Saturday 24 October 2020

The last leg home

 Thursday 22 October Solar Panels, mended locks and VHF

Yesterday was horribly wet, so Liana did not use our car to see a friend. Instead, I drove a hundred miles to the Grand Union Canal near Stockton, Warwickshire, to collect a solar panel system I had bought on eBay. 

Liveaboard David Tinker has upgraded on NB Tinker, and we are the beneficiary.We have everything installed by Onboard Solar five years ago, including all cables, supports and MPPT controller.

Today, now Misterton Top Lock has been repaired, we can return the ten miles to our home moorings at RWBC Clayworth.

John removed our old solar panels and fitted the three 100W panels from NB Tinker in their place, to see if there was an improvement: There was! In fact, we both liked them flat and side by side, as they take up less roof space and are less intrusive. We know tilting them is more efficient, but they should provide enough power flat. 

Thankfully, the day started off with sun and blue skies, so after thanking Bridget and Wilf for keeping an eye on Annie, we set off with Jan and Dave Warsop on NB Delhi. After a fortnight on the River Witham and Foss Dyke, they had arrived at West Stockwith yesterday.

  We passed through the two Misterton Locks in the sun, and enjoyed the weather as we journeyed the few miles to the last two locks at Gringley.

The wind was strengthening and cool, so we had to get coats out later. 

Liana has found out that my Cowling ancestors once owned two of the Walkeringham brickworks, where the chimney is and new marina will be.

Through the tunnel we turned past newly repaired banks homewards, reaching our moorings without incident. It’s fine to be back.

While home, John found he could get a ship’s radio license from Ofcom, so the radio now has a Call Sign and the radio code number to input. We are supposed to get an operator’s license to use it from RYA, who know how to charge, even though John was a Naval Officer as a young man, using VHF on warships.
I failed to do this a year or so ago, so maybe they have made it easier to do online. Try

Friday 2 October 2020

Homeward Bound - but locked out!

 Friday 2 October Torksey to West Stockwith and home (15 miles, 1 lock)

We’ve had a great time travelling with Jan and Dave Warsop and NB Delhi. This morning we said au revoir, as they have decided to spend a couple of weeks on the Witham. Misterton Top Lock, on the Chesterfield Canal near West Stockwith, is chained shut pending repairs, so we will not be able to take Annie back to her home moorings. John has arranged with Lock keeper Jim to leave Annie moored safely in the basin.

NB Lady Florence set off with us, but the lady steerer said we should go ahead as she was going slowly. We both hit the last of the flood tide, and Lady Florence dropped far behind. As usual when we were passing through Gainsborough, John rang the West Stockwith lock keeper, Dan, so he knew when to get the lock ready for us. When asked about Lady Florence, John suggested Dan might like to check she was ok. She arrived safely, an hour or so after Annie.

The trip downriver was surprisingly pleasant, given the weather forecast! Cloudy with sunny intervals and mild, for the most part. However, the wind increased steadily until waves were breaking around Annie’s bow as we reached the Gainsborough area, and the ebb tide increased in speed.

 John turned Annie as we passed the lock at West Stockwith, stemmed the tide and moved Annie crab fashion across the river towards the lock. At the last moment he turned towards the lock and gunned the motor to get in as the strong ebb tide pushed us downriver. We got in the lock without a bump, thankfully. 😝 

We have now moored her beside friends Wilf and Debbie’s Dutch barge, at West Stockwith Basin. They blacked Annie’s hull last year. Wilf very kindly drove Liana the six miles to our car at RWBC Clayworth, even though it was rather out of his way to the bank. Mick Ogden filled up our diesel tank and swapped our gas bottle for a new one. We try to support our local small businesses!

Thursday 1 October 2020

Tides and Time

 Thursday 1 October Cromwell Lock to Torksey Cut on the tidal Trent (15 miles, 1 lock)

The sun is shining as clouds scud across the blue sky, this morning. We set off on the fifteen miles to Torksey cut about 10am, to arrive about 1.30pm, hopefully. We stop there overnight, as today the tide would be too low at the time we would arrive at West Stockwith. We usually don’t ascend Torksey Lock onto the Fosse Dyke, in case the river is too low to get down out of the lock again when we want to set off, tomorrow.

I had left a phone message for lock keepers Jim and Wilf af West Stockwith, to keep two berths at the basin for Annie and Delhi, as we had heard Misterton Top Lock was out of action, stopping us going up the Chesterfield Canal. However, they told Jan that we may be able to use the lock using just the other top gate. We will see!

As a large Dutch barge passed us, we recognised Nevaeh (Heaven backwards!), whose crew we had met on our August cruise in Yorkshire.

For part of the trip, we cruised side by side.
Reaching Torksey, we turned and moored on the pontoon. Sadly,he lock  tea shop Is shut due to the pandemic, but we managed to book a meal at the White Swan for 6pm, to try their famous pies! The pies were delicious! We will go again.

 Rachel sent us a stunning picture of Honeypie on the beach at Bamburgh, at sunset.