Saturday, September 01, 2012

Unexpected meetings

The river came up 6”, then went back down again by morning. It was still flowing quite fast as we cast off and set out on the 7 miles to Newark.

Leaving Hazelford LockSAM_2677 Looking back at Hazelford Lock
There’s a lot of foam coming down from the weir to the right, this is the larger of the two, either side of the lock island.

Eastern weir…SAM_2671 Hazelford Weirs
…and western weirSAM_2673 Hazelford Weirs

Below the weir there’s a raft of open barges used for dredging, with the Robin Hood, a push tug alongside. One of the barges contains debris recovered from the river. You’d expect a shattered boat hull, given the river’s reputation, but a car????
SAM_2675 Barges

The river sweeps around past the settlement of Fiskerton.

High flood defences protect the village.
SAM_2678 Fiskerton

Most of the established villages stand aloof from the river, on a rise or ridge above the flood plain. But occasionally a small settlement has developed right on the river bank. These have generally been established at crossing points (you remember that the Earl of Lincoln’s Yorkist army crossed here in 1487?), and an inn built to accommodate travellers. Then a scattering of houses and maybe a church have been built.

From Fiskerton the river turns back on itself, heading south-east for a mile before turning again to the north-east. Stoke Hall is visible as the river turns, and just beyond the house is the field of battle of that bloody engagement where 7,000 men died in a single morning.

Stoke Hall and the battlefield of East StokeSAM_2679 Stoke Hall and Battlefield

The river is forced into a series of meanders towards Farndon, another settlement with the river on one side and the Roman Fosse Way on the other. There is a short visitor mooring pontoon here, and a marina in an old gravel pit.

The day was fine, with high cloud in a blue sky. Mags reckoned that a couple of airline pilots must have been bored and had a game of noughts and crosses…

Skywriting?SAM_2681 Big square
Oh, and I’ve removed that fine hair that’s on the lens on the right…

The Trent valley is known for the power stations that make use of the endless supply of water. We’ve passed Ratcliffe already, the next was just below Farndon at Staythorpe.

Staythorpe Power Station with NB Sophia on the leftSAM_2682 Staythorpe
This one is gas-powered, opened in 2010 on the site of two earlier coal-fired installations. A lot of the heavy plant was moved here by river.

Below the power station the river splits, the left branch goes over the large Averham Weir and describes a long loop to Kelham, rejoining the navigation near South Muskham. The Newark Dyke heads towards the town, now a lot narrower.

Averham Weir SAM_2684 Averham Weir
On the Newark Dyke SAM_2685 Big Guy
This branch of the river was made navigable, with the construction of two locks, in 1773.

The spire of St Mary Magdalene rises above the treesSAM_2687 Into Newark

Lots of expensive floating stuff in Newark Marina!SAM_2688 Newark Marina

The approach to Newark Town Lock has probably the most impressive backdrop of any on the network (maybe Kidderminster?), with the remains of Newark Castle rising behind.

Newark Town LockSAM_2691 Newark Town Lock
We had to wait for a couple of boats coming up, then dropped down ourselves and found a mooring opposite the floating pontoon below Newark Bridge.

Moored in NewarkSAM_2692 Moored in Newark
We would have preferred a slot on the pontoon, it’s more open there, and on the end was a boat we recognised. NB Yesdear is Dave and Janet’s boat, we met them on the Lancaster Canal last year. I was going to go across after a cup of tea, but we got hailed from across the water as they were going shopping. While waiting fruitlessly for a gap to appear on the pontoon, another boat went past, this time NB Renaissance. We shared the Rochdale Nine down into Castlefield with John and Janet in May. They pulled in a little further up and came back for a brew and a chat, but weren’t stopping as they were meeting family.
Then we got a phone call. Dave and Barbara, off NB Liberty Belle, live in Newark and had just returned from a cruise. They moor the boat in Burton on Trent and got back to the marina yesterday. We first met while waiting to go down Cromwell Lock 5 years ago, and have happened upon each other a few times since. They’d spotted Dave and Janet crossing the bridge, and the upshot was that we were all invited for supper at Dave and Barbara’s house.

We had a really good time, catching up on doings and putting world to rights, finally getting a taxi back to our respective boats around 11 o’clock.

Locks 1, miles 8

1 comment:

Carol said...

Sounds like a really good day Geoff! Love to Mags