Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Cold but bright as we head East

Things didn’t go to plan on Tuesday morning. After spending the night moored opposite Stanilands Marina to wait for them to open, it turned out that they’d run out of diesel at the weekend! We picked up one bag of solid fuel though. Then headed down Thorne Lock, with the swing bridge at the head of the lock to shift as well.

You have to set the lock and open the gates before swinging the bridge before going in…DSCF5352

…then close the bridge again before operating the lock to descend.DSCF5353

Five minutes cruise below the lock saw us pulling in on the moorings next to the services wharf.

I made a couple of trips up into Thorne to top up the cupboards before we settled down for the night.

We wanted to be off by half-nine this morning. It’s about 4 hours from Thorne to Keadby, and we needed to be there by 2 o’clock. We also needed the diesel we’d failed to get yesterday. The plan was to be waiting on the fuel dock at Bluewater Marina on the eastern edge of Thorne when they opened at 10:00. But staff at Thorne Boat Services, alongside the moorings, started moving boats about at nine, clearing a space that gave access to their diesel pump. So I quickly jumped into the gap before they craned another boat in, which is why they created the space in the first place! A fill of the red stuff only held them up by 15 minutes, and they did shift nearly 100 litres from their tank to ours.

Leaving Thorne Boat Services and the moorings.DSCF5355
To the right is the Princess Royal Swing Footbridge, through which we’ve just passed. It has a pair of gates at either end and if they’re not positioned just right nothing works. They took a bit of jiggling about this morning.

This was the first of seven, one to lift and six to swing. In fact there are nine moveable bridges from Thorne to the Trent, but two aren’t boater operated.

Passing Bluewater Marina

It’s a good job we’d filled in Thorne, the services wharf was already occupied by a boat having it’s poo tank pumped out.

Wykewell Lift Bridge, on the edge of the town.
Mags was holding off while  operated the bridge, and I’d Just pressed the button to drop the road barriers when an Audi with an impatient driver came around the corner. Despite the red flashing lights and the descending barriers he sped across the bridge, just missing being hit by one of them. Idiot. 

The bridges come fairly regularly and most of them have landings on both sides of the canal on both sides of the bridge to make it easier for single-handers, and they came in handy for us too. The brisk wind was pushing Mags about but I was able to tie up on the console side of the canal.

It’s dead flat along here, so any wind can be a problem.DSCF5359

It’s good country for growing wind turbines as well…DSCF5369

A kestrel out hunting…

The canal is mainly straight, with just the odd gentle bend to relieve the boredom. To one side is the railway, to the other is a flood management channel.

We paused for a comfort break at Crowle Bridge, then pushed on, passing the only moving boat we’d seen, a work boat coming up from Keadby.DSCF5366

Vazon Swing Bridge is the last we had to do before we finished for the day.DSCF5371

Just beyond is the unusual sliding railway bridge, where we had to wait for ten minutes for a gap in the rail traffic.DSCF5372

The bridge deck, complete with rails, is moved diagonally away to clear the navigation. The operation is controlled by a chap up in the control tower.DSCF5373

After this interesting example of mechanisation it’s a clear run to the end of the canal.

Warning for sailing barges…

Keadby Lock and Swing Bridge, gateway to the Trent.DSCF5376

We moored outside the services, and at three had a smokeless fuel delivery I’d arranged the other day. Then we pulled back onto the far end of the moorings. We’ll be here now till eight o’clock on Saturday morning, when the lockie will let us out onto the river to catch the flooding tide.

Locks 1, miles 10½

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