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Archive for August 1st, 2011

The Odyssey 2011: Day 26 (1)

Posted by indigodream on 1 August, 2011

Torksey to West Stockwith

Thursday 14th July

nb Kalikamara negotiating the twists and turns of the tideway.....

We had the quietest night at Torksey and woke refreshed and ready for a long day’s cruising. This time we put our layers on before we got onto the tideway – to think I almost packed my winter fleece and thermal vest away and here I was wearing both, in the middle of July! As it happens, the tideway wasn’t quite as cold today and the Chesterfield canal was balmy by comparison.

We set off down to Torksey Lock a little early, with the intention of stopping at the service point to get rid of our rubbish. However the lockies spotted us, gave us the green light and we went straight into the lock. nb Kalikamara had moored overnight on the pontoons below the lock and set off just before us – we soon caught up and overtook them, and later we overtook nb Celestine – I’m not sure where they’d started out.  We were only doing between 1200 and 1400 revs but we were reluctant to go any slower as we don’t like to hand about on a tideway and we were worried about getting to West Stockwith while there was still water in the river – but we needn’t have been concerned. We could see the mud emerging as the tide fell and it reminded us vividly of Bow Creek, where the water rushes out quite abruptly once the tide turns. But things are a lot slower on the Trent – the lockies told us that the tide drains gently away in the upper reaches because it’s held by the narrows. This means that West Stockwith is open for 4.5 hours after hight tide and it’s only a couple of hours cruise from Torksey.

We took turns on the helm along the tideway – Richard would cruise a page on the chart and I’d cruise the next! This gave us both a chance to experience the Trent through our eyes and through our hands on the tiller. This section has plenty of interest with grand mansions, follies, ruins and Gainsborough town – we haven’t seen a settlement this big since we left Newark! In between there were hairpin bends and the ever-abundant wildlife.

All too soon we arrived at West Stockwith and Richard took the helm for the turn. The approach to the lock is very similar to that recommended for Limehouse Lock, though West Stockwith does not have the tricky back-eddy of Limehouse’s lock cut. Richard handled the lock entry competently but it is an easy turn especially as the lockie stood on the wall and ‘talked us in’ and we got in without any drama. It’s a deep lock and there aren’t any guide wires so we couldn’t use out own ropes – the lockie threw down some ropes so we could hold ourselves steady. We heard nb Kalikamara radioing in – they were at least 30 minutes behind us so the lockie decided he had time to lock us into the basin and empty the lock. The lockie was informative and solicitous of our safety in the lock – he let us up gently and we had a smooth transition onto the Chesterfield Canal, though the way the top paddles work meant that the bow did move gently from one side of the lock to the other.

Richard on the helm after taking us under Torksey Viaduct...

We decided to stop at the basin’s service point – turn sharp right out of the lock and turn sharp right again into the slipway past the last mooring. Richard reversed us in – there was plenty of depth here but it’s worth keeping an eye out so you don’t go too far and ground on the slipway.

I took the hounds for a bobble and got rid of the rubbish while Richard did the pump out. We’d left the radio on so we knew when nb Kalikamara was approaching the lock – we hastened to watch – there’s a great view from above the lock. I was amazed to see how fast nb Kalikamara was travelling, and the rate at which she was swept along when she turned to face the tide (she turned her bow to the main flow and their turn was well done but did look like hard work, so the lockie’s suggestion of turning the other way was a good one). The flow didn’t feel that fast when we were turning into the lock but I’m sure it was! The lockie shouted directions and though they seemed to turn into the lock a little early they still made it in with no drama. For boaters who are worried about the turn – don’t! It’s much easier than the turn to Limehouse and as long as your engine is working and you follow the lockie’s directions you’ll be fine.

Photoblog:

For a view of the approach to West Stockwith Lock, click on this facebook link – it shows nb Kalikamara turning and entering the lock…..

Leaving a power station behind - never mind, there'll be another one along shortly!

Small boat, big river, big sky - nb Kalikamara on the calm waters of the tidal Trent...

This old converted windmill is a useful landmark....

Catching up with the next power station...and with nb Celestine...

I'm not sure what this plant is but it is abundant here - it growns near the lakes at home and the spiky 'fruit' is very difficult to extract from dog hair and clothes...

Sign at Littleborough - you are not allowed to anchor because there is a Roman causeway under the water - we couldn't detect it though - even at low tide...

Folly...

Fine manor house....

And here's the next power station - it's a monster....

Birds of all sorts enjoy the riches left in the mud by the falling tide...

Posing....

Herring gull....

Black headed gulls....

The kilometre posts are used by all sorts of river users 🙂

Gainsborough railway bridge - there's an acute hairpin bend after this bridge - watch out for it!

The vast Kerry Group plant in Gainsborough - they "develop, manufacture and deliver technology based ingredients, flavours and integrated solutions for the food and beverage industry" - uhhhm, sounds delicious.....

Approaching Gainsborough's imposing river walls and high wharves...

The Gainsborough Arches...

Gainsborough waterfront...

And there's the visitor mooring pontoon - 48 hours I believe and one of the few mooring places on the tideway....

The more industrial end of Gainsborough - note the little wavelet on the water - it was getting a little choppy at this stage but nothing that a narrowboat couldn't deal with...

There seem to be big plans for developing the area....

Gainsborough's modern industry....

And more businesses on the far bank....

Gainsborough's a welcome bit of interest on an otherwise rural river....

Sluices - these were being dredged out when we came back upriver - but more on that in goodness knows how many posts' time!

The last bend before West Stockwith...

There's the West Stockwith lock cottage...

And there's the lock....

And here we are safely in West Stockwith lock - we were too busy to take photos of our approach but if you click on the facebook link in the text above you'll get a view of nb Kalikamara's approach...

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