May 31 2017: Starting out
Today was a busy one, preparing, packing car, unpacking then filling Annie: All boaters know about this! Finally John set off, leaving our Retford & Worksop Boat Club behind. At the moment, the Chesterfield Canal is particularly full of green, slimy blanket weed, and is shallower by a few inches, so we travelled slowly, avoiding the worst of the weed. Once through Drakeholes tunnel things improved a little. We passed through the Grindley locks under cloudy skies in a gentle breeze with NB Bob, returning to Lincoln, and we both moored at the scenic country piled and bollarded visitor mooring three miles from West Stockwith.
1 June: up the Trent to Torksey and Saxilby
Liana decided we didn't need some excellent sausages from the Misterton butcher (sob), so we moored up at West Stockwith. Our friends, RWBC Secretary Chris & Elaine Turner on NB Jophina II, are a day ahead of us, while Mick Baines and friend John on NB Pendle Magic joined us today. We both dieselled up with Mick Ogden by the river lock, before heading upriver, an hour late due to a wait for an incoming boat, Annie heeling over slightly as she turned in the strong flood tide. Thankfully, the weather stayed fairly sunny as both boats headed south fifteen miles through Gainsborough, past West Burton power station to Torksey Lock. We met several boats heading up and down stream as we approached Torksey Cut, all advised by the lock keeper to go before bad weather arrives. Saxilby moorings had room for us, thankfully.
2 June: through Lincoln to Bardney
Next day, Pendle Magic set off early to stay in Lincoln, while we tested out assembling our newly purchased folding bikes, which felt a bit wobbly. I hope we cope! At Lincoln, we idled through the Brayford Pool and under High Bridge before mooring by the Waterside Centre to shop. Liana took the bus to get the car, while John took Annie through Stamp End Lock, where we passed through with NB Melita, to Bardney Lock moorings for the night. The kind folks on Melita chased after John to give him his CRT key back - he saw them waving behind! We passed Jophina II at the full pontoon at Fiskerton Fen nature reserve, a lovely spot. At Bardney, another kind boater moved his boat along so Annie could moor, while yet another offered to link us up to electricity: Aren't folks good!
3 June: Kirkstead Bridge
After seeing Annie through Bardney Lock,Liana visited friend Amanda and young Alby in Lincoln. John had a quiet but pleasant time idling down eleven miles to Kirkstead Bridge pontoon visitor mooring at Woodhall Spa, where Liana rejoined, parking the car by the splendid station building near the pub. Today we heard the weather forecast sounded bad for 6 June, when Jophina II joined us before rain and wind ended the day. Chris and Elaine had a long walk into Woodhall Spa with their dog, while we chilled. Liana does brain stretching puzzles. John is still reading Harry Potter in French, bought on the Canal du Midi.
4 June: Kirkstead Bridge
Today John refitted a fairlead for the centre rope in between showers and checked the oil pressure sender connections. Liana's friends Val Sylvester and Liz Boucher visited Annie for the first time, as they live nearby. Both seemed impressed with the facilities, although the rocking by the wind perturbed them a little! We had tea cakes and scones with jam - very English! We are told that we will have to wait until Friday 9 June at the earliest to cross the Wash, due to bad weather - ho hum. Darryl Hill, our pilot, later confirmed Tuesday 13 June as first calm day to go to Kings Lynn and Denver. We took the opportunity to go home, do jobs, see friends and attend church.