Thursday, March 20, 2008

The night started clear and cold, but rain moved in on a strengthening NW wind, giving us a grey and damp morning.

Cottam Power Station looking Edgar Alan Poe-ish last night.
We were expected at West Stockwith Lock at around 11:00, so were on the move at 08:00. This meant we spent the first 45 minutes pushing the rising tide, but then it turned, and by the time we got to Gainsborough it was giving us a very healthy shove downstream.

Out onto the river again.
At Littleborough is the site of a Roman causeway across the river. It was here that King Harold crossed the Trent on his way south to meet the invading army of William the Conqueror, after defeating the Danes at Stamford Bridge.

Site of Roman Causeway
I called the lock-keeper when we passed through Gainsborough arches to advise of our ETA, and she told us to turn at the lock entrance to head back upstream and approach against the tide. It’s renowned as being tricky to get into.

Gainsborough Arches.

As we left Gainsborough, Corbiere suddenly veered across the channel and ran gently into the bank. Fearing engine failure or something similar I slowed down in preparation to turning back, then Carol reappeared on the deck. An urgent call of nature had got so insistent that it was abandon the tiller and head below, or leave an embarrassing puddle on the engine covers! I’m often glad I’m a fella, if no-one’s watching we can usually pee over the stern if desperate….

As we approached West Stockwith I started to turn around but reckoned without the wind and drifted 100 yards downstream before getting sorted. Carol meanwhile had made a better job of it and drifted backwards across the lock entrance before turning in neatly.

I had to beat back up against the flow of the tide and the current before making a similar turn. We were both glad to be in the shelter of the lock; the last hour or so on the river had been wet and the wind was increasing.

There’s been no other craft on our stretch of the river today, just 2 narrowboats leaving Torksey and heading south at 07:30.

Out of the lock onto the relatively Lilliputian dimensions of the Chesterfield Canal, and we moored about 10 minutes later.

Out of West Stockwith lock
The rain has eased, but the wind is getting quite strong, now. The forecast for the next few days is bad, wet, snowy and windy. We’re going to head for the other side of Drakeholes Tunnel tomorrow, about 6 miles with 4 locks.
We’ll be on the canal for a few days now, before braving the Trent for the last run down to Keadby and the Stainforth and Keadby Canal.

Locks 1, miles 17

I've just picked up my email, and this was one of the BW stoppage notices from

Harecastle Tunnel - Trent and Mersey
Thursday 20 March 2008 until further notice
Following the discovery of what appears to be an unexploded Second World War bomb at the South Portal of Harecastle Tunnel, the canal will be closed for periods during Good Friday while it is made safe.
Customers are advised to turn around at Bridge 126 to the South or at Hardings Wood Junction, and if customers choose to wait, moor at Red Bull to the North, and Westport Lake to the South.
Customers are advised to contact 01606 723800 for updates during the Easter weekend.
Enquiries: 01606 723800

I wonder how many boats have sailed over this, completely unaware of what lurks beneath.
I hope they don't have to carry out a "controlled explosion". There's a chance the tunnel may be closed for a lot longer than the planned one day!

Here's a picture of the South Portal I took in August 2006.
Just in case it's no longer there after tomorrow.........

No comments: