Friday, 29 August 2014

Now THAT'S what I call BOATING!

We made it! Well, we got from Keadby to Torksey on the tidal Trent. I won't deny that we weren't a little apprehensive of venturing onto the tideway, with no St. Pancras Cruising Club organised convoy nor Indigo Dreamers to hold our hands, so to speak. Oh, there was one other boat, nb Florence, but, well, we'll see what happens to him.

The day started with the phone alarm going off at 0600. I had woken a minute before, in keen anticipation of what lay ahead. Being up at this hour meant I was able to catch the sunrise over Keadby Swingbridge, with keel Spider T.

The lockie knocked on our roof at 0630 to check we were ready and to say that he'd be opening the bridge for us at 0645.

In a very short space of time we were through the bridge and going down the lock, together with mountains of duckweed. And Narrowboat Florence, crewed by Andrew and Howard.

We had been told that we'd see the flood tide start to come in, and that that would be the signal to leave the lock. However, as the gates opened, we could see that the flow was still right to left, i.e. heading downstream towards the Humber and the North Sea.

That didn't deter Florence, who immediately zoomed out of the lock and headed upstream. We stayed in the shelter of the lock, waiting for the direction of the flow to change.

We would have been waiting a long time, had the lockie not appeared above us after two or three minutes giving us the thumbs up. If the lockie says "go" it must be all right, mustn't it?

So we went.

Later we realised that the apparent direction of flow was merely the strong south wind blowing ripples northwards. I say "ripples" - perhaps that should be "waves" (see later).

So we were now under way on the tidal Trent. It was all slightly anticlimactic, really. The water was calm, the sun peeped out from the clouds, and we chugged along quite nicely.

The first thing of note was the King George V bridge, carrying both road and rail, one span of which used to lift to allow high-masted boats through. (Florence is just passing through the centre span - we were told to use the former lifting span.)

Then came the M180 motorway bridge. There were to be no more bridges until Gainsborough, 14 miles further on. Florence is a speck just before the bridge. But we were gaining.

To show that I didn't hog the tiller, here's Jan steering into the headwind.

With our Isuzu doing a steady but not overworked 1300 rpm we overtook Florence, taking lots of photos of them which I have e-mailed to Andrew. As you can see, there was plenty of room for the manoeuvre. And no oncoming boats to worry about.

This shot shows how choppy the water got, with the southerly wind over the tide. Jubilee rode extremely smoothly over the waves, with barely any detectable movement out of the ordinary. And the speed we were going! Yes, we had the tide with us, but we hit 8.2 mph at one point. And that was at engine revs which often don't push the boat more than 3 mph on the usual shallow canals.

One little job which I had been saving up was to put a car-type sat nav on the slide. I actually got round to doing this yesterday, and it was useful in showing where we were on the river. This is the bit where Garmin's mapping of the Trent shows it suddenly narrowing to a thin blue line. I suppose the river banks did get slightly closer, but not quite so dramatically.

The junction with the River Idle (navigable, but you wouldn't know it from Nicholson - and I'm told you have to fork out a hefty fee to the EA to open a sluice) came up on the right ...

... followed closely by West Stockwith Lock, the junction with the Chesterfield Canal.

I took two photos; in the first the man sitting on the balance beam waved ...

... and in the second the CRT man waved.

Here's proof of our speed (over ground) from the Garmin e-trex device.

There are lots of power stations along the Trent. Here's West Burton Power Station:

... and this is Cottam Power Station:

After not much more than four hours we saw the welcome black and white sign announcing Torksey Lock on our left. We didn't need the actual lock, but we turned into the lock cut.

This was where we had planned to stop for the night. We could have gone on to Cromwell, but we were both happy to stick to our original plan. Anyway, the tide was in now, and we might have had to end the trip unnecessarily having to punch the ebb tide.

Winding in the cut before the lock was interesting in the wind, but we made it OK and tied to the floating pontoon.

It has been a fantastic day's boating, and I'm looking forward to getting to Cromwell and beyond tomorrow. We'd actually coped with wind stronger than many boaters would have been happy with. Indeed, some of our neighbours here on the pontoon chose to sit out today's conditions hoping for a calmer day tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

It's a great trip - so glad that you enjoyed it :-)

That did look a bit choppy - but it does give you confidence in your boat!

Sue, nb Indigo Dream

Jim said...

Glad you enjoyed it - and sorry I missed it.

Halfie said...

Sue, yes, Jubilee loved it!

Jim, I, too, am sorry you had to miss it.