Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Carrots roll as we cross the Trent

I don't think I have boated in such high winds before. Today has been mostly sunny, but with a strong southerly wind and frequent fierce gusts. But first I need to say a few words about yesterday.

We set off from the Hope and Anchor at 0730 in benign conditions but with rain forecast for the afternoon. We hoped we would make it to Loughborough before getting too wet. The Soar makes its way through countryside with only the occasional town or village for extra interest. Near Junction Lock the River Wreake joins the Soar's waters, and the navigation is called the River Wreake for a short distance.

Junction Lock
The wind was getting up as we made the left turn under Chain Bridge to go to Loughborough Basin, and it caught the bow pushing it against the sticking out concrete edge. This took paint off the edge of the gunnel at the bow, it also slightly damaged the front edge of the cabin.

After using the services we reversed onto a pontoon. As soon as we had tied up it started raining heavily. Phew!

We looked round the town and got some supplies from Tesco, then wondered how much more of the buffeting from the wind we could stand. The pontoons in Loughborough Basin are only about 30' long, making it impossible to use the front rope. In the wind the boat rocked around, cups on hooks constantly crashing against the side and the centre line creaking and straining. In the end we could take no more, and powered out of the basin in the rain. We tied up outside the Anchor pub past Chain Bridge and waited for my brother to arrive.

David is with us for a couple of days.

This morning the wind was possibly not quite as strong as yesterday, but it increased through the day making for quite interesting lock approaches. At Ratcliffe Lock we decided to sit it out for a bit and wait for the wind to abate before the last section of the Soar and the crossing of the Trent. I used some of the time to prepare and prime the damaged paintwork.

Eventually, with another narrowboat approaching the lock, I decided the time had come to go for it. We shared the lock with Eos, a boat we had seen several times on our way down the Leicester Line.

This is my favourite photo of the day; Ratcliffe Power Station.

At last, we came to the junction with the River Trent. Now the wind was strong and completely unhindered as it came at us across the watery expanse, this time from a more westerly direction. As we turned into the wind to head for the entrance of the Erewash Canal the boat leaned over somewhat; enough for four carrots which Jan was preparing in the galley to roll off the worktop onto the floor. I kept the power on as we shot between the masonry bridge supports into the Trent Lock approach, then stopped with a sense of relief as David went to prepare the lock.

Another "Phew"!

Incidentally, I'm really glad that we weren't trying to go up the Soar today. Against the flow would have been bad enough, not that it was particularly strong, but against the wind would have been a test of engine and steerer's stamina.

I've stowed the anchor again; we'll be on the Erewash for the next few days.

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