Mill Pond Reflections….


The Mill Pond, created by a weir on the Derbyshire, River Derwent, is mirror calm.  The Old Mill, at New Bridge Curbar, is no longer a working water powered Mill.  It still manages to create an image of a time and industry long gone

Something else to recall….

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

12th October

(C) David Oakes 2020


An Inspired Link……


Crinan Canal Basin, Argyll, Scotland

Crinan is the western end of a nine mile canal  opened in 1801.   Designed to create a short cut for  small inland steam ships, ‘The Clyde Puffers” and for Fishing Vessels. linking the Clyde (and Glasgow) with the North West Coast of Scotland and the Hebridean Islands.  Time saved, and the possible trauma, of  navigating the often turbulent and exposed Mull of Kintyre were a vital bonus.

The Crinan canal  cuts a scenic route from Lochgilphead,  on Loch Gilp in the east, to Crinan. It is here by  the means of sea locks, that the  traffic along the canal  regains open water into Loch Crinan and the Sound of Jura, then onwards to the Isles. Whilst today the ‘Puffers’ are gone, fishing vessels still use the route.  However it is Leisure Craft that are todays prime users.

It is also a great little tourist spot for visitors  to this part of Argyll and Bute.  Lovely on a sunny day, even rather Mediterranean ….. it would have been a busy,  noisy, smoky world in its  heydays.

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

6th August

(C) David Oakes 2020


A Highland Waterway……….


Loch Lochy, The Great Glen, Lochaber, Scotland

More than just a Highland Loch, Loch Lochy is one of several Lochs that have been linked to form the Caledonian Canal.  Stretching  for over 60miles from Corpach, just outside Fort William on the west coast, it heads north east to Inverness on the East Coast.  Constructed in the days when the Scottish Fishing Industry  was at its peak and shipping a key means of transportation. It opened in 1822 ,thus saving days of sailing round the coast, to cross Scotland.   We say ‘constructed’ but less than a third of the canal is man made. Thomas Telford skilfully linked the  Lochs, that  lie along the natural geological feature of the Great Glen, into one waterways link.  Grand scenery and a grand feat of vision and construction.

Today a major contributor to the Tourist Industry…

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

30th July

(C) David Oakes 2020




Along the Canal……


The Clock Warehouse on the Trent and Mersey Navigation, Shardlow, Derbyshire

We got an early start yesterday…well the sun was shining and only a few clouds  provide a pattern to the blue sky.    The Trent and Mersey Canal was the location for a good walk along the towpath.

Others also opted for an early start.  One narrowboat heading northwards, a group of students canoeing down the canal . Shortly join the River Trent to continue on into Nottingham. Friendly exchanges between between all then off in our separate directions.

The Trent and Mersey Canal was completed in 1777, parliamentary permission being licenced in 1766….  so not long to build the 93 mile long canal.  The object of this major engineering construction was to link the River Trent with the River Mersey.  The industrial heartlands of the Midlands,  past the Breweries of Burton upon Trent, then through the Potteries and onto the ports of Liverpool and of course the industrial north.


Shardlow is about a mile from where the River Trent joins the Canal.  So Shardlow became an important transport and waterways hub at both the start and the completion of a journey as traffic was truly both ways.  Today  many of the old canal side warehouses have been converted into Apartment’s and Homes.  The boatyard basin with boatbuilders still operate and fitout modern narrowboats.  Obviously there has to be the pub or two!  All in all a busy little location and a slice of our industrial heritage.  What has changed is more than a switch to a leisure activity…. a good number of folk have opted to a life on board a narrowboat…  life at a slow pace.

Maybe the name of this boat says it all…


So join me in exploring just a few of the corners along the canal here at Shardlow…


Now that lockdown restrictions have been eased, traffic will start to increase  along the canal again…. bring life back to the Trent and Mersey Navigation.

As for that good weather…well I left it at Shardlow. Today normal service has been resumed. Dull with rain threatening… Still it is nice by the Lake.


Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

22nd July

(C) David Oakes 2020

Silent Sunday…… So Off to Church


The ruins of Kilchattan Chapel, Isle of Luing, Argyll, Scotland

Little remains of this tiny chapel at the heart of Luing.  What does remain contains a history of this once busy and prosperous (for some) Island on Scotland’s west coast.  The story is told in the graveyard that surrounds what is left of the chapel.  It tells of the Fisher folk, the Crofters and a large number of Slate Quarrymen.  Of the later, many were incomers to the island, who lost their lives in this dangerous quarry environment….  they came but never left…..just an inscription on a simple slate stone remains.

Travelers to Luing should pause and read these well weathered stones.  They reveal the true identity of this now tranquil island


The Island of Luing is one of many, in a chain of islands along the  Atlantic coast of Argyll.  All had one thing in common.  They were all once important producers of Slate, a valuable building resource, that was exported from Luing and its neighbouring islands by ship across the world.

I once described Luing as   ‘The Island with a Hole in It‘.   The hole, is of course, one of the many quarries that dot the islands.  As the slate lies beneath the island these quarries go down deep, well below sea level.   These soon fill with water well disguising the island industrial past….now an attractive tourist view.


In todays world Luing  still survives on a fragile Crofting way of farming.  This is supplemented by Tourism, but this is also limited and fragile.  But for visitors to Luing they can enjoy  an island that in many ways is still in the past.   Village names such as Tobernochy, Killchattan and Cullipool, names which are larger than villages themselves.  Houses that once were Quarrymen’s homes, Agricultural workers homes and Fishing communities.  Many of course today are Holiday Homes.  Many with great vistas, though for the quarry workers that was possibly of little importance. Well worth exploring on peaceful roads…

In true island style, visitors arrive by way of the small Cuan Car Ferry…


Then explore this little piece of Scottish Island solitude, relax at Cullipool and reflect that this was one of several Atlantic coast ports from where Luing Slate departed to all points of the compass….


Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

28th June

(C) David Oakes 2020