The plan for today was to get ourselves settled in to Mercia Marina. We were moored a few boat lengths from the entrance, so this was one of our shortest cruises. The instructions from the office were to moor at the “Chandlery Moorings”. I knew from previous visits that these were opposite the diesel jetty, but crucially allowed pedestrian access to the office.
As so often, the plan didn’t survive long. There was another boat using the mooring, so Clare had to drive on and through the wind tunnel that had caused the fun and games when we first came in to the marina. Forewarned, Clare took an excellent wide line so that we were facing in to the wind when it mattered and moored up.
After doing the paperwork in the office, we went back out to fill up with diesel and empty the waste tank. Now it was time to head for Bartimaeus’s new home. The marina is huge (biggest in Europe apparently) and has sections in alphabetical order named after birds – we are in Moorhen. I’d spotted a couple of canoes on our jetty which made handy landmarks as Clare drove in to the berth – and a minor inconvenience for hopping off with the rope.
Before we’d tied up, our neighbour had popped up out of her boat to apologise about the canoes. She also introduced herself and told us to give her a call if we needed anything. She explained that the canoes had been brought down off the roof during last week’s storms – very sensible! Despite our assurances about the canoes being no problem, she’d soon enlisted a neighbour to help her put them back on the roof.
By the time we’d finished tying up, three other people had introduced themselves and offered help if we needed it. What a friendly place!
The afternoon rain was just threatening as we went for a short stroll to investigate the facilities. We now know where to put our recycling and rubbish in the morning. We also spotted the on-site cycle scheme. There are a number of bike sheds in which bikes of a range of different sizes and styles are available to borrow. They are maintained by volunteers, and the only rule seems to be: bring it back. None of them look like prize possessions, but I’m sure I’d have been able to find one to get me to the village – or even to Derby if I’d been keen.
We were impressed by the tranquil feel of the marina. There are a number of places where more jetties could easily have been squeezed in, but are instead grassy banks with flowers, trees and picnic tables. The water is below the local landscape, so from inside the marina the view is of the trees around the edge, rather than the cars and roads beyond. I still prefer the idea of continuous cruising to marina living, but if we are to stay in a marina, this is the best we’ve seen so far. And we know it has an excellent curry house on site too!