Wednesday, November 09, 2016

A long and lonely day on the river.

Couldn't post this last night - no internet. It's still poor, but working this morning.

I ran the engine for an hour last evening to get a wash load done before topping up the tank this morning, annoying a couple of late evening anglers in the process. Ah well, c’est la vie.

I was up at seven this morning to get tonight’s dinner prepped, then dragged a reluctant Meg out of bed for a walk. It was pretty parky first thing! But also bright and sunny, so it soon warmed up to a balmy 8°.

With the tank topped up by half-nine and the Keadby Lock filled and opened ready for us, Mark the lockie swung the road bridge for us to let us through.

The bridge opening in front of us…

…then the lock gates closing behind.

A lot of water coming down from the canal as the lock empties.IMG_2338
Both are controlled by the lockie.

And we’re off!

With a cold front moving in from the west we wanted to get tied up at Torksey by three o’clock, before the predicted rain arrived. But today’s tide is low and had only just turned so wasn’t giving us the boost we’d have liked. At least there’s very little “fresh” on; not much flow heading downstream.

That cold front was steadily pushing clouds across from the west as we headed south.IMG_2343

Gunness Wharf was quiet but some dredging was going on in front of one of the quays, so something might be expected.IMG_2345
Coastal vessels load and unload here, we’ve seen timber and steel pipes being handled.

The clever road and rail bascule bridge at Gunness.
The bridge deck was lifted by pumping river water into the large tank at the far end, counterbalancing the weight.

It was quite pleasant for a start, while the sun was shining. But that cloud bank was steadily edging across…

Near Owston Ferry the EA patrol launch Trisantona II sits on the mud at her mooringIMG_2362

With the minimal effect of the incoming tide we weren’t making as good time as I‘d hoped, but we passed the entrance to the Chesterfield Canal at West Stockwith just on mid-day, 2¼ hours after pulling out of Keadby.

We’ve never cruised the river at low tide heading upstream, in the past we’ve always set off with plenty of water and chased it down to the Humber. But today a bit of care had to be taken to not cut corners. Some of the silt banks extend a long way out into the channel.

The remains of a sunken boat lie partly exposed on a mud bankIMG_2356

West Stockwith Lock and the entrance to the Chesterfield CanalIMG_2363 

Clearing out the mud from a sluice.

The run downstream with the tide usually takes no more than 4½ hours, today’s trip was looking like taking an hour longer so I decided to have a comfort break at Gainsborough, pulling onto the floating pontoon on the town side of the river.
With a locked gate at the top of the access ramp it’s probably quite safe, but it’s not the sort of place we would choose to spend the night. Meg had a stroll and did what she needed to do, I stamped some feeling back into my feet, then we had a quick bite to eat before setting off again, under Gainsborough Bridge.

Leaving the town behind we passed the only boat we saw on the move.

NB Dingo, heading down against the tide.
We exchanged shouted greetings, but neither of us had a clue what the other said!

By now the tide was flooding with a little more strength, shoving our speed up from 5½ mph to a breathtaking 6¼! I still held the engine at 1250 revs, plenty in reserve at that but at nearly 1000 hours on the clock she’s getting on a bit.

Passing West Burton Power Station
Apart from the small gas-fired facility at Keadby, this is the first Trent Valley power station passed when coming upstream. There’s several more. Not for nothing is the Trent know as Megawatt Valley…

Here comes Cottam…

These guys look young for this late in the year…

It started to get cold as the sun disappeared behind the clouds, but at least the wind dropped completely. I was getting bored, so, with the GPS running on my old iPad (it finds the satellites much quicker than the newer one) I fired up the other and did a couple of Sudoku puzzles and had three backgammon  matches against the computer. It passed the time. And I won. Yay!

Torksey Aqueduct used to carry a branch line to and from Cottam Power Station, but the tracks have long since been removed.

Torksey Castle
The 16th century house was severely damaged during the Civil War, and, although structurally stabilised by English Heritage, is on private land with no public access. 

End of today’s trip, the entrance to Torksey Cut on the east bankIMG_2382 

Torksey Cut, layover mooring pontoons and Torksey Lock at the far end.IMG_2383

We turned around, ready to tackle the rest of the tidal trip to Cromwell lock in the morning.

Hi Naughty-Cal. As you’ll have guessed by now we’re heading down to Newark tomorrow. Maybe next time we’ll make for Lincoln again.
Hi John, pleased you enjoy the blog. You’ll have no trouble on the S&K, there are landings on both sides of the canal at the bridges. But if you head onto the New Junction you might struggle with a couple on there. Have fun.
Hiya Carol. I was lucky, we’d already disturbed some individuals which took to wing, so I was ready for that lot. Up here they see so little boat traffic that they don’t just stare at you in disdain as you cruise past like they do down south!
Hi Mike. Maybe the damage on the other blades cancels it out… We’ve lost a bit of thrust but it’s not uncomfortable, just a bit of a pulse at lower speeds. I’ll be dry-docking for blacking next year, so it’ll have to stay on till then.

Locks 1, miles 27½


John Lawson said...

hmmmmm thanks for that. I'll have another look at trent falls! :D

Tom and Jan said...

1000 hours or 10,000 hours?

Geoff and Mags said...

Hiya John. I've thought about Trent Falls myself, but I've never been able to convince Mags! You'll have to let us know how you get on...
Yes Tom, you're right. I dropped a zero!

John Lawson said...

Hi Geoff. I certainly will. Toying with the idea of a blog myself. Just for my 3 month trip down to Cambridge(weather permitting) and back. But not sure I have the discipline to maintain it. I was only put off Trent Falls because I read they do not allow single handed but I have since read of several who have done it so I will make further inquiries. I dont fancy chewing on with swing bridges with moorings on the wrong side. Its a big heavy boat(37 tonnes) to be pulling through. In the meantime I will continue to enjoy your adventures! Cheers John