Wednesday 3rd May 2017
It would be difficult to call it a wonderful day – very cloudy overhead and a bit of wind early on which seemed to get a bit stronger before lunch.
We moved relatively early today, going down the last two locks on the canal and mooring up just before the entrance to the basin; we took a walk along to the basin and around; spoke to the guy we had met coming into the lock just 4 days earlier; enquired about diesel and rang the operator and booked with him for a fill at just after 1pm – all very casual around here.
We popped over to the café next to the pub for a coffee and ended up having a light lunch as well – it was a very pleasant place with a couple of lovely ladies looking after the customers – after this it was time to get back to the back and move up to the lock for diesel.
The fact is that it is easiest to fill whilst the boat is actually in the lock and since we were due to go out at 2:30 and there would be no-one coming in from the Trent, we could just stay there until our time.
|No rush here; we are carefully tied up in the lock - just waiting|
|No problems with water coming down the canal - it was the amount of water|
coming up the river that concerned us
The river was still flowing in quite strongly at 2pm and speaking to the lock-keeper we decided that we wouldn’t go out before at least 3pm – we watched and waited and only after the river had turned did we eventually get back on board and untie the ropes so that they were hanging over the bollards and the lockie started to let the water out.
By 3:20 we were heading out again onto the
– the flow was now definitely outbound
and we had no need to turn the tiller to head in the right direction – we were taken by the river. Trent
|The grey clouds overhead and a bit of wind - but we were underway|
|The overall views were still quite brilliant|
As on the previous trip to
the boat speed was well up – about 10-11 kmh and even up to 12 kmh.
There is not a lot to see along this stretch but it is all pretty well peaceful and with its own beauty.
|The wind wasn't that strong to blow the sails away|
|We were enjoying it at this point of the trip|
No other craft along the river – we were well and truly on our own and with very few obstacles or silted areas to negotiate.
The weather, in particular the wind, which had by now increased in intensity, was less than ideal. The river was buffeted by the wind and waves, which were blowing over the gun-whales and the bow was dipping on occasions.
|...pity I left my surfboard behind|
|We were hitting them front on|
We had had a long chat with our diesel man before we left and as he had done this stretch a number of times and we took his advice on board.
By the time we had reached the high bridge which allowed the M180 motorway to pass over the river, Diane had the helm and was steering under the left hand archway, whilst I was on the VHF to the Keadby lock-keeper advising of our progress.
He was concerned about another boat which had supposedly left the River Idle (just down from
West Stopwith) but he had
not heard from them – we had not seen them at all, either out on the water or moored up anywhere.
|Keadby Bridge and we were now very close|
|Really close - that's the Lock-Keepers control tower|
Approaching the lock from the right hand side, the mistakes at West Stopwith were remedied – going completely past the lock we executed a 180 turn across the river and were about 20 meters off the wall (we had a cross-wind which was pushing us towards the wall, so a little bit extra was wise).
Punching against the current we inched towards the lock entrance and as the bow lined up opposite the upstream wall, the tiller was turned at the same instant the lockie gave the signal and we entered into the lock without any problems.
|easing it around and using the river flow to get us heading into the lock|
|Phew! We made it in without touching the side...|
There was a feeling of complete exhaustion and utter relief over my entire being –
West Stopwith was now behind us.
On your own the lock is really quite large and the gates closed behind us; the water flowed in; we rose up; gates opened and there was a low road bridge in front of us – the lockie headed up to open that for us as well and we thanked him profusely and then proceeded to moor up on the visitor moorings about 200 metres further on.
It had been a testing day and we were a bit exhausted, so mooring up for the night was very welcome for both of us.
|...thru the bridge and the moorings are there on the left|
The visitor moorings were very quiet and peaceful and we enjoyed a great nights sleep – although there could have been a brass band practicing all night long right outside the boat and I am sure that neither of us would have heard it.
14 Miles, 4 Locks, 1 Swing Bridge
YTD: 328 miles (528 km), 166 Locks, 15 Tunnels, 3 Lift Bridges, 4 Swing Bridges
Total: 4960 Miles (7982 km), 3317 Locks, 139 Tunnels, 69
Lift Bridges, 176 Swing Bridges