Saturday, August 20, 2016

A wet Trent down to Newark.

Yesterday started dry, but grey and threatening. The forecast had made it clear that by mid-morning we were likely to see some rain, so we untied from the Gunthorpe pontoon and set of at a quarter to nine.

The boat moored in front of us was an early bird, so we left two boat lengths freeIMG_1417

It was too early for a lockie to be in attendance at Gunthorpe, so I tied up to the high wall in the lock cut and went and set up the lock. Another boat was ahead, having left at soon after 7, so it had to be filled.

Amber lights mean self-service

Mags comes in, but by now the lockie has arrived to take over, so I climbed back aboardIMG_1419 
Going down in these locks it’s easy to use just a stern rope around the slip wire. Especially if you’re on your own, which has mainly been the case this trip. It also means it’s very quick, we’re no sooner in than the lock-keeper can start to empty the lock.

Cutting a channel through the weir-foam as we leave Gunthorpe Lock IMG_1420

Wide open river, shame about the weather.

Sand Martin burrows in the river bank
As summer visitors, only here from March to October, they’re usually long gone back to Africa before the Trent goes into it’s winter flooding moods.

Some nice boats moored at Hazelford Ferry

Just down from the ferry moorings a new length of floating pontoon moorings has been installedIMG_1429

Now that’ll be useful, if by short stay they mean one or two nights…IMG_1430

We’d had a few drops of rain, but it held off long enough for us to get through Hazelford Lock, and while we pulled in below to give Meg a comfort break. But by the time we’d reached Fiskerton it was back, and in earnest.

Empty visitor moorings outside The Bramley

Getting near to Newark now as Staythorpe Power Station emerges from the gloom…IMG_1436
It’s just below here that the river course leaves the navigation over the large Averham Weir to swing around in a loop to the west. The navigation now follows Newark Dyke, opened in 1772, and from Farndon, about 1¾ miles below the parting, mainly following the course of the river Devon. The two watercourses (Trent and Dyke) reunite below Newark Nether lock.

Old DykeThere is a suggestion that the Trent once ran much closer to Newark than at present. OS maps still show a dry depression between the Dyke and the river, labelled as “Old Trent Dyke”

This appears to run to the modern confluence of Newark Dyke and the river coming back in from it’s course via Averham and Kelham. There’s an interesting discussion about it here…

The camera didn’t make an appearance until we reached Newark Town Lock, and then only briefly…IMG_1442

We dropped down the lock in company with a small cruiser whom we’d picked up in our wake. The lockie told us that it was very busy in town, 55 visiting boats were moored on Thursday! So we didn’t hold out much hope of getting onto the pontoon past Trent Bridge. As expected it was chocker-block, and the wall on the other side was full up too. We turned around and headed back upstream, pulling onto the high pilings just past where The Gore comes in, below the lock.

That’s us, alongside the group of people on the path!
It’s not ideal, Meg has to be lifted on and off, but once she’s ashore she’s got the park to run in.

We had to find a spot to stop in Newark, we had friends coming in the afternoon. We’d not seen Dave and Barbara for a couple of years, they are boaters but live here in the town, and luckily they weren’t out on the water. A great afternoon chatting, good company, good food and a glass or two!

It’s showery and very windy today, so we’ve stayed put, as have most others. We’re booked out of Cromwell Lock onto the tideway early Monday afternoon, so if the weather is anything like decent we’ll have a gentle mosey down and spend the night there tomorrow.

Locks 3, miles 14

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