An early start this morning, it was just starting to lighten in the east when Meg and I went out for her morning constitutional.
That’s not the sun, it’s yet to make an appearance.
A little later we moved down close to the swing bridge to wait for the lockie who would pen us out onto the river, and I went to have a look at the state of the tide.
It’s still out, exposing mud banks on the sides…
…and in the lock entrance.
Mark the lockie gently dropped us down to the river level at 08:25, and we pulled out of the lock, leaving a groove through the silt, and out onto the wide water.
Looking north towards Trent Falls, the Yorkshire Ouse, the Humber Estuary and the North Sea.
That’s the route for the big boys. We’re heading south, upstream.
Under Keadby Bridge.
The span on the left that we’re heading for lifts to allow tall vessels through. Well, it did do. I’m not sure now… River water was pumped into the tank on the left until it’s weight counterbalanced the bridge deck and the span lifted. Neat, eh.
There’s not a lot to see from the river, the high flood banks obscure all but the immediate surroundings.
A very des res assuming you like stairs…
East and West Butterwick glare at each other across the river.
To get from one to the other requires a boat or a seven mile trip by road.
It’s a bit lonely out here…
…Ah, a splash of civilisation at Owston Ferry!
The ferry has long gone, in fact there’s nowhere to pull in for a pint either!
Chugging on, with the tide now pushing us along handily, the next place of note is West Stockwith, where the lock gives access to the Chesterfield Canal.
We had rain overnight, which thankfully had stopped by the time we set off. But there was a chill wind from the north and west. It was blowing up whitecaps on the stretches where it was opposing the incoming tide. It was also making me feel rather cold. Approaching Gainsborough I decided to pull in on mooring pontoon to stretch my legs and for Meg to have a comfort break too.
Converted gravel barge, now a floating crane, near Morton.
Looking forward to a brew, a bite to eat and a wee (not necessarily in that order), as we come into Gainsborough.
The access to the pontoon is by locked gate, but it’s not the sort of place I’d want to stay overnight.
A half-hour later we were on the move again, heading for Gainsborough Arches.
Above Gainsborough the river gets quite tortuous, twisting back on it’s self several times. The power stations along here are the main landmarks, and you’re never quite sure whether they’ll appear to the left or right, ahead or even behind!
West Burton Power Station, unusually dead ahead as we head west into the wind-generated chop.
Over to the left of the picture can be seen the stack of the next one up the valley at Cottam.
The proximity of fuel from the Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire coalfields, and the abundant availability of water for steam turbines, made the Trent valley ideal for electricity generation. In the 1980s the 13 generating sites in the valley produced a quarter of the electricity consumed in England and Wales, earning it the nickname Megawatt Valley. In the 90s many plants were converted to gas, and several of the older ones closed down. There are now only three still burning coal, those at West Burton, Cottam and Ratcliffe.
While to the west the land remains flat, to the east a series of red sandstone ridges start to close in on the valley.
This change in the geology of the valley might explain why it’s so bendy along here, as the course of the river is diverted by the harder ridges.
Cottam Power Station
After passing under the now-disused Torksey Railway Viaduct, Torksey Castle can be seen through the trees on the left.
The Elizabethan fortified manor house is a Grade 1 listed building. It suffered badly during the Civil War. It’s on private land with no public access, but that doesn’t stop the pigeons who find the ruins a handy roost.
Our overnight stop is just a bit further on, in the entrance channel to Torksey Lock. Just look out for the big sign on the east bank…
There are good mooring pontoons here for those like us who don’t want to do the tideway in one go.
The lock takes you up onto The Fossdyke, the route to Lincoln and Boston. It was interesting turning around here, with the wind blowing straight up the channel, but we made it and tied up, facing back towards the main river.
We’ve a later start in the morning, the flood doesn’t start here till around 11:20, but we’ll shove off soon after half-ten. Should be in Newark tomorrow afternoon.
Locks 1, miles 27.