Tuesday, March 18, 2008

With the water still high and running fast we decided to remain tied to Hazelford lock island for another day. Although with a cool wind, the day was dry and we took advantage of the enforced break to do a bit more painting prep work on Carol’s boat.

Taking a break from sanding and wire brushing….
By last night the water was going down, very slowly but at least in the right direction, and the trend continued through the night. We were about 4” lower this morning, so decided to set off to Cromwell Lock. Another factor is the poor forecast, with wet windy weather starting on Thursday. Leaving today, and cruising the tideway from Cromwell tomorrow should have got us onto the Chesterfield Canal by tomorrow evening. This didn’t work as planned, but more of that later.

We were away at around 10:30 after filling with water. Back down through Hazelford Lock and out onto the river again. The current was strong, with the engine running at around 750 RPM to give steerage way, we were still moving at 7½ mph on some sections. OK, not fast by most standards, but in narrowboat terms it’s practically supersonic!

Yes, it was cold in the wind!
This boost got us to Newark before 12:00, passing the intimidating Averham Weir on route.

Heron at Averham Weir
Approaching Newark
Through Newark Town Lock and under the main road bridge, then we turned to face upstream to make it easier to moor on the east bank near the castle. Trips to Focus DIY and the handy Morrisons and then we were on our way again, turning across the channel to head for Nether Lock.

Away from the lunchtime mooring, the castle in the background.
Last time we came this way (August last year), we spent the night moored below Nether Lock. It’s a bit wetter now…..

Nether Lock Moorings
Past North Muskham with it’s impressive 15C church and we arrived at Cromwell Lock at around 15:30.

North Muskham Church

The day has been fine but with a cold wind. But it’s not been plain sailing. Pulling out from the mooring at Hazelford this morning the wind pushed the bow round and I clipped the bow of a tug moored in the lock cut. Just a nudge, but enough to damage the cratch board. I’ve bumped my head twice, came into the landing at Cromwell too fast and bounced off the wall, and to cap it all we can’t do the trip to West Stockwith tomorrow in one go as planned. The lock keeper will not be there after 13:00, and there’s no self-operation on any of the tidal locks. We will not be able to make it before 16:00, so we’ll head to Torksey instead, then finish the trip Thursday morning. Two short days instead of one longer one.

It was as we went through Cromwell lock last year that Mags fell in. I’ve arranged a “Mags Lead” for this year so she can’t lean out so far….

Locks 3, miles 12

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