Monday, August 17, 2015

Gently down the stream

Two trips to Sainsbury’s fulfilled the shopping requirements for the immediate future, and I made two abortive trips to the chandlery at Castle Marina. The first time I was too early for the 09:30 opening time. The second I was told through the locked door that they wouldn’t be opening yet as they’d too much on. Eh??
So I shrugged my shoulders, said please yourself and walked away. I don’t think I’ll be going back if that’s their attitude to customer service. It’d have been all the same if I’d wanted a new gearbox…

We set off in the sunshine at a little before 10:00, heading the half mile to Castle Lock.

As in most cities these days, the old and the new rub shoulders uncomfortably, in this case overlooked somewhat smugly by the castle perched on it’s sandstone bluff.IMG_6837

The current buildings on Castle Rock date from the 17th C, and these were extensively rebuilt following a fire in 1831. But there’s been a stone structure here since the 12th C, which replaced an earlier motte and bailey built after the Norman Conquest.

Castle Lock and Wilford Street Bridge.

Old warehouses, now rebrandedIMG_6840

Nottingham Magistrate’s Court, AKA The Justice Centre ( a bit Judge Dredd, that…) stands on a factory site, once served by a canal arm. The arm is now a water feature.IMG_6841

City living on the cheap?IMG_6842

There was a cluster of boats above Meadow Lane Lock, but none were heading down onto the river, and with one gate already open we took advantage of the opportunity to go straight down.

Meadow Lane Lock, down onto the Trent again

That’s it, out onto the wide water, Lady Bay Bridge ahead.IMG_6845

A fine day to be on the river

Holme Lock was our first proper river lock, and the hydro-electric plant is still not yet finished alongside, meaning that the visitor moorings are still occupied by the residents.IMG_6849

The completion date has been put back twice, it’s now supposed to be finished by the middle of September. The lock-keeper said he’s not holding his breath…

Leaving Holme LockIMG_6851

From Holme to Stoke Lock it’s about 35 minutes, passing under the Nottingham to Grantham railway line at Netherfield Bridge.IMG_6853

The construction using iron, red brick and engineering brick is best viewed from downstream.IMG_6857


We had to hover in the lock cut for Stoke Lock to be readied for us, then were through and heading for Gunthorpe Bridge.

Stoke LockIMG_6860

The local swans seem to like this outfall at Stoke Bardolph…IMG_6862

A lot of river…IMG_6864
The river carries an average of around 320,000,000 litres of water an hour down to the Humber estuary. In heavy weather in the winter this discharge can almost double. The Severn, in comparison, moves only another 60,000,000 on average, although it’s catchment area and length are both higher.
The Thames is considerably less, but it tends to be drier in the south…

Gunthorpe Bridge is the only road crossing between Nottingham and Newark, and there are good but popular pontoon moorings between the bridge and the lock. We’d hoped to get a slot here for the night, but looking through the bridge arch it appeared we were going to be unlucky…IMG_6865

But no, there was a spot on the inside, round the back.IMG_6866
That’s a relief. The next spot with narrowboat-height moorings is below Hazelford Lock, maybe 90 minutes away.

Although it’s stayed fine, we lost the sun to the encroaching clouds soon after lunchtime. On the water it was cool, jumper weather.

Our route will take us off the Trent at Keadby, and along to the New Junction Canal, passing along the Stainforth and Keadby. But there’s a problem on the latter at the moment, a failure of the swing bridge at Thorne Lock:-

“Stainforth & Keadby Canal
Starts At: Thorne Lock
Ends At: Thorne Lock
Saturday 15 August 2015 16:00 until further notice Type: Navigation Closure
Reason: Structure failure
Original message:
One of the swing bridge road barriers has broken away from the anchor post making the bridge inoperable.  As the swing bridge needs to be operated in tandem with the lock, both structures are currently out of use. Our staff will be on hand from 10.00 till 16.00 tomorrow to assist boats through this lock and bridge. We will provide an update to this notice on Monday morning.”
No update yet though, guys…  We’ll be there early next week.

Locks 4, miles 11½


Naughty-Cal said...

Are you calling into the Fossdyke to pay us a visit on your way past or are you heading straight downstream to Keadby?

Paul (from Waterway Routes) said...

We passed though Thorn Swing Bridge this morning (Tuesday) and it was working fine.

As there was no update on the website by early Monday afternoon I phoned for an update. The answer was "the bridge is working but the website is broken so we can't add updates at the moment".

Later in the afternoon I got an avalanche of updates, presumably when the website was fixed.

We should be in Sheffield tomorrow (Wednesday) and leaving on Friday for Keadby and upstream to Nottingham and beyond, so we might pass you somewhere.

Dogsontour by Greygal said...

Hi Geoff

We'll be doing your trip in reverse in the middle of September - could I ask you about narrowboat-friendly (and dog friendly) moorings between Cromwell and Cranfleet? We'll have a couple of houndies aboard and I'm having nightmares about having to winch them up walls!

Love to you both


Naughty-Cal said...


There are nice moorings in Beeston and Nottingham which are dog friendly and easy to access the boat and pontoon moorings at Stoke lock, Gunthorpe, Farndon, Newark, Muskham Ferry and Cromwell so all should be easy for the dogs to get on an off.