Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Nottingham to Newark

I got back to the boat on Monday afternoon and extricated her from Castle Marina, where she'd been for the last fortnight. "Extrication" involved quite a lot of reversing and other manoeuvring, with more of the same to gain access to the diesel pump, but it all went well - as it would do with nobody watching due to the heavy rain that was falling at the time. Once out on the towpath I tied up again and went no further for the rest of the day until evening when I got a bus into the city and found some good live jazz at the Bell Inn.

Waiting for crew in Nottingham. Will that warehouse behind be repainted soon?!
Yesterday, crew member Bernard arrived at midday and we set off for the river. Bernard's an old hand on the Trent so it was good to have him aboard on what was my first time. Meadow Lane Lock was the first challenge, with boats permanently moored all the way up to the lock entrance and contractors working with a gantry across which they were hauling buckets (of what?) over the top gates. Added to that a widebeam boat was tied up squarely on the lower lock landing, which made  getting Bernard back on board trickier than it should have been.
The rest of the Trent passage was easy - and I even got to like it after my initial anxiety about being out on deep, fast-flowing water had worn off! We had to wait at Holme Lock because, as the locky explained, he didn't know we were coming (we should have rung him from Nottingham). After that we were "in the system" and all following locks were ready and waiting for us.
Gunthorpe Bridge
Our initial plan had been to stop at Fiskerton, where our Nicholson's Guide showed a pub and a mooring, with Gunthorpe as a possible fallback if that proved too far. But we were soon put right by the Holme lock-keeper as to the lack of moorings there ("whatever your guide book says") and of course, he was right. By now though we'd realised we were making much better progress that anticipated - about 6 m.p.h. and 10 minutes a lock  -and that we could easily make Newark, which became our target for the night and which we reached at 17.30.  Newark Town lock was on user-operation by now and Bernard got into a bit of a pickle with the controls, managing at one point to have both sets of paddles up at once, something I'm surprised there isn't an interlocking system to prevent. 
Newark Town Lock
I remembered that on the river you are always supposed to moor facing upstream, so once below the lock I winded - not without difficulty I have to say, due to the stream - and then tied up opposite the castle.

The view from the side window: Newark Castle
And so ended the first day on the Trent!


Sarah said...

Which pubs did you go to????

Anonymous said...

Sarah, It's a bit tricky as Bernard has given up drinking! All is not lost though - see tomorrow's blog!