Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Hot and Bothered on the Trent

We were due through Torksey lock at 14.00 as part of a convoy of four narrowboats and a cruiser heading up river to Cromwell Lock
The convoy in Torksey Lock

The leading narrowboat disappeared into the distance soon after we joined the main stream but at first the other boats stayed close together, with Starcross the last of the convoy.

The exit from Torksey is usually timed to coincide with the incoming tide, which helps to counteract the flow of the river, at least for the first couple of hours. Tides at the moment, however, are very low and according to the lockie at Cromwell their effect is minimal.  However, we were all making reasonable progress despite oncoming cruisers creating huge bow-waves and a kamikaze water-skier zigzagging between the convoy on the way down river and again on the way back!

After a while we began to fall behind the rest of the convoy so I increased the revs in an attempt keep up. Big Mistake! Gradually the engine temperature began to rise and eventually the overheating warning buzzer sounded!  Normal procedure here would be to stop, wait for it to cool down and check coolant levels before proceeding: clearly not an option on a tidal river. Instead I slowed right down to the point where we were only just making progress and after about the minutes the buzzer stopped. After a further ten minutes I began to gradually increase speed to a point where we were making progress again and I rang the Cromwell lockie to warn him we would be way behind the rest of the convoy as by now the tide had turned.

We were within three kilometres of Cromwell lock when we picked up a load of weed on the prop! This time there was no option but to stop the engine and make a world-record time visit to the weedhatch before the tide and wind turned us around and/or had us aground!  I was quite relieved to reach Cromwell at 18.30 the journey up river having taken half as long again as our trip downstream.

That wasn't the end of our adventures for the day - but I'll tell you about that tomorrow!


Naughty-Cal said...

Glad you made it to Cromwell ok but it is wise to have your anchor ready to deploy for such events.

Jim said...

Well, the anchor was all ready but to be honest it never crossed my mind to actually use it! From what I've read - and I did read a lot before undertaking this trip - recovering the anchor afterwards can be a difficult job. Still, "all's well that ends well" as they say.

Ian and Karen said...

Glad you're all safe and sound.

Jim said...

Karen, I actually enjoyed the whole experience and have now conquered my fear of rivers! The Trent charts you gave me were very useful. Thank you.