Thursday, August 30, 2012

Brisk and Busy down the Trent

Yesterday evening the clouds cleared and the sun came out for a while, giving us a pleasant end to a not too pleasant day. We even had the heating on for an hour in the evening. I could have laid and lit the stove, but it’s still August, dammit!

Guests for tea…Tea Time

The forecast for today was sunshine and showers, well, we’ve seen some of the latter, but very little of the former!

Meg and I took a walk around the watersports centre alongside the lock this morning.

The 2Km long rowing lake…SAM_2614
…with a solo rower training.SAM_2615 Holme Rowing Lake

Looking up the slalom courseSAM_2619 Holme Slalom

We were getting ready to move out soon after 9 o’clock when a Dutch barge went past, followed by a narrowboat. I wasn’t sure if we could fit as well, but followed them up to the lock.

Waiting for Holme LockSAM_2624 Holme Lock
The traffic lights are red as the lock-keeper brings a narrowboat up.

I needn’t have worried about space in the lock, we finished up with 6 boats in there finally!

Room for couple more small ones at the back…SAM_2625 Holme Lock

We led the convoy to the next lock at Stoke Bardolph.

Follow-my-leader out of Holme LockSAM_2628 Holme Lock

After yesterday’s rain the river was up a little and flowing well, so we were rattling along at between 6 and 7 mph. Care had to be taken at the sharp left Radcliffe Bend, to avoid the stern swinging too wide as the flow takes it round.

Watch that swing…SAM_2631 Radcliffe Bend

We led into Stoke Lock, but were third out and were passed by two other of the locking companions on the 4½ mile reach to Gunthorpe. With a brisk wind blowing against the flow of the river, there was quite a chop on the exposed sections.

Crimson Sunset goes past….
SAM_2638 Choppy 
…Followed by Brigadier

We lost three of our convoy at Gunthorpe, they pulled onto the moorings just past the bridge.

Jockeying for mooring space at Gunthorpe BridgeSAM_2648 Looking for a mooring

We thought there’d be just us and Brigadier in Gunthorpe Lock, but then NB Lyra turned up as well, having been unable to find a slot on the pontoons.

There’s another 4½ mile reach between Gunthorpe and Hazelford Locks, open farmland on the left side and the Trent Hills rising on the right.

Looking back to NB LyraSAM_2657
Those clouds look a bit full….

We arrived at Hazelford Lock and waited while a couple of narrowboats were brought up, then went into the chamber and promptly backed out again when we learned that the moorings below were full.

So we pulled onto the high wall in the lock cut instead. I took Meg for a look-see (after lifting her off) and decided there was room for us after all, so we joined David and Dorothy (NB Blackbird) on the next locking down.

They read this rubbish, thanks for your fortitude, chaps.

David…SAM_2662 David
…and Dorothy.SAM_2663 Dorothy

They pushed on, intending to moor in Newark, while we turned around and got the fore-end on the lower bit of the landing.

Moored Below HazelfordSAM_2670 hazelford Lock

I’d not thought about it, but the water was around 6” higher this morning at Holme. The other couple of boats moored in front of us were concerned about the water rising further, it had come up about 10” here this morning.
With a mainly dry day upstream it shouldn’t rise too much further, though. The lockies don’t seem bothered.

Just 1½ miles to the east, the final act in the drama of the War of the Roses was played out. Since Bosworth Field in 1485 when Richard III met his end, revolt and insurrection had beset the new Tudor crown. The rebellious Yorkists needed a rallying point, and this was found in the form of a boy, Lambert Simnel, claimed to be Edward, brother to Edward IV and Richard III, and therefore the legitimate heir.
An army of Swiss and German mercenaries and Irish troops, led by Sir John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, landed near Barrow in Furness in present-day Cumbria and crossed the Pennines to meet the Royal armies at York. They were frustrated in this so marched south, crossing the Trent at Fiskerton on 15th June 1487. The 8,000 strong force took up positions near East Stoke.

View Larger Map
Lincoln's forces occupied the the high ground across the neck of the loop of the river; strategically very strong.

On the same night the King’s forces camped about 9 miles away, near Radcliffe. Moving off early the vanguard under the Earl of Oxford followed the river northward and was in a position to challenge the rebels by mid-morning. Following an exchange of crossbow bolts and arrows the rebels chose to leave their advantageous positions on a ridge and charged the opposing forces, probably hoping to defeat them before the main body of Henry VII’s troops arrived. The battle could have gone either way, but by noon the better equipped and trained Royalist forces had gained the upper hand, and the fight was over by the time Henry arrived.
All of the rebel commanders along with fully half of their troops fell on the battlefield. Many were trapped and killed in a ravine running down to the river, which was known since as Red Gutter.
The young pretender, Lambert Simnel, was captured but spared, Henry recognising that he was merely a pawn.
Rumour has it he was given a job in the Royal kitchens…

Locks 4, miles 12

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