Thursday, 30 June 2016

Newark to Holme Lock

A rather long day for us and we didn’t reach our destination.  With a poor weather forecast for the next few days we decided to move to Nottingham.  The assumption was the Trent would rise very quickly and we might get marooned in Newark.


This is the rather attractive new Aqualine wide beam we saw in Kings Marina yesterday



I’m starting to get rather blasé about castles and cathedrals.  I didn’t think it would happen… but it has! 

The lock keeper at Newark Town Lock cautioned me about shallow water on the inside of the wide bend beyond ‘the power station’.  The power station was quite visible on the skyline but before we reached it another hazard appeared.  I’d anticipated water flowing into the Trent and hadn’t appreciated the reverse would occur at Newark Dyke.

P1030011By now we had started to appreciate just how much water (fresh) was coming down the river.  Farndon Marina appeared to have some rather expensive looking moored boats.

P1030014On one particularly tight bend the flow of water really slowed us down resulting in Waiouru slowly inching forward until wider water was reached.   We arrived at Hazelford Lock behind schedule and once penned up through the lock we temporarily moored to fill the water tank.  I also decided to cease being lazy and went down the weed hatch.  A large lump of weed around the shaft was removed and this subsequently improved our speed.

We made good time to the next lock (Gunthorpe) passing three narrowboats going downstream.  They appeared to be racing along with the strong current.

IMG_0149P1030018Jan noticed a rather interesting looking building at the bottom of a garden.  Was it a summer house or a childs play house?

P1030016I should also mention the small boat we saw on a private mooring at Fiskerton.  The name explains the reason.

IMG_0146The current started to get stronger after Hazelford Lock but we still reached Gunthorpe Lock in 80 minutes where we disposed of our rubbish before continuing.

IMG_0151IMG_0152There were vacant visitor moorings outside the pub (Unicorn Hotel) but we decided to make the most of the weather and continued.

Gunthorpe Road Bridge is rather impressive and Jan thought it might be the end of the working day wilh all the traffic.    However it was just after 4pm, so perhaps unlikely!


The stretch between Gunthorpe and Stoke Locks went OK and we arrived slightly early.  The lock was manned by two volunteer lockies who worked us up and informed me it would be approximately 60 minutes to the next lock and we would find it on self-service because the lock keeper goes off duty at 5.30pm.  That didn’t concern us and we pressed on.

We found the current much stronger above the lock and our speed dropped accordingly.  The current looked and acted far more aggressively.  Jan noticed a bird of prey hovering over a field beside the river.  Obviously it had dinner on its mind.  I managed to take a long range photo.


We made very slow progress to Holme Lock pushing against the flow.  As expected, the lock was on self-service and I walked forward to set it.  After reading the instructions telling the operator to ensure all gates and paddles were closed on leaving, I attempted to empty the lock.  The lower gate paddles raised but the lock wasn’t emptying.  That’s when I realised the paddles on the upper gates were open.  I was then unable to close the paddles so I assume the departing lock keeper had somehow locked them open.  Perhaps because he/she was concerned about the condition of the river.  Consequentially we are now moored on a floating pontoon below the lock.  The lock keeper returns at 9.30am tomorrow and I’ll ask him if it is permissible to cruise the 4 kilometres to Nottingham where we will be off the river.  It may be a wet day for us tomorrow!

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Disappointing Day

The fibreglass cruiser was the first of the three boats to leave our floating finger moorings this morning.  45 minutes later we were away but in the opposite direction.  It started to rain about 10 minutes later and didn’t stop until 6.30pm.

Whilst we are now on non tidal waters there is still a current and we are pushing against it.  Winthorpe Bridge carries the busy A1 motorway over the Trent and we mused about the number of times we might have driven over it without taking any notice of the river below. 


Surprisingly there was little traffic noise underneath the span and we were amused to see one resourceful fisherman had set himself up under the pier.  He’d even managed to back his vehicle to the edge of the bank.

We reached Newark Nether Lock around 9.20am to find an orange light.  I assumed it meant the lock keeper wasn’t aware of our presence and the signage was so far away we couldn’t read it.  After a couple of minutes the lock keeper appeared from his vehicle and gave us a wave before setting the lock.


The boat on the lower lock landing had travelled with us yesterday and obviously spent the night at the lock.  When we entered the lock the friendly lock keeper informed me the locks are manned from 9.30am to 5pm and the orange light means it is on self service.  We exchanged life histories whilst the lock slowly filled.  He was originally from Surrey and had joined the merchant navy to see the world.  He and his wife had owned and lived on a narrowboat for four years but now he’s back on land. 

He mentioned that diesel could be purchased at Kings Marina before Newark and that it was self-service card payment.  The price looked reasonable (69ppl) so we decided to top up.  On arriving in the marina we discovered a large near new Aqualine wide beam on the fuel point mooring.  Apparently the self service pod wasn’t working and the attendant had called in sick.  We waited whilst another employee attempted to manually operate the bowser only to eventually be told he couldn’t clear the fault.  As we were about to leave the marina the boat from the lock landing passed the entrance and managed to grab the last vacant floating mooring in Newark.  It would have been ours if we hadn’t stopped for fuel. Sad smile

There was a gap on the opposite bank with mooring rings fitted into the side of the concrete bank.  Whilst Waiouru fitted we have a large stormwater drain outlet beside the cratch.  It has a large steel cap over the outlet but with all the recent rain water is pouring from the outlet. 


The ‘good ’floating moorings opposite

In the afternoon one of the diligent council workers passed strimming the grass on the other side of the footpath.  Then he kindly came back with a petrol blower and blew all the clippings and grit off the path onto the sides of the boats.  Hopefully the rain will now have washed most of it off.

It’s been too wet to have a look around Newark….. Where’s summer?????

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Torksey Lock and the Trent

Yesterday evening I went for a walk around Torksey Lock and along the River Trent floodbank. 


The lock mechanism is electric/hydraulic at the lower end and manual at the upper.  Some interesting gate and paddle gear.


The teapots were having a meeting outside the cafe and they didn’t appear to be interested in leaving.


As I walked out the vehicle access from the lock to the car park I noticed the ‘V’ in the pavement and thought that was clever making it look like a lock


Then the penny dropped <duh!>.  This is a pair of flood gates which form part of the flood bank around the lock. 

I then walked down to the junction of the channel to Torksey Lock and the Trent.  Actually I walked both sides of the channel ensuring I took a photo in each direction.


From the north bank looking south.  The large brick building on the left is a pumping station


From the opposite direction.  There were a few friendly fishermen about.  They had plenty of time to chat because nothing was biting.

Waiouru was alone on the visitor moorings but opposite a large CRT tug had been moored on the lock landing.


This morning it was overcast but dry and I managed to get a second undercoat onto the cratch windows.  We had been advised by the lock keeper to depart for Cromwell Lock at the change of the tide (low tide) which was due at 2pm.  The tide actually turned slightly earlier and we noticed two other boats were also intending to go upstream.  Both had previously made the trip so we decided to go last.  We’d only just reached the Trent when something appeared to be caught on the prop.  It wasn’t large but had sufficient drag to slow Waiouru. I tried flicking it off with a couple of bursts of reverse without success.  In the end we had to accept a slightly slower speed.  The lockie had told us the trip would take 4.5 hours but we did it in just over 3.5 hours.


The first couple of hours were OK with Jan helping to identify the submerged obstacles but after that the heavens opened and eventually I suggested to her there was little point in both of us getting cold, wet and miserable.  So no photos from this point onwards.

The trip up to Cromwell Lock was uneventful.I’d been expecting it to be slightly more difficult so that was a relief.  When we reached the lock the lead boater informed me the ‘fresh’ had raised the water level reducing the chances of running aground.  We’re now moored at North Muskham.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Back to Torksey

The main task prior to leaving Lincoln was a walk to Tesco for a few essentials.  Along the way I happened to notice the Corn Exchange.


As you can see it dates back to 1879.  By the 18th century individual traders each developed their own discrete trading areas: the Oat Market was in the 'square' formed at the junction between St Mary's Lane and High Street, the corn market was in Cornhill, eggs, butter and perishables were in the Buttermarket north of St Peter-at-Arches. The fish market, which had been on High Bridge, was moved to join the meat market in St Lawrence's churchyard.  Despite the efforts of the council to use regulations to restrict trading to specified areas they were unsuccessful until the establishment of the Corn Exchange.  Today, the Corn Exchange and surrounding area is undergoing major renovation with some well known retail outlets moving into the location.


We winded above the lock and then retraced our cruise back through the Glory Hole.


I asked Jan to take a photo of Brayford Pool.  Unfortunately the sun was in the wrong position so the photo looks rather washed-out.


According to Wikipedia the pool is a natural lake formed by the widening of the River Witham.  The Romans used the pool as an inland port.  Apparently ‘Lin’ is ancient celtic for ‘pool’ and ‘Brayford’ a derivative of ‘Broad Ford’, a wide and shallow part of the river.

The same yellow peril we saw two years ago above the Bingley Five Rise was on the 48 hour moorings outside Burton Waters Marina.  Of course we had been looking out for her having been following the blog.


We are working to a tight timetable and regrettably didn’t have much spare time.  Just a few minutes for a quick exchange of news with Mick & Pip.


Mick and Pip (AKA 9¾).  If you follow their blog you will understand. Smile Hope the build continues to go well.

A dutch barge just beat us onto the CRT services moorings at Lincoln so we continued on to Saxilby where we filled the water tank.  After five days it was down to ¾ so a top-up seemed wise.  It took 45 minutes to fill the tank and then we headed towards Torksey. 

Two kilometres from Torksey we passed another narrowboat going in the opposite direction.  It was nb Earnest D and the crew suddenly noticed our boat name pronouncing it correctly.  A kiwi couple who live in the UK.


We arrived at Torksey Lock just in time to join the other three boats being penned down onto the River Trent.  I needed to change the map on the gps from the Fossdyke to the Trent and that’s when our plan turned to custard.  The map was blank!!! Sad smile  A late change of plan and I had to inform the lock keeper we wouldn’t be going up the Trent to Cromwell.  Instead we are on the floating visitor moorings below the lock waiting for tomorrow.  The gps map problem is now fixed and we are good to go at 2pm.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Buildings and a lazy day

We had a quiet day only going out for a short walk which included a Sunday roast lunch at the nearby Toby Carvery.  I happened to notice the building across from our mooring.


It was the date (1863) and the name above the original arch doorway.

20160626_115724There has been a Doughty’s Mill on this site since the 1790’s.  Over the centuries the collection of buildings expanded and then contracted until the mill finally closed in 1990.  The mill produced seed oil.  Raw material was delivered to the mill via the adjacent River Witham (on which we are currently moored) and subsequently by rail.  It has now been converted to apartments.

Whilst walking back from lunch Jan noticed this next building which looks as if it was once a small school.  It’s currently the RSPCA charity shop.


A little research back on Waiouru has identified it as the former St Mark’s Church Hall which is Grade II listed.  It was constructed around 1875.  This frontal perspective is the only interesting part of the building.  The rear is a boring red brick box.

A number of young female YMCA members had a display in the open area of the Exchange Arcade. 


A portable rock climbing tower seemed to be keeping the girls amused.  Further along a banner was flying across the street in front of the Stonebow Centre.


I didn’t read it correctly on first glance!

It’s time to leave Lincoln and we have decided to head back towards Torksey. 

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Lincoln Castle & Cathedral

Sightseeing today involved a walk up High Street to the Castle and Cathedral.  The top end of the street narrows giving you an impression of what it might have looked like in the medieval period.  The surface of the street is covered in paving stones and one assumes there would have once been a central open gutter rather than the current footpaths. 



We turned right at the top to enter the cathedral through the Exchequer Gate to the main entrance.


The Bishop’s Palace is located on the south side of the Cathedral which is to the right n the above photo.  Most of the palace now seems to be little more than ruins but at one stage it would have been one of the most important buildings in England with the diocese extending from the Humber to the Thames.  Apparently it was sacked during the Civil War and subsequently fell into ruins.

The Chapter House is a traditional round structure with flying buttresses.  A Chapter House is where large meetings are held.  Apparently on 10th January 1308 four Templar Knights were arrested at Temple Bruer by the Sheriff of Lincolnshire on the orders of Edward II and locked up in Clasketgate before eventually ending up in the Chapter House for their preliminary trial.

IMG_0109The cathedral also contains one of the four surviving original copies of the Magna Carta.


We then walked due west to the nearby Lincoln Castle.  Along the way I happened to notice a second horse and carriage which was either for hire or being used for a wedding.


Construction of the current castle was started by William the Conqueror,  At the time William’s position in the north of England was very insecure and the castle was the main way of dominating the surrounding land.  It was built on the site of a former roman fort and is unusual because it has two mottes.  It’s one of the best preserved castles in the UK.


It’s rather obvious that some parts of the castle have been extensively restored.  From 1787 to 1878 it served as a debtors prison.  Wikipedia reports William Marwood, the 19th century hangman, carried out his first execution at Lincoln. He used the long drop, designed to break the victim's neck rather than to strangle, to execute Fred Horry in 1872. Until 1868, prisoners were publicly hanged on the mural tower at the north-east corner of the curtain wall, overlooking the upper town.”  Back then justice was seen to be done!

A trip to B&Q in the afternoon to buy some sand and emery paper in preparation for painting.  The window in the cratch board has now been prepared for painting in anticipation of a guaranteed dry day.  I also managed to complete a small repair on the magnetic latch that holds the rear hatch open.  Shortly after that the heavens opened and it started to bucket down!