Friday, 6 July 2012

Onward to Cruiserland

Thursday, 5th July
The rain woke us at 06.00 hammering down on to the cabin roof, but there was no point in getting up so early. Yesterday I'd rung Cromwell Lock about passage times and was told to be there for 11.00, so it was after 09.00 before we were away by which time the rain had stopped. The first lock, Newark Nether, was still on user-operation when we arrived but the lockie turned up half-way through and booked us into the system, so to speak, telling Cromwell we were on our way.
There were two other narrowboats and a cruiser sharing the lock with us. Cruisers, both large and small, are a feature of the river, to the extent that they outnumber narrowboats, a point brought home to us later at Torksey where we left the lock to be confronted with a never-ending line of the things moored up, making me realise what cruiser owners must feel like on the narrowboat-dominated narrow canals.

As the first boat into  Cromwell we were the first boat out, the rest of the convoy following in line astern.
The convoy follows us out of the enormous Cromwell Lock
It felt quite a responsibility to be leading the way and I felt like shouting "don't follow me, I'm lost!"
Fortunately one of the narrowboats and the cruiser soon decided I wasn't going fast enough and overtook, leaving Matilda, the red boat in the picture, crewed by Rob, one of the many Aussies that seem attracted to the waterways, to follow behind. In his case, Rob had done his research, came over to Crick last year and ordered a boat at the Boat Show, returning in March to take delivery and begin an extended holiday touring England by water.
"The Hay Boat" powers past
I don't know quite what I was expecting on the tidal Trent. Maybe not surf and breaking waves smashing against the banks, but in reality the overall experience was a bit dull. I'd assumed we'd be going down with the ebb and that that would have made for a speedy passage, but the lock keeper had said something about there being so much "fresh" in the river after all the rain that it was overcoming the tidal effect anyway this far upstream so perhaps we were riding the flood?  If anything we seemed to be making slower progress than on the non-tidal section but a check later showed we had maintained our 6 mph average.  I steered this section with one eye on the Trent chart that Ian and Karen from Tacet had kindly given me after the BCN Marathon Challenge and whereas I wouldn't say it was essential it was certainly reassuring and added to the interest  in identifying landmarks along the way.

Despite having had two hours notice of our arrival, Torksey lock was against us and Bernard had to set off to find the lockie to turn it and pen us through. It's a fine specimen of a lock though. Four sets of gates of varying sizes and a collection of capstans and fixed windlasses to operate paddles and top gates (the bottom gates are electrically operated).

A fine selection of  gates, capstans and windlasses at Torksey
Just as it had stopped raining as we set off this morning, it started again soon after we'd arrived at Saxilby. We didn't escape unscathed however, being caught in a downpour as we reconnoitred the village to find the bus stop for the Newark bus that Bernard needs to get in the morning (not easy - it seems to use a different stop to all the other services in the village and the various sources of information are conflicting!)


No Direction said...

"Riding the flood" you certainly deserve a couple of pints after that.

Ian and Karen said...

Glad to see your experiences on the Trent are going well.
Saxilby was a good little village we found with take-aways and shops if you walked far enough. Did you find the little hardware shop alongside the canal?
Enjoy Fossdyke & Witham.