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The Odyssey 2019: Day 6

Posted by alexgrehyauthor on 29 July, 2019

Nottingham to Newark

Monday 3rd June

Setting out from the Nottingham steps

All four convoy boats were planning to cruise downsteam so we made a rough plan to travel together and share the capacious locks on the River Trent. We set off bright and early (by our standards) and managed to fight the wind to get off our moorings and turn downstream with the minimum of fuss. Indigo Dream was in her element, she has a very sweet trinity of engine, propellor and gearbox, and after a service she was delighted to stride out into deep water. We flew downriver, enjoying the lush countryside views. There is a navigator’s guide to the non-tidal Trent – sadly we’d left our copy at home (!) but obstructions and channels are well signposted and it is possible to navigate without the guides  if you apply a bit of common sense about avoiding the inside of bends (where it can be very shallow indeed).

I know that some boaters find the Trent boring, but I love it; the landscape is rich and beautiful. There are few settlements along its banks, so it feels as if we’re boating in nature. We have many fond memories of cruising here with Lou, Lynx and Ty; back then, we took our time and stopped at Fiskerton for some splendid dog-walking, pub food and a slobber over Dutch Barge Joni, that was just being fitted out. But today we were on a mission to get to Newark.

Trent Bridge Cricket ground…

The lock keepers on the Trent are very organised, with each one radio-ing the next to let them know that our little convoy was coming. We also practiced our VHF technique, which does tend to get rusty when we’re just bimbling along remote canals. The lock-keepers were also very solicitous of our safety – the locks are enormous and swallowed our little convoy whole.

The river was very quiet, with a few boats coming upstream. However as we approached Newark, on the narrow bit, of course, we were stalked by a big tug travelling downstream. We all made room for it to pass – never argue with a boat that’s powerful enough to push the entire St Pancras Cruising Club, clubhouse and all, into the water! Again, we listening out on the VHF and knew that we’d be sharing Newark Lock with the tug – forewarned is forearmed!

Kings Marina is at the far end of Newark, so we had a good view of the town’s moorings. There was ample room on the walls, and one precious space on the pontoon (left hand side looking downstream). We’ve never seen a space there before (ok, we’ve only been here twice!) and were a bit sad that we couldn’t take advantage of it just on principle! Indigo Dream, Coracle and Mobius turned into the marina, but we waved goodbye to nb Scholar Gypsy who was carrying on to Cromwell Lock.

Room to spare in the locks on the Trent…

Kings Marina is closed on Monday, but we’d made arrangements to meet the manager at 5pm-ish. As it happened, we’d flown from Loughborough and arrived nearer 2pm. We were prepared to wait on the service pontoon (where he’d told us to hang out), but some super-friendly residents pointed out an empty space and gave us a gate key that an outgoing boater had left with them. The downside of the marina is that you can get in and out by boat easily enough, but the site is gated and only key holders can get in and out on foot/by car. It was a relief to get moored up – the wind had been very brisk all day, making for some tricky manouevering off lock moorings (the wind was handy for pushing us onto moorings but less handy for pushing off!).

We mused about getting the car, but the marina is very close to Newark Castle train station which has a good train to Loughborough. Now Saffy has been on trains before but I never thought that Alex, having come to us so traumatised, would ever manage. Nonethless, if we minimised the amount of stuff that we needed to carry home and got the dogs onto the train, it would save us over an hour on the journey home.

One of the few bridges across the Trent

We mooched over to the station and had a little wait, which allowed the dogs to get used to the idea. We had their sheepskin rugs, and Alex was happy to curl up on his temporary safe place. He doesn’t like crowds, so he jumped onto the train with no fuss and found himself a space under a table. Saffy was not so keen – it’s just as well that she was with Richard, who could lift her on board. Both hounds settled well, though the train got a bit crowded in Nottingham. We got them off the train with very little fuss at Loughborough. I was so relieved that Alex’ first train trip had gone so smoothly as it’s a useful backup.

Richard’s car was just yards form the station entrance – Alex and Saffy were so happy to see it. By greyhound standards they’d had an exhausting weekend, having assiduously left wee mails in Bath, Loughborough, Nottingham, Newark and many points in-between. Luckily, we had packed their favourite beds into the boot for their stay in the B & B, so they were travelling in some style. As soon as the car started moving they settled down and we didn’t hear a peep from them until we got home!


Stoke Lock showing the strange proprotions of a lock on a river which can rise much, much higher

Typical view of the rural, remote and broad River Trent.

Saffy enjoyng the view

More rural scenes – this high bank is an oddity in a landscape that’s getting flatter and flatter as we approach Lincolnshire

This insect hitched a lift – we’ve seen a few of them this summer – I think it’s a fairy longhorn moth

Ooh, spaces at Fiskerton – this is a good place to moor if you have hounds and like pub grub!

Great view of the castle from Newark Town Lock – it’s big enough for the tug and for our convoy.

Alex hiding but otherwise calm 😉

Saffy kept out of the way too – but she refused to sit with us!

Travelling in style – the last leg of our round Britain weekend :-p




2 Responses to “The Odyssey 2019: Day 6”

  1. Kate Walkington said

    Hello Sue and Richard, I’m very much enjoying your current ‘Odyssey’ journey – thank you for posting to me. I particularly enjoyed Day 5 on The Trent as it brought back a lot of happy memories for me! We were on it on Tamesis II in 2010 having that year crossed the Mersey and visited York and Sheffield so we came out onto the Trent at Keadby and were then facing southwards towards home on the Thames. We had a few adventures on the way – I have taken pleasure re-reading my boat logs for that year prompted by your own tales of the Trent! By the time we reached home we had travelled 767 miles and worked 525 locks [albeit some with lock-keepers of course] and visited 7 cities [plus many canalside villages and towns in between. Ah well, happy days and memories. I hope your own odyssey continues to go well before you need to stop for the winter – I’ll keep reading your blog.
    When trying to find where I could make a comment I noticed that your some-times travelling companion boat ‘Scholar Gypsy’ now has a new boat called ‘Reflections’ on the Thames! To me this seemed such a coincidence as when we had Tamesis II built we thought of calling her ‘Reflections’ because that was the name of a China/Gift Shop we once owned in Newton Abbot, but as we then lived near the Thames we decided on Tamesis II instead!
    Very best wishes to you both and your beloved greyhounds. Kate Walkington ex-n/b Tamesis II

  2. Kate
    Sorry if my blog was a bit unclear, I was just crewing on Reflections on the Thames. From time to time I crew for people who are new to the tideway (and/or don’t have a VHF radio). Scholar Gypsy is still my only boat ..
    Best wishes SImon

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