Shop front in the summer

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Not for the faint hearted or inexperienced

I awoke this morning to hear that lovely sound of rain pitter pattering on the cabin top of the boat. I then realised that it was Saturday and today being a turn round day soon changed my thoughts about the rain… but amazingly by the time I came to work the sun had come out. We did have another short sharp shower this afternoon, but nothing to write home about. It's been a busy day with turnrounds, dayboats and the normal day-to-day stuff here.

I’ve had a really enjoyable week, both at work and at play!

I went over to meet Sue on Monday night who was at Retford on the little used Chesterfield Canal. After having dinner I drove over to Newark and left the car in the station car park and got the train back to Retford, therefore the car would be in the right location for me to jump in it and drive home after a couple of days.

I must say that the station at Newark Northgate is amazingly well kept and is a credit to the station staff. Here’s a view of the station with its unique clock.

After arriving back at Retford it was time to have couple of drinks and head off to bed, ready for the trip ahead.

Tuesday morning saw us leaving Retford and heading for West Stockwith where the Chesterfield Canal enters the River Trent. This canal is so peculiar in that below Retford the locks are wide and above are narrow – is there a reason for that? Here’s a shot of Thea in Whitsunday Pie lock – now how did they come up with that name? We slacked here and waited for Jim and Annie to catch us up with Elizabeth.

We rocked and rolled in a couple of places, but nothing too extreme. It is a very shallow canal and is in desperate need of dredging therefore you hardly make headway at a little above tickover. The two boats that we did meet coming in the opposite direction were just trying to drive their boats too hard and had the blades full with blanket weed and debris – one day they’ll learn to back off and they will actually be travelling at a more reasonable speed… Waterways have spent incredible amounts of money recently in piling the banks and fitting new lock gates. I just can’t understand the mentality. There must be a reason and whilst I agree that this waterway needs to be maintained it is hardly used whereas there are places on the rest of the network that need attention where they see thousands of boats pass a year.

Upon reaching West Stockwith we tied in the basin along with Marquis, Elizabeth and Aquarius. I then took the opportunity to take my first sighting of the tidal River Trent. Sue and I took Fly for a walk to find the entrance to the River Idle, which remarkably retains its navigable status. Here’s a picture of it’s tiny entrance – it must be interesting to enter it from the Trent…

After returning to the boats we got sorted out and spent a pleasant evening amongst friends in the Waterside Inn that over looks the basin.

We were up and waiting for the tide at 7am on Wednesday morning. I was amazed to see how quick the tide turned. Marquis and a local pleasure boat were first out, but before they could leave the lock they had to let an empty barge up the river. In the next locking was Aquarius and then it was time for us. Sue and I followed Jim with Elizabeth and we were soon out on the fast running tide. It’s a great sensation to be hurtling round bends at up to 12 mph at little above tickover (just enough to keep infront of the incoming tide), but it certainly isn’t for the faint hearted or inexperienced boatman.

We reached Cromwell lock in good time and ventured upto to Newark where I was to leave the boats. After having a look around this delightful town and having some dinner in Wetherspoons I drove back to Norbury. I must admit that it was quite nice to see the calm waters of the Shroppie, but I do enjoy boating on deep water although you wouldn’t catch me out there with a bolinder…

Until next time!

Regards, David

1 comment:

  1. Saw Sue and Thea at Retford on Saturday. 'Twas a good day. Some pics here
    You missed out by not trying higher up the Chesterfield, Aquarius got as far as Stret lock. A couple of others got further.

    Why it's narrow above Retford? Money! It's cheaper.

    The name Whitsunday Pie pre-dates the canal by a deal.