Sunday, 6 July 2008

A wedding and a canal walk

At first I thought the drumming I could hear was coming from the television, as the preliminaries for the Wimbledon ladies singles final included a military band. I then thought it was coming from the Gurdwara across the park. That was until Susan said it was 'from the park' and I looked out the living room window to see two large colourful groups. There was obviously a Sikh wedding taking place, so I grabbed my camera and took a few pictures. The men were in one group and were accompanied by two drummers. Only the groom and the drummers were in traditional costume. Most of the men were in turbans and tails.

The women were separated from the men by about 20 yards and had four trumpeteers in traditional costumes. All the women wore saris of vibrant colours and looked absolutely beautiful. I took my pictures from a distance as I did not want to intrude. I suspect that it may have been a pre-wedding gathering of the groom's family and friends, as a coach arrived and they all left the park. Perhaps the wedding was taking place at another gurdwara. At times like this I say a big thank you to Dave and Simon and all the others who help keep Lenton Recreation Ground such a lovely park.

Given that the weather forecasters had said that the day (Saturday) was going to be wet during the afternoon, I was tempted by the sunny lunchtime to go on a wander whilst Susan watched Wimbledon. I am a coward when it comes to live sport and much prefer to watch after match replays, be it football, tennis or any other sport. I don't enjoy the tension of watching my chosen favourites win (just in case they don't) or lose.

As I had a little shopping to do, I caught a bus to the Broadmarsh and then walked down to the Nottingham Canal, which runs along the southern edge of the city centre and actually separates the railway station from the city centre. From here I could walk along the canal back to Lenton and home. It is a walk I have done hundreds of times, usually after arriving back in Nottingham by train. What I like about the walk home along the canal is that it is quiet and on the flat, with only a gentle uphill walk for about 50 yards towards the end.

In the event the afternoon turned out sunny and hot, but all along the canal there was a cooling breeze from the water. It's a walk I never tire of doing and it is getting ever more popular as more and more people discover that they can walk between Dunkirk and Lenton and Nottingham City Centre away from the city hubbub. If it's a walk you have never done, then perhaps the following pictorial account of yesterday's walk will tempt you to follow in my footsteps.

This is the view when you look west from the Carrington Street canal bridge. To the south you are within yards of the main entrance to Nottingham Railway Station and to the north you can see the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre and Bus Station. In the last ten years or so the north side of the canal has been opened up to canalside bars and eateries, which you can just see on the right-hand side of my picture. Once, Nottingham City Council had a canal museum where the narrow boat is moored on the right, but they closed it down and sold the site to developers. They also closed the city's world famous costume museum. When it comes to museums and the arts, Nottingham City Council is 90% window dressing, 10% substance (and this may be an over-estimation of the latter).

The canal footpath runs along the south side of the canal, which is to the left of my picture.
At the bottom of the footpath you come to the city's modern Magistrates' Court. On a Saturday it is all quiet, but during the week it is often crowded with people. The low building behind the trees is the Nottingham city and county archives building.

Past the courthouse you come to the Wilford Street canal bridge and just beyond you can see the entrance to the only set of locks there are between Trent Bridge and the Beeston Marina (the canal acts as a bypass for a section of the River Trent). The building on the right beyond the bridge is The Navigation Inn. From here it's a towpath.

Luck was me, as there was this string of boats in the lock and just as I arrived the gates were opened and the boats began to leave. The Navigation Inn's canalside terrace has only been here for a few years.

Beyond the locks and across the canal to the north, between the rear of Viyella House (right) and Castle Court (left) you get a fine view of Nottingham Castle and the re-constructed section of the surrounding wall. It collapsed some years ago and it took the City Council some years to rebuild the wall because of technical and structural problems. In the end they have done a good job. You can see how windy it was, the Union Jack looks great. I rather like the rear extension to Viyella House. The City Council's Canal Conservation Area Appraisal & Management Plan, dated March 2008, describes it as 'smart but bland in contrast to the (building's) striking art-deco front elevation'.

Just past Viyella House is Castle Court and it's another canalside building I like the look of.
As you walk along the canal towards Lenton you have the old Tinker's Leen on your left (my picture is a view looking east towards the city centre). Some years ago it was dredged and cleared, since when little or no maintenance work has been undertaken, so it has become all overgrown and clogged again. No doubt someone, somewhere, has already written an application for another capital grant to restore the Tinker's Leen to its former glory!

The footbridge across the canal provides a pedestrian link between Castle Boulevard (to the left), a large retail park (to the right) and the canal. This is another picture looking east.

This is the Tinker's Leen looking west from the bottom of the footbridge, where it joins the canal towpath. A part of me wishes it could stay like this, but I also know that all this growth has almost certainly brought the flow of water to a standstill, so I will enjoy the scene whilst I can.

The canal towpath these days always has a steady flow of pedestrians and cyclists. I suspect that more people use the towpath between the city centre and Lenton than Castle Boulevard, which runs parallel to the canal on its northern side (right of the picture).
Sad to say, what little seating there is beside the canal is surrounded by empty cans and food packaging, as there are no litter bins nearby and people are too lazy to take their rubbish away with them! My punishment for litter droppers is not to fine them, but to make them use a week of their annual holiday leave (for each offence) to help people like Harry, Lenton's resident streetcleaner. If they are not at work, then they can do their week of helping to clear litter immediately.

This picture is taken from land which use to be part of a HomeBase store until it was demolished and replaced with canalside apartments. You can see the towpath, canal and, across the other side, Castle Boulevard.

The strip of greenery between the towpath and the apartments was found very quickly by walkers like myself, who prefer this stretch of grass to the towpath, as it provides a good link between the Sainsbury's supermarket, just beyond the apartments, and the Castle Marina road bridge.

The Castle Marina road bridge provides a link with Lenton and is well used by pedestrians. To the left there are people sitting at tables outside the Baltimore Diner, a fast-food eatery-cum-pub. In the distance, just left of centre, is the towpath bridge over the entrance to the marina.

At the side of the Baltimore Diner you have to walk to the end of the road bridge and cross over. Once on the bridge, if you look east, you have a fine view of Nottingham Castle in the distance. As a child growing up in the 40s and 50s, it was a view I saw every day on a Player's cigarette packet. I don't know when the design was changed, but I still remember the image every time I walk across the bridge.On the bridge, looking west, you get a view of Castle Marina, which opened in the mid-1980s. Prior to this the land had been used as rasilway marshalling yards and a brick works.
This is the view from the centre of the bridge looking west. The marina to the left and the main towpath towards Old Lenton, Dunkirk and Beeston. On the right is the footpath which provides a quieter route to Lenton Boulevard and an alternative route to Old Lenton.

The footpath to Grove Road and Lenton Boulevard is reached by a flight of steps down form the bridge (from the other side of the bridge there is a curling walkway for cyclists, wheelchairs and buggies to use). This footpath is popular with anglers, who can be found here during the fishing season. This is a Lenton view which some of us know and love whilst others have no idea that this path exists!

This is where my walk along the canal comes to an end as I look back along the path towards the road bridge. The canal is to the right and on the left you can see the apartments built by the British Legion Housing Association. They would undoubtedly make it into my list of top ten Lenton buildings if I had one (now there's a thought for the future and as a activity for the proposed 'Lenton Pride' group to consider). I like them for their modernity as much as for their location and their intent.

Well, I hope you've enjoyed this Saturday afternoon stroll along the Nottingham Canal and will do the walk yourself before too long. It just another good example of what makes Lenton such a great place to live in!

Attempts by Gordon Brown to use a meeting of G8 leaders this week to campaign for tougher action against Zimbabwe are in danger of being undermined by claims that Britain is forcing as many as 11,000 Zimbabweans seeking refuge here to make a stark choice between destitution or returning home to possible torture or death.

1 comment:

Rosie said...

The wedding party look very colourful. I've loved looking at the photos of your canal walk; the walk is something to aspire to on one of our visits to you as well as the new sculpture and water feature in your previous post. As you know we love walking along canals and have done much of the two that run through Stoke. It all looks so interesting.