Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Tidal Trent – Day 1

We had a quiet night on the pontoons, that is after the screeching woman up on the wharf above us had cleared off. It started as an argument, and finished with the local constabulary getting involved.

We were ready to go at 08:00, so gently moved off, down to Newark Nether Lock. But we were not the first, a couple of narrowboats had already set off from further down the mooring, and a cruiser had passed us as well. I shouted goodbyes to David and Dorothy on Blackbird, moored opposite. They’d decided to stop in Newark another day.

I expected the lock to be clear by the time we arrived, but the preceeding boats were still going in and there was space for us, so we joined them.

In Newark Nether Lock
We were last out and I closed up the lock, then we followed the convoy onward to Cromwell Lock.

Impressive Church at North Muskham
Approaching Cromwell Lock
The gates were open invitingly and the green light was on, so we motored straight in, to the front of the large chamber. I don’t think the boats who’d been waiting overnight were that impressed, but there was room for all in the end, thanks to the lock-keeper.
All slotted in.
And leaving onto the tidal section.
I’m afraid to confess to being a little bored over the next 2¾ hours. The river winds it’s way generally northwards across the flat flood plain, with little to see over the high banks. Occasional glimpses of civilisation occur.
Converted mill at Carlton on Trent
Gravel Loading Staithe
And another, with rotting hulks used as bank protection.
This is power station country, with the Trent supplying the water for steam, and the Midlands coalfields providing the fuel. At least, for those not converted to gas. A considerable proportion of the national supply is generated in the Trent Valley.

High Marnham

The crane is waiting for the arrival of a huge generator, coming by water from Hull.

We turned the corner into Torksey Cut, and were met by the sight of full pontoons.

Busy at Torksey.

Luckily most were preparing to leave, to catch the rising tide back to Cromwell. We’d come down on the ebb, averaging 6 mph and arriving as it turned.

Even so, the arriving boats have still had to breast up to ensure moorings for all. We’ve got a boat alongside who are heading for Keadby as well, so we’ll be off at the same time, around 06:00, to catch the ebb again.
The generator arrived on schedule, passing in the distance across the end of the cut.

Cottam’s new generator

We had a pleasant surprise, Mo and ‘Ness arrived. Balmaha is moored above the lock, and I was going to have a walk up to see them, but they beat me to it. They’re heading for Boston, on the way back from Sheffield, so were able to provide useful info regarding moorings and stuff for our trip.
Mo and ‘Ness.
Before tea I took Meg for a walk back along the river to Cottam, but the barge had been unloaded and had gone. Still it was good for her to stretch her legs after being cooped up on board.

Typical Trent Path gate, Cottam Power Station behind.
There are 2 gates, hinged in opposite directions to ensure that livestock can’t push through. The angled shape makes them self-closing.

An early night tonight I guess. Up at 05:00 tomorrow. Ooh ‘eck.

For the first time in ages I’ve not got a 3G internet connection. The GPRS I have got is nothing to write home about, either. Could take a while to upload the pics….

Locks 2, miles 20.

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