Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Trent Lock Junction

Boe departed on Monday morning but we stayed over another day.  My netbook was duly purchased from PC World.  The moorings are very busy but also very congenial.  There is lots of grass for Barney to lie out on and watch the world go by which is what he likes to do.    The bank was at a convenient height so I was able to paint one side to cover up some of the scratches we (Geoff says I!!) have managed to put on.
Boats seemed to be on the move all the time and even in the dark.  A large proportion of them seem to have lost the art of slowing down for moored boats.
Tuesday we were up early to shop in Sainsburys, conveniently places a stones throw away behind some bushes.........
Since we were on a canalised section I was able to walk for the first part of the trip along a good towpath.   This is something that has been lacking for a while.   I walked the first couple of miles and then swapped with Geoff...Barney gets twice the walk!
And so to Beeston Lock where we locked up to the last stretch of river for this year.  However the sun was shining and it was a pleasant run to Trent Lock.
I missed the only notable event I could have captured on camera as I was down below sorting out the laundry..........Geoff saw them cutting some trees on the bank where there were narrow boats moored.  Something obviously went wrong because he heard a crack as a tree fell and it went straight over one of the narrow boats.  Luckily Geoff thought that there was no sign of anyone aboard...
At the junction we went straight ahead as we wanted to get fuel at Sawley Marina.  Castle marina in Nottingham closes all day Tuesday and Beeston marina said their price was 83p before tax.   Since Sawley said theirs was 72p we decided to go on there.  The plan was to turn straight around and moor back at the junction but it was late lunchtime by then so we decided to stay on the moorings opposite the marina. as they are in the open and quite pleasant.  Tomorrow we shall start up the Erewash canal and hope to meet up with Epiphany who have just reached the top.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Nottingham and Back on air!!!!

Away at the gentle hour of 0845 on Wednesday and we were waved off by Les from Country Rose one of the lock keepers at Cromwell.  We had socialised on our way through in May and managed a couple of glasses of wine this time also.  Lurking behind his legs is his friend Gyp.
No more tides we thought, great!  However there was quite a lot of water coming down the Trent  and it was against us so despite having reasonably high revs we could not make more than about 3-3.5 mph. However we did not have far to go as we planned to moor below Nether Lock just before Newark.  We had heard that the pontoon moorings were very full and they are really the only suitable place for us as all the wall moorings are too high for Barney to get off.
after 1 1/2 hours and 4miles we reached Nether lock and moored against the wall which is quite high but, we judged, just about OK for Barney.   Unfortunately as we came alongside we came very close to the wall as there is a slight lip under which the gunnels went so I dragged one of the fenders off thereby putting a scratch in the upper paintwork and also lost my mobile broadband dongle into the water!!!  It was dangling through the rear porthole, somewhere it very rarely is.  I had not been able to get a good signal at Cromwell in my normal position in the rear so I had hung it through the window and forgotten to take it in!!  What a lulu.........
That explains the gap in the blog..........
Later in the morning daughter Boe arrived for a few days.
Thursday morning dawned wet and miserable but we did not want to leave before about 11 as we hoped that someone would have moved off the pontoons by the BW office by then.  In the event it was a dull trip up into town, but relatively dry by then.  There was still no room on the pontoons but we able to breast up with another narrow boat on the end.  The original intention had been to continue after shopping as we had explored Newark on the way through, but the rain came back and we decided to stay.
Friday we hung on until 12 noon as I was hoping my new sim card for the dongle would arrive at the BW office but no such luck.  When I rang them to ascertain it's whereabouts I was told I could get a replacement in any 3 shop for £5!!!!  Why they couldn't have told me that in the first place I don't know, I had already been into the shop to purchase a new dongle.   Geoff by now was champing at the bit to be off as the forecast was rain later so we set off as I knew there was a 3 shop in Nottingham.
We were delayed at Town Lock as a big boat with no engine was coming through and it took a bit of manoeuvring.  
A pleasant trip up this part of the river, still with a lot of water against us.   We decided to call it quits at Hazelford Lock.  There is room on the lower part of the wall for about 3 narrowboats and it was quite congenial and plenty of places to walk Barney.
Saturday we set off just before 7 as we wanted to reach Nottingham at a reasonable hour.   The first two locks were unmanned as the lock keepers don't start until 0930 but at least they are all electric.   The most difficult bit is mooring up to let Geoff ashore as there is quite a strong flow of water on some of the waiting pontoons adjacent to the weirs.
Some intrepid fishermen obviously don't mind the flow!

Halfway between Stoke Lock and Holme Lock the railway crosses the river

And so to our last big river lock
Luckily Holme Lock was manned so we were able to have fore and aft lines.  The rise is 12 feet here and the water comes in with some force.   We had to wait on the pontoons here as there was someone coming down, however Barney was very pleased as we had been unable to get him off at the last 3 locks as the walls were all too high.  This was our last big river lock.  The next lock at meadow lane takes is manual and takes us off the mighty Trent and onto the canalised section around Nottingham........nice calm waters..........we have both had enough rivers for this year.  Just one more lock took us to a mooring outside Sainsburys.  Not quite where we wanted to be as we were in the trees.  However by the time we came back from church on Sunday morning someone had moved and we could move up into the sun (yes it was shining for a while) and more importantly we could get a satellite TV signal!
We shall stay here another day as PC World is right on our doorstep and I am looking for a Netbook.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

This is not what I signed up for

Definitely not!!!
However to start at the beginning.............Monday we positioned ourselves at Saxilby and monitored the weather forecasts all day.   The timing of the heavy rain seemed to be creeping forward so it looked as though Tuesday would be a better bet.  Still strong winds forecast though.
We departed Saxilby at 0615 so that we could be at Torksey in time to give Barney a run before the 8am time the lock keeper had given us.
The sun was shining and we locked down with another narrowboat....he had done the trip to Cromwell many times before so we gallantly let him go first!!!
It was breezy at the start but after about an hour it really started to freshen.  Despite the fact that we were going on the flood there was so much fresh water coming down that we made slow progress...average of 3.5mph for the trip.

We passed several boats going the other way and also these two larger ones.  

It was wonderful to see Cromwell Lock come into view and we locked up in company with the other narrowboat and 5 plastic ones.   One of these had whizzed past us on the way only to have to wait for us all......
We decided that we would stay the night on the pontoon mooring at Cromwell and that is when the trouble started.   There was already a small plastic boat moored on the outside but plenty of room for us ahead of him.  However I underestimated the force of the wind and the volume of water coming down the river.   I made two attempts with Geoff (who managed to get ashore on the first attempt) and the skipper of the plastic boat trying to take the lines but to no avail.   After each attempt I had to back away and go up river and turn which was quite hair raising (I was not a happy bunny by this stage!!)  For the third attempt they signalled from the shore that I should try and come in on the inside of the pontoon....you should have gathered by now that Geoff was on the shore and I was alone on the boat......so yet another turn and this time I hacked it.   By the time we were tied up my knees and stomach felt like jelly and it has taken me several hours to recover...........

Several hours later another boat attempted to get in on the outside of the pontoon and he took 4 attempts!!!!    I feel better now.   Eventually he went on the inside but the photo below shows him struggling.
He did eventually manage to reverse it into the inside of the pontoon with the aid of an awful lot of wellie......and after being stuck on the bank.....

The wind continues and so does the water flow.  We are hoping the wind will die down tomorrow so that we can reach Newark as Rebecca is joining us there for a few days.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Visitors and a long Sunday trip


Most of our stay at Kirkstead Bridge was very quiet..Petroc is at the far end of the pontoon.  Later on Saturday we were joined by a couple of other boats but it was nowhere near as busy as we had expected.
Our visitors arrived in time for coffee on Saturday, Brian & Joy and Jerry.  Apart from Brian whom Geoff & I had seen in the last couple of years it was considerably longer since we had seen either Joy or Jerry.  In fact Joy and I decided it was 37 years ago.......but it was lovely to catch up with old friends.  We repaired to the Petworth Hotel in Woodhall Spa for a good lunch, punctuated by plenty of old war stories from the gentlemen....well not quite the war.   The Petworth's claim to fame is that it was the Officers Mess of 617 Dam Busters Squadron.  In fact in the grounds they have the remains of one of Barnes Wallis' bouncing bombs.

We had decided on an early start to Sunday as we wanted to get through Lincoln so at 7am we were en route.  It was yet another lovely run on this river, the sun shone and we gently made our way to Lincoln.
Still a lot of duckweed but we just seem to cut a path through it

Just before Bardney Bridge we pass the Sugar Beet Factory
The factory is partially closed.  They no longer process the sugar beet.  You can see more about it at http://community.lincolnshire.gov.uk/thehistoryofbardneysugarfactory
We paused above the lock at Bardney to use the sani station and when we continued we could see Lincoln Cathedral sitting atop the hill from some considerable distance away.
They seem very fond of sculptures along the Water Rail Way which runs along the river from Lincoln to Boston.  Yesterday it was animals, today humans......??
Whilst Geoff was watering Petroc etc at Bardney I took Barney along the path and in the distance I saw what I thought was a lady walking her dog....however on reaching her she turned out to be made of wood and the inscription at the base read `And down she went and found a boat`
Despite checking out the website  http://www.woodhallspa.org/leisure_waterrailway.html for the Water Rail Way I cannot find who she was meant to be.

Another of the sculptures along the way

We didn't pass many boats today but this was one....I wish Barney would learn to climb up on the roof...
And so we reach Lincoln.   Just one lock to go (Theres only 2 altogether on this waterway.)
We had company in the lock

We moored in the centre so that we could buy the Sunday Papers.  Sadly there was not a visit to the market as it is Sunday. 
Soon on our way again heading for the Glory Hole
After passing through the Glory Hole and round the bend we come to Brayford Pool, but first through another bridge.  As you enter the pool it asks the question `Where are you going`

From the other direction it asks `Where have you been`


We took our time cruising through the pool as we had seen the trip boat leaving ahead of us so we decided to keep our distance as he would be turning somewhere.
For the rest of the day boats appeared from everywhere, we saw more boats than we have seen for weeks, however is was a sunny Sunday afternoon.
Luckily when we reached the Pyewipe pub about 2 miles along there was room for us to moor.  Nearly 2 weeks ago we had moored here for the night and had an excellent meal with John & Rosi and so a return trip for Sunday Lunch seemed in order.  Another excellent meal and an afternoon watching boats going every this way and that, mostly plastic jobs but a few narrowboats.
All in all an excellent day apart from the weather forecast..............we are booked to go out of Torksey early Tuesday morning  but things are not looking good.   However we shall position ourselves tomorrow and see if the forecasters are right or not.  There is talk of much rain and strong winds...that is definitely not our weather for the tidal Trent...............

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Still at Kirkstead Bridge

This is the sort of weed we encounter in parts on this canal.   However it is duckweed(I think) and not deep.  It is rarely all across like this and you could dodge through.  Even if it is across the whole width you are going at a reasonable speed (for a narrowboat!) and you seem to push it away with the bows.   There are some patches of the other sort of weed (the Chesterfield type!!) but not too many and so far we have not had a problem.
Walking along the banks from Kirkstead which Geoff does with Barney he came across these animals!

Barney was interested
We are staying over another day here as we are expecting visitors today.   Only one other boat has joined us on the mooring and we are very surprised.  It was so busy on our way downstream.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Boston Reminscences

Grand Sluice at Boston looking from the Witham non-tidal
Grand Sluice at Boston looking towards the Witham non-tidal
This was as far as we would go.  In fact despite the sani station being immediately before the lock, there was too much weed for our liking, so Geoff wheeled the loo cassettes along from the moorings.
Boston Stump from across the tidal Witham

One could choose to approach Boston by going East and then South along the Boston drains which are navigable BUT there are no moorings when at the end and it is a dead end, no way through.

Boston Drains
Maud Foster Windmill near the end of the drains

This is a working windmill and you can see more at http://www.maudfoster.co.uk/

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Kirkstead Bridge (for Woodhall Spa)

We departed early on Thursday in the hope we would find space at Kirkstead.  When we went down there was no room at the Inn, so were forced to continue  This time we were lucky, only one small boat there, so we tucked ourselves right at the end of the pontoon.  Barney likes to sit outside and watch the world go by and if we are at the end he is not in anyones way.  The small boat left and another came in briefly but we remained in solitary isolation until the evening when one more boat arrived.  There is room here for about 5 narrowboats.
We had been lucky with the weather all day and the rain conveniently came back in the evening...that two nights on the trot the bad weather has gone through in the night...long may it last.   We are hoping for the same today as we are expecting visitors.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010


And so the short trip to Boston on Tuesday.  Boston parish Church, locally known as `The Stump` comes into view during the last straight run in.
Nicholson's said there were good moorings here but I had looked on google maps and couldn't see where.  However when we became nearer, lo and behold..............................
.....................lovely new looking empty moorings so we put ourselves on the far end alongside.    We had just sorted ourselves out and Geoff was going for a wander when BW came along and said we could not moor there because the moorings were not yet commissioned...........we were directed a little further along to this.................
There was nothing basically wrong with the position but we couldn't even get half of Petroc alongside a very suspect looking jetty.  The BW man did apologise and said we couldn't use the new moorings because of Health & Safety!!  We lay happily enough there but would not like to have had a strong wind.  We had planned to spend a couple of nights there but were told that the first night was free and then it was £7 a night. I was moved to ask him how they could charge £7 for such a mooring but he just shrugged.......The weekly charge is £34.    I said we would only be staying the one night and he said most people did the same......they can't want visitors.....
Still apart from the rickety jetty is was not a bad mooring and about 10 min walk into town.
This is what the inside of the Boston Stump looks like.
I had yet another dental appointment in the afternoon in a surgery a 10 min bus ride away.   I was convinced I would come back minus the offending tooth but it was not to be, persevere a bit more, maybe it will settle down.........One man and his dog were waiting for me on my return!
Wednesday morning we visited the town again as it was market day, not the best market we have been to, I was ripped off with blueberries at one stall.  £1.30 for a punnet and later I saw the same size punnet for 60p!!
After shopping and yet another visit to Waterstones for Geoff to buy books we returned to Petroc.
We set off for the moorings at Anton's Gowt just two miles up stream which had been empty when we passed yesterday.  Guess what.......they were not empty now, so we carried on another couple of miles to Langrick Bridge which were deserted.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Up and Down the Witham

Anne & Keith duly arrived in time for late lunch and luckily made it to the boat in between showers.
We had the option of continuing to Boston or returning up river to  Bardney.  We were about equidistant from these two sani-stations and with 4 of us on board for the weekend it was a necessity!!

We opted for the return to Bardney, so Saturday we went through the lock up to the sani station but then turned again and went back 1/2 a mile to the moorings at Bardney Bridge.  They were empty when we arrived although they filled up over the weekend.  There is room for 3 narrowboats there and it is very pleasant and a short walk up to the village.  Keith had walked the whole distance as he always does when they join us.  Partly because he enjoys walking but also because he gets motion sick...........we did suggest he tried the short run back from the lock to the moorings at Bardney and steered the boat, but he declined the offer, obviously deciding to err on the side of caution.  He seems to be OK when we are moored.

The weather was kind to us for the weekend as you can see

On Sunday Geoff and I went to the Parish Church of St Lawrence where they had a service for their Patronal Festival.  It was quite a large church and very light and had wonderful paintings in the Chancel.  They were apparently done in 1920 but renovated (at vast expense) in 2000
Later we all walked up to The Nags Head where we had a good Sunday Roast.  En route we passed this building

I might pass on the Offal!

Another indication of the railway that used to be
The Water Rail Way along the track of the disused railway which runs from Lincoln to Boston is proving very useful for Keith and his walking!  It has been tarmacked and seems popular with walkers and cyclists.

We set off early on Monday, well earlier than of late......8.15 in fact.   The destination was Kirkstead Bridge which is the mooring if you want to explore Woodhall Spa.  It is well worth a visit, a delightful town which must have been very popular in its heyday when people came to take the waters.  A wonderful delicatessen/bakery and many shops.  Supermarkets were catered for by Budgens which was not huge but quite well stocked.  The town is well over a mile from the moorings but well worth the trip.  However this morning I had a free ride as Anne & Keith had left their car there.  

They departed after coffee as we had decided to carry on to be close to Boston.  I have been suffering with toothache for a while and have finally given in and decided that enough is enough.  I have managed to get an emergency appointment for Tuesday afternoon in a practice just outside Boston.

We had a pleasant run down, not a lot to see as usual on this waterway, but it has a charm all of its own and is a very restful waterway to travel on.  There is plenty of wild life but not a lot of habitation.

We have joined one other boat on the moorings at Langrick Bridge which leaves us just a couple of miles to go to Boston tomorrow morning.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Tattershall Bridge

The promised heavy rain showers arrived in the afternoon but in between it was OK.   We had a good visit with Denis & Carole who brought their 11 week old puppy Daisy with them.
Barney was not overly impressed and resisted all her advances to play!
The only interruptions to the afternoon were the occasional thundershower and extremely low aircraft from nearby Coningsby.  This continued well into the evening, it was obviously night flying night!  We have discovered that this mooring in very close to the end of the runway and just off the centre line!  On the way down yesterday Geoff saw the Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane flying together......I missed them as I was down below attending to domestic duties just as I normally am when he spots the Kingfishers!!
However the forecast for today is for heavy rain and lots of wind so we shall stay here awaiting the arrival of this weekend's guests Anne & Keith.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Not where we intended to end up.

Today the plan was to travel the 3.5 miles to Kirkstead Bridge which is just a mile away from Woodhall Spa.   We are expecting visitors this afternoon and then again tomorrow for the weekend and it seemed a convenient place to be.   However the best laid plans........
Emma set off to run the 3.5 miles and took Barney with her which was a big mistake.   He did not like being separated from the boat and even when she put him on the lead he was not co-operative.
When we reached Kikstead Bridge the moorings were full with boats breasted up.    We breasted up alongside another narrowboat temporarily whilst we considered out plan of action.  In front were two small plastic boats and a River Canal Rescue engineer arrived for one of them   Apparently they would be departing if the problem was fixed...no guarantee.  Breasted up was not an option as we could not get Barney on the boat.
So Geoff and Emma departed in her car with which she had been reunited, to see what the score was at the next moorings at Tattershall Bridge.   They came back with a favourable report so we set off for another 3.5 miles.
When half way there Emma rang to say 2 narrowboats were approaching the moorings which would have been s**s law and made Geoffrey very unhappy so I didn't tell him!!  Luckily they passed the moorings by and we have moored successfully.
Our problems were not over as soon after lunch our toilet decided to play up, so much more unhappiness for Geoffrey!   However we think it is mended, fingers crossed.   We shall try it for the rest of the day and hope we do not have to put our weekend visitors off..............
After a lovely morning the rain has now caught up with us before our afternoon visitors arrive........

Wednesday, 11 August 2010


Good pontoon moorings above Bardsey Lock beyond a line of permanent moorings.  A sani station here with a good hot shower which Emma availed herself of just before we left about 11, after a delightful morning sitting in the sun.  This is a very gentle pleasant waterway, if devoid of features along some stretches.  It makes us feel very relaxed after the Chesterfield.  However I am glad to read from their blog that NB Epiphany are enjoying the Chesterfield.   There were parts that we enjoyed, especially the top end, but sadly for us the shallowness, narrowness and weed did not counteract the good parts sufficiently.
As we had been warned we have now encountered some weed on this waterway, but the river is wide and deeper and it is possible to steer round most of it and so far (fingers crossed) we have not had a problem.

Weed at the sides of the water
We had a stop at Bardsey Bridge for Emma and I (and of course Barney)to walk the 1/2 mile into the village for a few groceries and then just a few more miles down river to Southrey.  Our book gave moorings on the north side but in fact they were on both sides and only one small boat there.  We opted for the north bank.
It has been quite a windy day but for once the wind was behind us.
A short walk up Ferry Lane brings you to the tiny church of St John the Divine, part of the Bardsey Group of churches and built just over 100 years ago.

The moorings themselves are by the old Southram Station as the old sign proclaims.

The track of the old railway, now known as the `Water Rail Way` has been paved over and runs from Lincoln to Boston.
The habitation here consists of a cluster of bungalows, the Church and a pub with a tiny shop attached where you have to ring the bell if you want access and didn't appear to stock very much.   The pub was basic but with a friendly landlord.  30 years ago there was a ferry here and the slipway is still visible.   

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Lincoln By land and by Water

A good weekend with friends John and Rosi and from Sunday, daughter Emma.
We have visited Lincoln by bus, car and water.    By far my favourite way to visit any city is by water.
We ate on board on Sat and Sunday morning Geoff visited the local church at Saxilby whilst I waited in for Emma's arrival.  Strangely Geoff reported that the people at church were not as friendly as we usually find when we visit all the different churches.  John and Rosi collected us and after some lunch we drove into Lincoln.  John kindly dropped Rosi and I at the top of the hill close to the Cathedral and he and Geoff parked the car and did the harder walk back up the hill to meet us.
We then gently meandered around the Cathedral and were luck enough to hear the choir practicing which which made the tour round very enjoyable.
Difficult to obtain an outside view of the front as you cannot get far enough away

There are wonderful carvings depicting the stations of the cross and below are three of them

But this has to be the certificate of the century!!

After visiting the Cathedral we descended to the town and the waterfront which is very attractive with restaurants and cafe's BUT there are not any moorings within Brayford basin for visiting boats.  Such an opportunity missed.  There are moorings just before reaching the basin with space for a couple of narrow boats but the chances of finding an empty space are not good.
However it is possible to moor through the glory hole but probably not overnight and not for too long if you have a dog on board.  There are railings all along and although there are a couple of gates (Use BW key) we couldn't get the one close to where we moored to open .  Read further to see what we did!
Back to Sunday.....Emma drove us into Lincoln (no buses on Sunday) and we all had a good meal in Prezzo on the waterfront.  It may be a chain but the food and service were good and it was very comfortable.
By Monday we were alone on the Saxilby moorings

John and Rosi came out after breakfast and  Rosi and I departed for a mooch around Lincoln, leaving John & Geoff  to move Petroc to the Pyewipe Inn moorings and Emma to move her car up there and go for her training run.

John had his first taste of a trip on Petroc and I am told coped admirably although he did want to pass the two boats he met on the wrong side.......luckily Geoff realised his intentions in time!!

Later in the afternoon John collected Emma from Woodall Spa where she has positioned her car ready for her departure on Friday and we all had an excellent meal in the Pyewipe Inn.   At first we thought it was going to be a disaster as the first two wines we chose from their list of 6 house wines, were not available.............then the fish John had eventually decided upon was not exactly as shown on the menu and we thought he might just be going to throw his toys out of the cot.........however it became much better, we had a excellent waitress in Nicola and a very good meal and may well have to stop on the way back.
Sad goodbye to John and Rosi after dinner as they are leaving their hotel before we reach Lincoln.
Tuesday was a relatively gentle start (Emma still in bed!) we stopped at the sani station just outside Lincoln and by then the sun was out and it was a lovely ride through the pool and beyond.....everywhere looks so much better from the water.

At the far end of the pool you enter the narrow stretch through the centre of all the shops
and then the `Glory Hole`

Looking back at the `Glory Hole`

We moored along the wall right in the heart of the city
BUT  to get out of the mooring you need to go through one of the gates in the railing and we were unable to get our key to open the gate SO........................

Very undignified
When I returned I had to climb back again and then discovered that someone had managed to open the gate in my absence!
We then set off again and discovered that there are places to moor the other side, but the railings go most of the way along and none of the places looked very inviting.
We went through Stamp end Lock, the first of only 2 locks on this stretch.   The top gate is an unusual guillotine gate.   A boat was coming up and as you have to insert a key to operate the guillotine gate, we had to enter the lock and he to leave the lock so that he could lower the gate as you cannot extract the key until the gate is down again.   Luckily he wasn't in a rush!
Gate nearly down
Onward then to our destination of the moorings above Bardsey Lock, the second of the only 2 locks.
Very straight run and not many features but the sun was shining, the canal was wide and although there is a little weed it is nothing to write home about....so far...we have heard that there is more weed after the lock...we shall see.......
Looking back after leaving Lincoln the Cathedral stands out for miles
These are pontoon mooring so we have to walk Barney a short way to reach grass but they are very congenial..........we have just heard from John and Rosi that they are back in Cornwall and that they drove through some very heavy rain en route so hope it is not coming this way.    We were so lucky yesterday as rain was forecast but did not materialise and we had a glorious day, and then the rain came in the night.