Saturday 7 October 2023

Chesterfield Canal

 Saturday 7 October West Stockwith to RWBC Clayworth (11 miles, 4 locks)

Before we left we saw Wilf and Debbie before they moved blacked boats back in the water and lifted two more out ready for blacking. Also, John had a long chat with young Wilf, who now has long 12 hour shifts as lockie at Keadby as well as West Stockwith. He is unlikely to take over when his dad retires. They hope Mark, who now owns the two hire boats in the basin, will take over.

Untying Annie at West Stockwith 

Misterton bottom lock

I like the herring bone brick pattern on the bay window 
Far too many reeds in some places. The canal needs a good dredging.

Dave and Shirley on NB She’s The One warned us of low levels and shallowness. They were right. We took our time, managing 2 knots mostly, but only about 1.5 knots between the two locks at Grindley. This section needs dredging. Weather was cloudy but pleasant, although John wore wet weather gear, just in case. All the locks were ok, this time. The fancy bridge at Wiseton has had all the ivy removed, exposing the lovely but rusty ironwork. Hopefully this will be treated and painted.

the visitor mooring is cut and deep enough for mooring
Our last lock at Gringley 

Drakeholes tunnel 
We passed Dave, Shirl and She’s The One by the tunnel.
The ivy has gone.
A lone canoeist
Home at RWBC

Reaching Clayworth, we moored Annie, connected her to the mains. John did two repairs while Liana fetched the car. Then we watched Wales and England both play in the Rugby World Cup

Friday 6 October 2023

The Tidal River Trent

 Thursday 5 October Cromwell Lock to Torksey Lock cut (15 miles, 1 lock)

The strong winds had reduced, thankfully, but the heavy rain was still around. John wore his wet weather gear. He rang Cromwell Lock at 0830, and lockie Neil answered, confirming that we could enter the lock once a boat had come up. We took off the several ropes used last night in reverse order. John changed the stern rope to a pontoon cleat a yard in front of the boat stud, so the boat would swing out in the current when all the other ropes were released. Liana hopped on board, the bow swung out, John took off the rope while pushing the throttle forward, and we were off. Turning 180 degrees, we headed for the lock.

Neil is often at either Cromwell or Torksey lock, so we see him every trip. We had a brief chat before we left on the fifteen mile trip to Torksey.

The Besthorpe gravel wharf equipment looks ready to go, but lorries are used at the moment.

A different view of Dunham Road Bridge
The first seven miles are pretty straightforward for steerers, just stay in the middle, maybe closer to the outside on curves and corners to avoid the shallows on the inside of bends. The weather improved , rain stopped, more or less. The sun made an occasional appearance.

Nick steered for the last eight miles, while John used the old Boating Association Tidal Trent chart to advise him about shallows, sunken islands, which arch to go under bridges and the like.

John took over as we passed the brick pumping station and entered Torksey cut. It is just wide enough to turn, if you are careful, so John turned Annie to face the main river and we moored on the excellent long floating pontoon. 

We all enjoyed a final lunch together, eating the rest of the pulled pork with pasta-tasty!

Friday 6 October Torksey Lock cut to West Stockwith basin (15 miles, 1 lock)

After a wet night and morning, John dressed again in wet weather gear. Thankfully, the rain stopped after a while and we could enjoy our trip. 

The sun broke through event, as we passed under railway viaducts, past Torksey Castle, Cotham and West Burton power stations and several shallow sections, including the Roman ford at Littleborough.

Leaving Torksey cut. NB Dawn Mist turned upstream back to Cromwell and Newark. We turned right, downstream.
Cotham power station 
Torksey Viaduct 
Big boats move along the line between two white poles at Marton Mill, to avoid shoals.
You aim at the white pole at Marton Mill
Hunting Lodge
Knaith Hall

West Burton power station 

We were the only boat heading downstream, but there were lots of gulls, ducks, cormorants, herons and a few swans around. 

Nearing low tide 
Gainsborough Railway Viaduct 
Kerry flour mill used to be Spillers
Gainsborough Bridge
Morton apartments. Friends Al & Annie live here.

John rang West Stockwith lock as we reached Gainsborough. Lockie Jim said we were spot on to arrive at 1100, about slack water. In fact, we arrived at Stocky, John turned Annie to face upstream and rang Jim again. We needed to wait ten minutes for there to be enough water above the lock sill for Annie to enter, as it was low tide, just before the flood tide whizzes upriver for over two hours. John entered the lock very easily at slack water, with no current flowing at all, probably the easiest entry ever!


We moored in the basin, end on next to the hire boats Robin Hood and Maid Marian, then had lunch at the newly reopened Waterside Inn. Liana got a lift from Nick to Lincoln and returned with our car later, from Nottingham. John rested and did a few jobs on Annie.

Tuesday 3 October 2023

Down the River Trent

 Tuesday 3 October Shardlow to Castle Marina, Nottingham and Holme Pierrepoint 15 miles, 6 locks)

We set off after liver and bacon for John! We found Little Dawn winding before Derwentmouth lock, so bid them farewell. The lock took a while. John changed the air filter and added engine oil, which delayed us a little. With a gilet on, the morning was lovely and warm enough. 

After a mile on the river we entered Sawley cut, where the helpful CRT volunteer helped us through the lock. The scenery was pleasant this fine morning. 

Once through Cranfleet lock, we enjoyed the miles to Beeston. 

A boater kindly helped us through Beeston lock, where we used the services Elsan point.

A few miles along the Beeston Canal, past plenty of moored boats, saw us mooring by the Castle Marina and having lunch at the Watersedge pub while we waited for our friends Karen and Mick to arrive.

After a visit to Sainsbury’s, we set off to Castle lock viewing  the new canalside buildings before and after it. 



Some are being rebuilt and improved after what seems a very short time. Nick and Karen saw the London Road is on stilts above the water meadows. Passing Meadow Lane, the home of Nottingham County FC, we descended Meadow Lane lock to the river opposite the City Ground, home of Nottingham Forest FC. A broken down widebeam (note in window) was on the lock mooring pontoon, so John had to hover to pick up the crew. 

We managed this safely, then passed all the newish apartment blocks on the North side of the river upon our way to moor above Holme Lock. 

After tea, we had a short walk around the white water course, watching the canoeists. 

Wednesday 4 October Holme Lock to Newark and on to above Cromwell Lock (25 miles, 6 river locks)

This cruise between Nottingham and Newark is one of our favourites. On a sunny day it is both beautiful and idyllic. Today was cloudy and cool when the sun wasn’t out, but we all thoroughly enjoyed the day. We were through Holme lock (Operated by Liana and Nick) before the volunteer arrived. There were volunteers at Stoke Bardolph, Gunthorpe, Hazleford and Newark Town locks. In the miles between, we relaxed and enjoyed the scenery!

Holme Lock
Using a riser when going downhill.


Passing Averham Weir

One of the Newark weirs near Town lock

Leaving Town lock by the castle
Railway and A1 bridges

We visited Newark market and shops and had coffee and cake. Liana shopped on the way back.

As we were due to set off from Cromwell moorings at 0830 next morning, we decided to carry on to the pontoon moorings above that lock. John took Annie through Nether lock, operated by Liana and Nick once an oncoming boat had come through.

Nick steered Annie the five miles to Cromwell while John rested.

The very strong wind made mooring very difficult on the pontoon, especially as the space meant our bow stuck out ten feet beyond the pontoon. Nick and John managed it between them. John added both centre ropes to make absolutely sure Annie was secure in the gale. We ate pork cooked in the slow cooker - delicious!