Saturday, 3 June 2017

It will be OK on the day dear!

Thursday 25th May 2017

It is not unusual that when you are about to embark on something that you have not done before and/or has a little bit of apprehension associated with it that you tend to wake up early – and so it was for Diane, who was concerned about our return trip to Selby.

Don't let that smile fool you - there was a lot of apprehension in there

Predator coming in to join us

We had done the Trent and Mersey going downstream to both West Stopwith and Keadby Locks – the first of these we mucked up a bit but got in, the second was far better and we had learnt a lot from both of these.

This would be a bit different because we had about 40 mins to an hour of going hard against the still incoming tide, but as everyone will know with airplane trips – it’s the take-off and landings that cause 95% of the angst – the in-between bit is a breeze.

I would like to say that was the same for this trip, but….

Getting out from the lock was not much of a problem at all, but still with the tide coming in, it meant that the deeper water was not as deep as it would otherwise have been, but it was plenty deep enough for both ourselves and for Cyril and Jackie on nb Predator 3 in front of us.
What we hadn’t expected was the vast amount of flotsam that was coming in with the tide – there was far more than we had encountered when we came up the previous week and this time it was coming towards us (in the tide) and not going the same way, which meant that there was a lot more of the dodgem cars scenario as we swerved to avoid large clumps of tree trunks, limbs and branches; we both took turns in steering downstream.

A lot more flotsam around than we had seen before...

....and when I say a lot....

...i mean a lot

Weaving in and out of the way became much more of a challenge

At first we were making only about 6kmh – the effect of punching against the tide.
The river was a lovely chocolate colour, almost as if we were cruising through a large lake of  the molten stuff.

We had been told that we would see the waves of the incoming tide about a half hour into the trip and sure enough we did; it was not long after that point when the river became dead calm – completely flat and then as the tide turned and started its outward journey, we started to really fly along – 8, 10,12 then 14 kmh. 
In waves of the incoming tide...

...and then the dead calm

Where we were thinking that the trip might take 3+ hours we knew it would be between 2 and 3 hours as we just simply zoomed along.
There were no more worries about the flotsam as it was sailing along with us.

We contacted the lockie at Selby to confirm our position on a few times so that he would have a time of our arrival – Predator had arrived in the lock about 15 minutes before us.

As we passed the mills on the last reach and about to turn into the home straight we readied ourselves for the manner in which we needed to approach the lock.
Firstly under the two bridges (left hand side);

Bridge number 1

Bridge number 2

Then the block of flats on our right which would signal the time to start our turn;

As we reach the far side of those flats on the right, it was time to start the turn

It was not a turn directly into the lock but a 180o and then back against a stronger tide than we had experienced before.

"Not right now dear, I am just a bit busy"

About to start the turn - to be side on to the outgoing tide

Around a bit more... completely square on. Cannot go into the lock just yet...

....come around a bit more...

....finally completing the 180 turn, we can start back up the river ...

Then approach the lock, turn towards the apex of the wall and as the slack water around the lock entrance held the boat, we would gently ease into the lock – this time beside a boat already there.

and make for the lock wall - the wall not the lock - yet...

....just about to hit the slack water of the lock mouth...

...and into the lock - it was important to check the speed and slow down as
you change from the tidal part to the slack water.

Like landing a plane, it was about 10 minutes of intense concentration and luckily we made it in without a scratch on ourselves, the wall and most importantly on Predator.

Sheer relief was apparently etched onto my face – just glad to be in there; but have to say that the more you do this, the more confident you become that you know what you are doing.

A huge relief under that exterior
Our journey was not over; we had decided to head down to the West Haddesley Lock for the overnight stay.
One swing bridge to negotiate – both Jackie and Diane went up to get it done – as they started the automated process, an idiot in a small white van decided to beat the red light and drop down gates which upset the sensors on the bridge and then none of the other actions would take place – the lockie came up to do the reset in the box.
Some people are just plain stupid; if this had happened when the lockie wasn’t there it would have meant a call-out for CaRT and all for something that would have been avoided.

Anyway we got through; Predator pulled over so that they could do some shopping and we carried on.

Diane did the honours all of the 5 miles to our mooring spot whilst I was inside snoozing finishing off my work.
Selby Lock now behind us..

...and ready to enjoy the canal again

The sunshine that we had enjoyed on the river was now quite hot sunshine and mooring up was a chance to get some relief.

About an hour later we were joined by Cyril and Jackie who had finished stocking up for the impending arrival of family in a few days.

A few boats made there way through the lock and then it all settled down; the sun sunk a little lower; the temperature fell a couple of degrees; the breeze picked up a bit – all felt a little bit more acceptable.

It had been a fairly long day and we both felt a bit exhausted after it all and glad of a good night’s sleep – Diane was a much relieved woman by that stage.

19 Miles, 2 Locks, 1 Swing Bridge
YTD:  520 miles (837 km), 236 Locks, 15 Tunnels, 9 Lift Bridges, 19 Swing Bridges

Total: 5152 Miles (8291 km), 3387 Locks, 139 Tunnels, 75 Lift Bridges, 191 Swing Bridges


  1. Very brave! And able to take photos as well - such skill!
    And here we are moored at Radford Semele just blobbing the weekend away ...

    1. Hi Marilyn, I would like to say that there was skill in doing both at the same time, but it was Diane on the other side of the lens whilst I had the tiller -next time we are going to change places.
      We did enjoy the trip down and very pleasing to do it according to the plan and instruction - ray xx