be manageable to walk along

  6. Oh the poor sisters. What a fascinating story. I hope you’re not stuck for too long. Happy New Year to you and Molly!

  7. Happy new year to you also Jono! I hope 2018 brings you nothing but happiness and fun (and easy outfitting for the rest of Alice)!

  8. Much nicer camera work than those live chats. Good, sharp focus. Audio is improved. Must be a different camera.

  9. Great video bro and thank you for the new years greetings so I wish you all the best for 2018 in return. Cheers

  10. Thank you for all your great posts in 2017, wishing you and Molly a Happy New Year and I look forward to seeing hopefully the completion of your narrowboat and more posts of your travels in 2018. Once again many thanks for your posts.

  11. Flood is normally above the bollards on the lower part, but it's still madness to go any further. The second you get out onto the main trent you see the current. Saw my boat in this video at Crockers marina 🙂

  12. Happy New Year to you Jono, may all your journeys keep a smile upon your face, Cheers!

  13. Hope the levels drop for you soon, have a very happy new year, and i look forward to your continuing successful blogs.

  14. Sorry you are trapped but what a nice place to be apart from muddy towpaths, if no more rain for a while levels should drop . Have a Happy New Year 🙂

  15. Wishing you a very happy new year Jono and molly… Thank you for all your enjoyable and informative vlogs x

  16. Since following several of your fellow YouTubers, and seeing both you and Molly at various gatherings, I thought it was time to hop over to your channel and discover if Molly wrestled with you everywhere. What a fantastic channel! I think I can squeeze in if you have room for one more. Absolutely brilliant!

  17. Worth noting that just because a section of a river has been 'canalised' (had locks put in etc) it does not mean that the levels don't go up and down. I'm on a winter mooring on a canalised bit of the Soar, I was away from the boat with family over Christmas, the levels rose sharply and while I was thankfully fine a neighbours boat was tied too tight and sank.

  18. Happy New Year to you too Jono & Molly. Many thanks for all your great content this year. I've really enjoyed watching your journey and look forward to seeing how Alice turns out next year. Keep up your great informative videos. Regards Rob

  19. Happy New Year to you also. Looks like Molly is enjoying the respite form boating though!

  20. Thanks for your vlogs of this year Jono, I'm looking forward to what's coming next year, how you're progressing with the fit-out and your travels with Molly. I wish you both all the very best for 2018.

  21. Happy New Year both, while you are just hanging around not doing much – don't suppose you want to come over and help me shovel 2 ft of snow out of my driveway, temp is a balmy minus 38c (-45c wind chill;)

  22. You may not be too happy about hanging around for the levels to drop but Molly look very pleased with herself. All the very best for the New Year and may the weather gods be with you.

  23. And a very HAPPY NEW YEAR to you too! — Not forgetting that black and shiny, bouncy MollyDog!

  24. Hi Jono, Happy New Year! You mentioned that your car was close by, how do you keep your car with you? Do you have to go down the canal and then walk back and drive the car to somewhere local? Where do you park?

  25. Love both you and Narrowboat Helen for your history and presentation style xxx Happy new year

  26. Thanks for all your Vlogs… Hedgewick and I alway's look forward to seeing Molly and your adventures.  Looking forward to you fitting Alice out next year.  All the best from the Cayman Islands sending you some warmth.

  27. Absolutely brilliant video. Informative in history (a definite plus), you discuss and reasonably resolve a real issue (giving tools/resources that helped resolve the issue) and of course, Molly is always a blast.

    Way good job,
    from a California dreamer.

  28. Jono my top ten vlogs looking forward to 18 keep up the good work all the best u an molly 🌊

  29. I hope I'm not asking a daft faq…but I'm confused by the images you show…and the use of the term "flood".
    To be honest the water in the canal and beyond those red lights etc looked calm contained and sedate. A muddy towpath is surely British Standard Normal?
    I'd assume a flood to mean that the canal towpaths and the fields on either side to be under deep inundation and/or a distinct flow direction was being in evidence. Your film seems to this untrained guy to be normal…the canal walls have plenty of height above the water line and there doesn't seem to be a vigorous flow in progress.
    Surely this is perfect cruising conditions…Deep water ..no flow…etc?
    I wonder if can you explain this technical flood terminology. It's honestly not what I'd call flood.

  30. Got a pretty good guess as to the boat coming up from the flooded Trent. Did he have long hair?

  31. Happy New Year to you too. May the adventure continue. My boat will be ready on April 2nd, so, maybe, bump into you, unless I learn how to steer.

  32. Can't believe you've been down there and I didn't see you I've been more up at Stenson over Christmas and the new year we could have had gone and had a beer

  33. wel then wait it out also part of the adventure i guess
    greetings from Holland,, Kitty.

  34. What do you do in such a situation where you are effectively stuck as a continuous cruiser? I've heard stories about people falling foul of the CRT even though the canal at that time was iced over.

  35. All of you are simply inspirational. Please keep loading these great videos.

  36. Molly is very energetic, Labs are lovely companions. 👍👏👏👏

  37. Hi Jono, in your vid about drilling a hole into the side of your boat for the sink what was the fitting called that was the outlet? You put it on with a rope? How big was it and where did you get it from? thanks mate. Good vids btw.

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