Thursday 1 November 2018

29 October: The last leg home along the Chesterfield Canal

Monday 29 October: Down the slipway and homewards (9 miles, 4 locks)
We arrived at West Stockwith to prepare Annie for re-entering the water after her blacking. John refitted newly cleaned fenders front and rear. Liana drove to Retford & Worksop Boat Club to leave the car, and returned by bus, just as John finished sorting out Annie and paying for the blacking. We paid £250 for taking Annie out of the water, jetspraying and replacing her in the water; £300 for three coats of bitumen (one coat each day) up to the gunwhale (£75 extra) and in the bowthruster tube. We also paid £160 for four 2.5kg magnesium anodes, placed 1/3 and 2/3 of the way along the hull, just above the base plate. The old anodes at front and rear still had about 1.5kg left after three years, so Annie should be well protected.
hooked up and about to move

on the way to the slipway near the van

Annie moored safely in West Stockwith basin

Our journey through Misterton locks and countryside was cold but pretty in the afternoon sun, but slow, due to shallowness: Back in May, visiting boats had turned back because of this, they had told us. We could see that some work cutting back vegetation had been done by volunteers on Chesterfield Canal Trust (CCT) work boat Python. Annie grounded twice in the middle of the canal, once when trying to enter Gringley Lock.
leaving West Stockwith basin, past the Waterfront pub

Gringley Lock seemed to have a sand bar below it

lots of fallen leaves and wood in Gringley Lock

nearing sunset at Gringley

we grounded here

 It was good to see three boats moored near Drakeholes tunnel: If only the nearby White Swan would reopen! We took 5.5 hours to reach our mooring at Clayworth, a bit longer than usual. The last two miles were completed after dusk, but headlamp and navigation lights helped. John asked Liana to look out front at bridge holes, as it is harder to judge distance at night, especially with a 60 foot narrowboat. We arrived to see the clubhouse and moorings lit up by lamps, very atmospheric. As we shivered at temperatures just above freezing, we were the only folk around on a Monday night, as you might expect. Leaving Annie pretty much winterised, we made our way home.

John sent an email to as follows:

"My wife and I have been out on our boat since May, from our mooring at RWBC at Clayworth ,up the Trent to Llangollen, Birmingham, Stratford, Gloucester, Braunston and back. You can view our blog

Returning up the Chesterfield Canal from West Stockwith, the canal is one of the shallowest around! While not rushing, we could not travel more than 2 or 2.5 knots in most places. After Misterton Locks, the next two miles are very shallow.  The bollarded visitor moorings in the country need dredging too. Before Drakeholes, our narrowboat Annie (CRT512012) grounded in the middle of the canal, passing a cattle watering spot. She also grounded a few yards from the bottom gates of Gringley lock, directly in front of the gates.  Some sections have a lot of reed / sedge growth at the side, too.

I am delighted to see the work being done to improve this canal by volunteers using NB Python. I know that the budget is tight, but I hope that money saved by volunteers working so hard can be found to increase dredging this winter on what is such a lovely canal.

Earlier this summer, we spoke to several boaters visiting the Chesterfield Canal. They had turned around before Retford because it was so shallow, and were disappointed, after daring (their words) to come down the Tidal Trent, in line with the encouragement given by CRT to boaters. We ourselves always tell folk how beautiful the Trent is, particularly above Newark. We also encourage people to use the Tidal Trent.

My wife Liana and I used our boat to take Sean McGinley, another CRT lady and the inspectors between Misterton and Clayworth,  before our canal was awarded its green award, as we are active supporters of the Chesterfield Canal. The work done by volunteers deserves some reward, in our opinion, apart from that derived from jobs well done. I would be pleased to hear that further dredging works can be included on the Chesterfield canal in the near future."
If you wish to let CRT know about any problems you have or find on the canals, let them know, so they can investigate and decide if action needs to be taken.